Quite a few of you have been searching the site for information on the ‘7 year rule’ so I thought I’d bring together my top 7 posts on the topic. I assume that a good number of the enquiries are from families with a child or children who may be heading towards 7 years residence in the UK, or perhaps have acquired it already and who now need practical pointers on how to regularise or extend their immigration status.

The 7 year rule is a concession that allows for overstayers (who are not subject to deportation) to remain in the UK if they are the parents of certain children who have lived in the UK for at least 7 years or who are British citizens. In its current form, the ‘rule’ is dispersed across three different provisions which allow both parents and children to benefit from it.[1]

I’ve gathered 7 of my top posts on the 7 year rule and related issues below.

Note: this can be a fast-moving and technical area. Specialist advice is recommended. With those caveats, here are some of the resources available on here.


1. When is it reasonable to remove a settled child from the UK?

A post about the major case in this area (MA (Pakistan)) and its rather mixed consequences where families are relying on the 7 year rule. My personal view is that this case doesn’t quite fit with the UK’s international law obligations to promote and safeguard children’s welfare. But for now, this is where we are.


2. Every child matters: free resources for lawyers on children’s rights in UK immigration cases

Short video and slideshows following an event at my chambers in April 2017 that discussed key UK Supreme Court cases on child rights, refugee children cases and discussion of related principles from family law.


3. Parents’ immigration history is relevant to whether it’s reasonable to remove settled children from the UK

Coverage of a recent decision called AM (Pakistan) which follows on from a line of cases recommending that the conduct of parents be taken into account when assessing if it is reasonable to expect a child to leave the UK. As yet, the sometimes harsh effects of these cases stands unchallenged.



Image: Alexas_Fotos

4. What do Judges say about Parliament’s new human rights framework on family and private life?

This post contains a case law table charting the first 2 years of new provisions on family life (including the 7 year rule). It comes with a health warning: there are large numbers of cases on these provisions dealing with a wide range of circumstances. The table is up to date as of March 2017 but there have been a further trickle of new cases since then.


5. No such thing as an average case where children are concerned, says Court of Appeal

While this case (RF (Jamaica)) concerned criminal deportation, the Court made passing observations about the need for Judges to focus on the unique features of every case concerning children.


6. How to apply UK Parliament’s new(ish) human rights framework

This post reviews another major decision, called Rhuppiah, which overlays some further guidance onto many of the cases noted above.


7. Minimum income requirements for spousal visas are lawful, but breach duty to safeguard children – says UK Supreme Court

A milestone case (MM (Lebanon)) decided that the Immigration Rules and related guidance must sufficiently protect the rights of children. This is one worth keeping in mind when considering the weight that should be attached to the views, welfare and best interests of children affected by all immigration decisions.


If you have any legal queries or suggestions, feel free to contact me. I run trainings on the subject of child rights in public law proceedings – if you’re interested to find out more, please ask.


[1] Certain children may claim under the private life provision in paragraph 276ADE(1)(iv) of the Immigration Rules. Certain parents may claim under Section EX.1.1(a) of Appendix FM of the Rules and section 117B(6) read with 117D of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (‘NIAA 2002’).

Posted by Ben Amunwa

Founder and editor of Lawmostly.com. Ben is a commercial and public law barrister with The 36 Group. He gives expert legal advice on employment, public law and commercial disputes to a wide range of clients.


  1. […] A vast number of visitors to this site are seeking information on how to bring themselves within the UK government’s immigration policies that apply to the families of unlawful overstayers. Further information on that important topic can be found here. […]


  2. Hello Ben!
    Thank you for the interesting comments above. Is there any chance you could have commented on the latest supreme court sessions on the 17 and 18 April 2018 regarding the 7 year rule? If yes I would appreciate guiding me to the source.
    Thank you,


    1. Hi Samira, thanks for your message. I didn’t watch the UKSC sessions but the judgment is likely to develop this area further. I will keep an eye out for the judgment and post about it when I can. All the best


  3. Hi, Ben,

    The judgement by the supreme court has been ruled out today, can you please elaborate the findings and key learning from it? Thank you.


    1. Coming!


  4. hello i applied for leave to remain and i paid NHS surcharge fee, i then had baby after, please do i need to pay for hosipal bill?


    1. Hello, I’m unable to answer specific legal queries here but feel free to contact me directly.


    2. Hi there. Please email me using the contact me page if you require advice. Thanks


  5. Hi there. My daughter and I have British nationality – she is now 7. My husband is a Moroccan national and we don’t meet the immigration requirements for a spousal visa. We have been married for over 6 years (in the UK), and run a business together (me from the UK, him from Morocco),but he only has a visitor visa. With our daughter now 7 years old, is there any legal redress here in terms of Article 8 of the ECHR. I have had no helpful advice or support from my MP or Home Office. I hope you can advise?
    Happy New Year ! Fran


    1. Hi there Fran. Please email me using the ‘contact me’ page if you require advice. Many thanks


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