Calculating ‘Absences’ under the 10-years Long Residence route for ILR
Indefinite Leave to Remain
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Find out how to calculate days of absence from the UK for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the 10-years Long Residence route.
Learn more about exceeding the qualifying period for continuous residence for Indefinite Leave to Remain and the continuous residence requirements for life in the UK.
Calculating days of Absence from the UK under the 10-year Long Residence route for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
When it comes to the point you want to apply to be granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR), or for British Citizenship, you will most likely need to calculate the number of days that you were absent from the UK.
This is because as part of the UK's continuous residence conditions and immigration rules, you will only be required to calculate your number of days outside of the UK during your qualifying period when applying for certain visas, including and not limited to:
Innovator Founder Visa
Dependants of tier 1 entrepreneur and tier 1 investor visa holders
UK Ancestry Visa
Global Talent Visa
Skilled Worker Visa
Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa
Global Talent Visa
Skilled Worker Visa
BNO Visa for Hong Kong British National Overseas
This will be dependent on the UK visa and immigration category, as well as the time of your application, your current/ previous immigration status, and any situational circumstances.
When is the earliest I can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the 10-year Long Residence route?
We may apply within 28 days or less before the applicant completes the required qualifying period, provided you meet all the other immigration rules for Long Residence. Nevertheless, we would analyse your entire personal immigration history before advising you to submit the application earlier or later. We shall plan carefully your submission date due to strategic reasons to maximise your chance for a successful application.
Requirements for the 10-year route to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
We frequently encounter clients who have accumulated long residence in the UK, having lived here under various visa categories. The basic requirements sound simple enough:
you must have at least 10 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK
no reason why granting leave is against the public good
you must meet the knowledge of language and life requirement
you must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal
you must not be in breach of immigration laws
What is the absence limit throughout the 10-year relevant qualifying period?
As a non-British Citizen/ UK national trying to apply for indefinite leave to remain status and obtain a UK visa after your continuous residence period has ended, you will have to ensure that you have not had excess absences (you may be asked to provide supporting documents).
Ensure that you have been residing in the UK for the required time period as we find that clients often get caught out by the ‘Continuous residence' rule. Individuals should be able to prove their 'continuous residence' without any long absences from the UK. Specifically, during their continuous residence, individuals are allowed to:
be absent from the UK for a period of more than 6 months at any one time (184 days)
spend a total of 18 months outside the UK throughout the whole 10 years period (548 days)
Also, if the individual left the UK before 24 November 2016 with no valid leave to remain on their departure from the UK, and failed to apply for entry clearance within 28 days of their previous leave expiring (even if they returned to the UK within 6 months), it broke the continuous residence requirement.
Does time spent in the Common Travel Area (CTA) count towards the required period?
UK residence from the date the applicant entered include continuous qualifying period in Great Britain and Northern Ireland only. Unfortunately, time spent in the Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey) or the Isle of Man does not count towards the specified periods with relevant permission even though they form part of the Common Travel Area. The latter would be treated as absences from the UK.
In fact, several QC Immigration's lawyers have secured ILR through this 10-year Long Residence application ourselves. Therefore, we thoroughly understand your compelling reasons and will be happy to share our experiences on what this or other routes require. Contact us to start planning a strong and confident Indefinite Leave to Remain application.
How to calculate your days of absence from the UK?
Create a list of the dates you were outside of the UK within each year (12-month period) of the continuous qualifying period that you were residing in the UK. If you are not sure of the exact dates, you will be able to check with the Home Office guidance team by requesting a copy of your immigration history.
Add together the days that you were outside of the UK, making sure to count time spent in your home country, and ensure that it is no more than 548 days in total without any trip longer than 6 months.
You may include whole days when calculating days of absence from the UK. Part-day absences (periods of less than 24 hours) may not be counted. For example, the departure date from the UK and arrival date into the UK may be excluded in the overall absence period, as the applicant will not have been outside the UK for the whole day on the start and end dates.
What happens when you have accumulated 10 years of stay, but your total absences from the UK exceed the permitted 548 days?
From our experience, it can be tricky for those who love to travel or who have spent their 3 months' summer holidays abroad when studying. Many fall victim to spending long holidays in their home countries even though they have a clear intention to come back to the UK for their education or work.
The guidance stipulates that if continuous leave is broken, an application should normally be refused. Nevertheless, we have been successful in arguing that our clients' excessive absences were due to compelling or compassionate circumstances. We've worked with applicants before to prepare strong evidence such as official reports or letters, death certificates or medical certificates. Crucially, we invested time in truly understanding our clients' predicaments and presented legal arguments on whether:
the client returned to the UK within a reasonable time once they were able to do so,
the absences were towards the start of that 10-year period rather than occurring recently unless of course there were seriously exceptional reasons.
Furthermore, we often advocate that exceptional consideration ought to be given to:
the Public Interest,
Strength of Connections in the UK,
Compassionate Circumstances and Representations Made.
For example, our client's professional or community contributions, UK assets or business interests, if you are in a relationship with a Settled person or British citizen and any positive UK ties or history. Therefore, it is absolutely important that your lawyers present legal Representations regarding your assets, dependents, and community or charity work you have in the UK.
Providing the above statements are true, there are certain situations where the Home Office may take into account any serious or compelling reason that would cause you to have been outside of the UK for longer than the designated number of days (for each twelve month term) you are allowed to have been absent from the UK within the relevant qualifying period.
What if I have a serious or compelling reason for being outside of the UK for more than the designated number of days?
Circumstances that may excuse you for having additional time spent overseas or outside the UK may be (but are not exclusive to):
Environmental crisis overseas (that would prevent you from safely journeying back to the UK, extending your stay abroad or making you unable to return before the situation has been fixed).
A natural disaster occurring, such as earthquakes or tsunamis.
Travel disruption that was not forewarned and would impact your plans to return to the UK within a certain date/ timeframe; thus extending your time outside of the UK over the specified period to be over the permitted time spent overseas. You may be expected to provide evidence such as travel documents that will support your claims.
You have additional permitted absences (normally for a specified permitted reason, with relevant permission from the Home Office).
Yourself, a close relative or family members (such as a parent or sibling) experienced serious illness. Be prepared to provide evidence such as medical certificates to prove this.
Time spent overseas as a member of the HM armed forces. If an applicant has spent time outside the UK during full-time/ permanent reserve duty periods, it is viewed as time spent in the UK on the individual's relevant application.
Please be aware and take into consideration that even in exceptional circumstances it is discretionary that the Home Office will grant you British Citizenship or ILR if you have overstayed your allowed days of absences from the UK.
Furthermore, consideration ought to be given to the Public Interest, Age, Strength of Connections in the UK, Personal History, Domestic Circumstances, Compassionate Circumstances and Representations Made. Therefore, it is absolutely important that your lawyers present legal Representations regarding your assets, dependents, employment record, and community or charity work you have done in the UK.
In fact, several QC Immigration's immigration lawyers have secured ILR through this 10-year Long Residence route themselves. Therefore, we thoroughly understand your complicated circumstances and will be happy to share our experiences. Contact us to find out!
What happens if my Indefinite Leave to Remain application is refused due to excessive Absences?
Valid applications made under the 10 years' Long Residence route if refused, are usually given the right to Appeal. We would normally analyse the reasons for refusal and assess the strength of the initial application, before advising the applicant on whether it would be more sensible to proceed with the Appeal, submit a Fresh ILR Application or explore other Visa routes. There are various time and cost considerations as well.
It is important to prepare and submit a strong and comprehensive application initially, especially when requesting the Home Office's discretion in considering Absences in the qualifying period. When appealing, this would demonstrate to the Court that you have always acted in good faith in meeting the continuous residence requirement and have done your best in helping the decision-maker to understand your personal history and compassionate circumstances.
Examples of our successful ILR clients' cases:
* A junior Doctor client who has spent 11 years in the UK, however, her absences exceeded the permitted 548 days throughout the 10 years due to academic and professional factors. The Home Office accepted our request to exercise discretion and deduct the summer holiday months she spent completing her university electives in Africa. We were delighted with the result of a successful application, which was well deserved by our client who has contributed immensely to the NHS.
* A Skilled Worker client who has spent the 10 years' qualifying period in the UK, however, he had a single trip abroad in the Middle East of over 6 months due to compelling reasons. We persuaded the Home Office to exercise discretion so that the continuous residence was not broken, as he had to travel home urgently to deal with a serious illness and compassionate matters with close relatives and family members. The client was happy that the Home Office agreed with our analysis of his immigration history, and approved the application exceptionally.
* A Hong Kong British national overseas PhD student client who has spent over 10 years of continuous residence in the UK, however, her absences exceeded the permitted 548 days due to being stranded abroad in Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to provide evidence and legal arguments regarding COVID-19 lockdown and travel disruption which prevented her from returning to the UK promptly. The UKVI accepted our discretionary application with the international health crisis as a permitted reason for involuntary absences. This enables us to apply for the client's British Citizenship next.
* A Single Mother client who has spent the 10-year continuous residence in the UK, however, she exceeded the 184 days during a trip to her home country due to pregnancy complications which resulted in extended hospitalisation with her newborn. We presented a robust case highlighting the exceptionally compelling reasons and were able to show that she never intended to leave the UK permanently as she returned as soon as they obtained the doctor's clearance to fly. Our request for discretion to be exercised was agreed upon by the UK Visas and Immigration which led to a successful application, followed by British nationality achieved.