How to calculate days outside the UK for citizenship
If you are considering applying for UK citizenship by way of naturalisation, you will need to satisfy the government’s strict criteria. Part of this includes showing that you have been present in the UK for the required amount of time over the previous year and the previous five years.
We take a look at what you will need to prove and how many days you can have been outside of the UK and still qualify for citizenship.
At Halliday Reeves, we specialise in immigration and routinely secure UK citizenship for our clients. We can advise you on issues such as eligibility and whether you have sufficient evidence in support to enable you to make a successful citizenship application.
The process can be challenging and if you ask us to represent you, we will ensure that your application includes the right paperwork in support to give you the best possible chance of being granted UK citizenship.
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Applying For Naturalised UK Citizenship
If you have lived lawfully in the UK for at least five years and you have held one of the following for the previous twelve months, you may be eligible to apply for UK citizenship:
- Indefinite Leave to Remain or indefinite leave to enter or permission to move to the UK permanently
- EU settled status
- EEA permanent residence
Other eligibility criteria for UK citizenship include:
- Being over 18
- Being of good character
- The intention to continue to live in the UK
- Passing a Life in the UK test and having adequate knowledge of English
How Many Days Can Be Spent Outside Of The UK If You Apply For Citizenship
To qualify for UK citizenship, if you are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen you must have lived in the UK for a minimum of five years before you apply . This must be lawful and time spent as a diplomat, diplomatic staff or visiting armed forces member cannot count towards this time.
During the five year period, you must not have spent more than 450 days outside of the UK
If you are married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen, you must have lived in the UK for a minimum period of three years before you apply and spent no more than 270 days outside of the UK during this time.
In relation to both during the year prior to making your application, you cannot have spent more than 90 days outside of the UK.
In calculating days out of the country, you are not required to include the days that you left and returned, only whole days that you were away.
It is possible to lose your indefinite leave to remain or enter if you have been away from the UK for more than two years since you were granted this leave.
If you have settled status, you cannot have been away for the UK for more than five years, or four years for Swiss citizens.
Calculating Days Out Of The Country For UK Citizenship Application
You cannot apply for UK citizenship until you have been physically within the UK for at least five years or three years (as above). This is calculated exactly, meaning that you must have been in the UK for that period to the day before your application is received by the Home Office.
If You Have Been Out Of The UK For More Than The Maximum Permitted Days
If you have been away from the UK for more than 450 days over the previous five years, or 270 days over three years if you are married to a British citizen, you may be able to ask the Home Office to use its discretion to grant you citizenship anyway.
The Home Office has the discretion to allow applications from individuals who have spent up to 900 days out of the country, or up to 540 days if you are married to a British citizen in certain circumstances.
To be eligible to ask for discretion, you must have:
- Established your home in the UK;
- Have employment in the UK;
- Have established your family in the UK; and
- Have established your finances in the UK.
One of the following must also apply:
- You had two years with no absences (or one year if you are married to a British citizen) without any absences immediately prior to making your citizenship application (this is increased to three years and two years where absences are of more than 730 days or 450 days respectively);
- Your excess absences were because of Crown service overseas postings;
- Your excess absences were unavoidable because of the nature of your career;
- There are exceptionally compelling reasons to justify naturalisation, for example, on compassionate grounds; or
- You were unable to return to the UK because of the pandemic.
Discretion may also be exercised in respect of absences of 100 days or less during the year leading up to your application. For absences of 100-180 days or more, your situation will be looked at by a caseworker who will decide whether your circumstances warrant discretion.
Our team routinely make successful requests for discretion to be applied and we can advise you of the best approach and put your case in the strongest way possible.
Contact Our UK Citizenship Solicitors
For advice and representation in making a UK citizenship application, contact our specialist solicitors.
We have offices in Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Wakefield and Nottingham. To speak to one of our expert UK citizenship lawyers, ring us on 0330 133 7777, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our Contact Form.
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