ILR means indefinite leave to remain. ILR allows one to stay in the UK indefinitely without immigration restriction. This means once you have ILR you are considered to be settled in the UK permanently.
In order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Sole Representation, Tier 2 or skilled worker, Tier 2 Minister or Religion or Sports Person, UK Ancestry or Hong Kong British National Overseas. All these routes require that the applicant has spent continuous residence in the UK.
Calculating continuous residence for ILR
Calculating your residence in the UK and absence from the UK is not always a straightforward thing. The continuous residence period requirement is the minimum length of time you must spend in the UK before being eligible for ILR. This calculation includes how many days you were absent from the UK as well during your 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.
The current rule says that you must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days or more in any of the five 12 months periods preceding the date of your application for ILR. For example, if you applied on 10 January 2018 you need to count back 365 days to 11 January 2017 to check if you have
not exceeded 180 days limit in that period. Like this, you need to count until the start of your five years residence in the UK.
From January 2018 the wording of the rule has changed. Now if you will be refused ILR if at any point over the 5 years you exceeded 180 days limit in any 12 months. Absences are calculated on a rolling basis instead of fixed blocks. This means that you must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK during any rolling 12-month within the qualifying period. For example, if you spent 7 months outside the UK between October 2016 and April 2017, you would still have been able to maintain the 180 days
absence limit by applying on 10 January 2018 because you could divide the absence across two different 12 months blocks. After 11 January 2018, this is not possible. Under the new rules, your application is likely to be refused. The way that UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will calculate the number of absences will therefore depend on whether your visa was granted before or after this date.
Exceptions to the 180 days absence rule
There are some exceptions to the 180 days absence rule where your periods outside the UK will not be counted when calculating the total number of days. For example, if you were assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas, travel disruption due to pandemic like COVID 19, natural disaster, military conflict etc.
The continuous residence rules also apply to the dependants in a similar manner.
If you are looking to apply for ILR, you can seek advice from our Immigration Lawyers at Visa and Migration Ltd.