We are often asked how to calculate your absences if you plan to apply for the indefinite leave to remain. Below is a short summary of the relevant immigration rules:
Calculating continuous period of residence in the UK
Absences of more than 180 days in each consecutive 12 month period before the date of application (in all categories) will mean the continuous period has been broken. However, the grant of indefinite leave to remain (ILR) may be considered outside the rules if the applicant provides evidence to show the excessive absence was due to serious or compelling reasons.
Absences for serious or compelling reasons – Evidential requirements
Serious or compelling reasons will vary but can include:
serious illness of the applicant or a close relative
a conflict, or
a natural disaster, for example, volcanic eruption or tsunami.
The applicant must provide evidence in the form of a letter, which sets out the reason for the absence with documents of support. For example:
birth or death certificates
evidence of disruption to travel arrangements.
Absences of more than 180 days in any 12 month period for employment or economic activity reasons are not considered exceptional.
Time spent overseas due to pregnancy, or maternity, paternity or adoption-related leave is treated the same way as any other absence, that is, within the 180 days in any 12 months.
Discretion can only be applied by a visa officer, if it has been authorised at senior executive officer level, which means that this matter is taken very seriously and can only be applicable in truly exceptional circumstances.