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Meeting the requirements for residency in your UK citizenship application

Not meeting the residence requirements is the second most common reason why UK citizenship applications are refused.  

Residence requirements are different if you apply for citizenship based on being in a marriage or civil partnership with a British citizen, or if you are applying independently.

If you are applying through marriage or civil partnership, you must meet the three-year residence requirement, but if you are applying in your own right, you must meet the five-year requirement.

In both instances, you must have been physically in the UK at the start of the qualifying period. There are exceptions for those who may have been in the armed forces, and a recent judgement stated that being in the UK on a visitor visa may count towards the residence period.

For the five-year requirement, you cannot have been absent from the UK for 450 days in total, and 90 days in the 12 months period prior to the date of the application.

During the three-year qualifying period, you must not have been absent from the UK for more than 270 days in total, and 90 days in the 12 months before you applied.

Other reasons for refusal on this basis can include if you have been in breach of the immigration laws, for example with periods of overstaying

In the case of these refusals, if all the other requirements are met, the Home Office may still decide in your favour.

So, it is possible to avoid a refusal of British citizenship applications where you exceed absence requirements, but you need strong evidence to ensure this is the case.

For assistance with submitting  your UK citizenship application, please contact us at

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