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Your stay in the UK as a visitor could count towards your settlement application

A recent ruling by the Court of Appeal may help those who intend to apply for settlement in the UK. The ruling concluded that a period in the UK on a visitor visa may in certain cases, count towards the required 10 years route for settlement.

In R (Mungur) v SSHD [2021] the court ruled that Mr. Mungur, who is a citizen of Mauritius, could count the period when he first came to the UK in April 2001 on a visitor’s visa which was valid until September 2001, as part of his 10 years required to settle here.

Following the initial six-month visit, Mr Mungur then left the UK to make a student leave visa application. The Home Office granted him the student visa and he returned to the UK that October.

But when he made an application for settlement, the Home Office refused it, arguing that his 10 years started from 5th October 2001 when he returned as a student, and not when he initially entered as a visitor. Mr Mungur then applied for a Judicial Review of the refusal.

The key issue for the Court of Appeal was whether the continuity of 10 years of lawful residence was broken when Mr Munger left the UK in September 2001, which the Home Office argued it was not, since Mr Mungur left while not having a reasonable expectation of returning to the UK.

However, the Court of Appeal stated that the question of whether someone who left the UK had a reasonable expectation of return differs from case to case.

In this case, Mr Mungur had to leave the UK to make the student visa application, so he had a reasonable expectation of returning to the UK.

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