Settlement Visa

Settlement – days outside the UK

April 6, 2021 681

Some readers may be aware of the ten years’ continuous lawful residence route to settlement. This route potentially enables a migrant who has a ten-year immigration history to apply for settlement on that basis. They may have held any types of visa or any combination of visas.

One of the immigration rules governing this route states that an applicant must not have spent more than 18 months outside the UK during the ten-year period. And the Home Office – presumably perhaps in an attempt to keep things simple – state in its relevant policy guidance that 18 months is 540 days (ie that one month is exactly 30 days).

This provision had been in the rules and policy for years, and everyone seemed to accept it. Until, that is, Ms Mona Chang from Hong Kong challenged the refusal of her application, and eventually the case reached the Upper Immigration Tribunal. She had spent only very marginally over 540 days outside.

The refusal decision was challenged on the basis that 18 months is not exactly 540 days. The Tribunal got very mathematical about it but the fact is, however you cut it, 18 months must be more than 540 days.

Let us say that there are 365 days in a year (usually there are). A year consists of 12 months, and one-twelfth of 365 is just over 30.4.

Or let us say that a year consists of 366 days (a leap year). One-twelfth of 366 is 30.5.

So, however you look at it, there are at least 30.4 days in a month, and 30.4 times 18 equals just over 547, and so 540 must be wrong.

The Tribunal decided that the Home Office published policy guidance was incorrect, and the correct figure for 18 months was 548 days.

In some cases this could make a crucial difference, as indeed was the case with Ms Chang.

Ms Chang won her appeal, and future applicants will be able to rely on the new 548-day rule.

If you are interested in this route we at Get UK Visa have significant experience in it and we will be able to advise and help you.

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