We seem to get asked this question a lot !
Example – I have been living in the UK since 2009 but my absences exceed 450 days in the last 5 years, can I apply for citizenship ?
The Home Office does frequently exercise discretion to disregard absences above the normal thresholds. If you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen then the normal level of days you can be outside the UK comes to 270 days in the preceding 3 years and up to 90 days in the last 1 year.
If you are not married or in a civil partnership with a British citizen then the relevant thresholds are up to 450 days in the previous 5 years and up to 90 days in the last 1 year.
But you can certainly ask for discretion if you exceed these amounts.
The Home Office considers a variety of factors in deciding whether to exercise discretion such as;
How much you are exceeding the normal thresholds by ?
How long have you lived in the UK in total ?
What strong ties do you have to the UK – such as employment, family, home ?
What were the reasons for the excess absences – were they employment / business related or for compassionate reasons ?
Is it your intention to make the UK your main home ?
A carefully prepared application with the correct supporting documents can allow you to secure citizenship, even if you exceed the normal permitted level of absences.
We can help you with such an application. Please contact us so we can see if this is achievable in your case.