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I'm a UK citizen, and my wife is a non-EEA citizen. She will be applying for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) on the 5-year partner route.

My question is about when the 5 year continuous residence period is calculated from.

My wife has now had 3 UK visas:

  1. Marriage Visitor Visa: September 2014
  2. Spouse Visa 1: May 2015
  3. Spouse Visa 2: January 2018

If the time spent in the UK on the Marriage Visitor Visa counts towards the 5 years' continuous residence, then the 5 years is already fulfilled as of September 2019.

If the Marriage Visitor Visa time does not count, then the 5 years will be fulfilled in May 2020.

Does the time on the Marriage Visitor Visa count toward the 5 years' residence required for ILR?

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    Not having actual experience with this myself I don’t feel confident putting this into an answer, but thought gov.uk/government/publications/… would almost certainly help. One point of clarity that might help other answers: was your wife out of the country between visas? Or for any extended time visiting family? FYI: My understanding is that all of the above would count towards ILR – oskarpearson Nov 4 '19 at 21:35
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    I’d expect it all to count towards ILR, since the intention of ILR is to allow people that have lawfully lived in the UK and moved their centre of life here to live here permanently. That certainly seems to be the case for your wife. Of course that doesn’t mean that it actually works that way.. but I’d hope that it should – oskarpearson Nov 4 '19 at 21:40
  • @oskarpearson Thanks. I read through that document, but couldn't find anywhere explicitly confirming what counts as "resident" for the purposes of ILR. There was one period of absence from the UK of 5 months (i.e. less than the 180 days maximum) between the Marriage Visitor Visa and Spouse Visa 1. – Hugh Grigg 葛修远 Nov 5 '19 at 9:07
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    Maybe. My instinct is no, because ILR is based on residence and an MVV implies residence outside the UK, but time on visitor visas apparently counts towards the ILR 10 year track. I think you might need to talk to a solicitor about this. Or just wait the 6 months until May. – MJeffryes Nov 5 '19 at 13:09
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    @HughGrigg葛修远 Again, I can't comment directly on what counts towards ILR for a partner (I got it via 5 years continuous work). However, the 5 month absence BETWEEN the two visas may be an issue. Even though she was out of the country for fewer than 180 days, she didn't have status in the UK during that time and was resident elsewhere. That means there's a gap in your 5 years. If it she were applying because of 5 years of Tier 2, she wouldn't be able to have a gap like that where she had no UK status. I imagine it's the same for a spouse. – GrotesqueSI Nov 7 '19 at 18:46
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Does the time on the Marriage Visitor Visa count toward the 5 years' residence required for ILR?

No, so the 5 years starts at: May 2015 and ends April 2020

  • assuming there are no unacceptable breaks in the continuous period

Apply as a partner or spouse
...
When you can settle permanently
The earliest you can apply to settle in the UK (called ‘indefinite leave to remain’) is after you’ve lived in the country for 5 years continuously with permission to stay (‘leave to remain’) as a partner. You cannot count any permission to stay in the UK as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner.

The rules are different if you applied before 9 July 2012.


From:

Absences which will not break continuity in the continuous period
...
180 whole days absence
No more than 180 days’ absences are allowed in a consecutive 12-month period. You must only include whole days in this calculation. Part day absences, for example, less than 24 hours, are not counted. Therefore, if the applicant had a single absence during the 12 month period and arrived in the UK on day 181, the period would not exceed 180 days.
...

Breaks in the continuous lawful period
...
A break in the continuous period may occur just before the ILR application is made or at any point where leave expired during the continuous period claimed. The relevant rules you must apply depend on the Immigration Rules in place at the time the break occurred.


Sources:

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ILR requires a continuous five year period of residence in the UK to meet the qualifying period. Time spent abroad between visas could affect that.

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