I am an EU citizen and have moved to the UK in June 2016. I was granted "settled status"/ILR under the EU Settlement Scheme in October 2019, without the need to have 5 years of residence by linking my application to a family member.
I would like to apply for British citizenship as soon as possible. I am not married to a British citizen, so the usual 5 year residence requirement applies. The criteria of fulfilling the residence requirement are having:
- not spent more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
- not spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
Ordinarily, I'd be eligible to apply in June 2021. However, I have spent the following periods in the UK:
- XX June 2015 to XX September 2015 (I need to determine exact dates)
- 21st December 2015 to 3rd January 2016
- 15th January 2016 to 30th January 2015
before my "full-time" move to the UK in June 2016. This would amount to around 340 days spent outside the UK in that 5 year period (270 before June 2016 & 70 days after), well below the 450 days allowed.
It is worth noting that I was school-age at that time and the periods spent in my home country was to conclude my education (before continuing it in the UK in June 2016). I am not sure if this affects the residence requirement.
The above calculation would suggest that I may apply for citizenship in October 2020 by stating the start of my residence period in June 2015. However, there is also the following requirement:
- prove you were in the UK exactly 5 years before the day the Home Office receives your application
This would then mean, as I was absent from the UK in October 2015, I am only eligible to apply in December 2020 by starting my 5 year period of residence at date of arrival in the UK in December 2015. This, in turn, would also reduce days absent to around 230.
Therefore, am I correct in understanding that I may apply in December 2020? Alternatively, where may I seek advice regarding this matter?