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?

1 Answer 1


You should have received an email about being granted settled status with an attachment that explains among other things your rights to apply for U.K. citizenship. Rules based on “indefinite leave to remain” are not relevant anymore.

What the governent website says: "To apply for citizenship with settled status you must usually have lived in the UK for 12 months after getting it." And as usual, the UK government, deliberately or out of incompetence, tries to confuse things by saying that "settled status is also called indefinite leave bla bla bla" but of course not the same as indefinite leave to remain before settled status. So if you already received settled status - not pre-settled status - in October 2019, you'd have to wait until October 2020 to apply.

Unless you have some specific reason, there should be no particular urgency to get U.K. citizenship (except if you plan to immediately leave the U.K. for several years, or plan to commit some serious crime).

  • 1
    ...or plan to have a child born outside the UK.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 4:03

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