Keeping the following in mind:

  • I have moved to the UK in 2001, and been in paid employment since 2002
  • I did apply for the PR certificate and obtained it in 2014. My application form was based on the period 2009-2014, but arguably i did achieve PR status in 2007. (5 years of residency)
  • Since 2014 i have been in and out of the country for study and work. Never for more than 2 years, so I haven't lost PR, but I might not fulfil the residency requirements for BC if based on the last 5 years.

Based on the above, my question is: can i shop around for the qualifying period for British Citizenship? In other words, can i base my BC application on the period, say, 2003-2008, given that by 2008 i had already had PR status for 1 years. Or can it only be based on the last 5 years?

  • 1
    No you cannot. They establish your qualifying period from your application date. Lots of refusals are based upon this gotcha, so be careful.
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


According to the UK government site, the five-year period is that immediately preceding your application:

And you must usually have:

  • lived in the UK for at least the 5 years before the date of your application


As you note, you also must usually have

  • spent no more than 450 days outside the UK during those 5 years
  • spent no more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months

You may therefore have to wait a few years before you can apply.


Sort of. Look at Section 5 of the AN guidance for the various ways you can meet the residency qualification requirements. I think the 7 years route might be your best bet. Keep in mind though that they are quite strict about the previous 12 months. Anything over 100 days absent puts your application in more of a discretionary position and you will have to defend those excessive absence.

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