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Index >> UK Residency >> Indefinite Leave to Remain >> Absences which will not break continuity in the continuous period >&g back button

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Indefinite Leave to Remain

Absences which will not break continuity in the continuous period

Period between the issue of entry clearance and entering the UK

The period between entry clearance being issued and the applicant entering the UK may be counted toward the qualifying period. Any absences between the date of issue and entry to the UK are considered an allowable absence. This period will count towards the 180 days allowable absence in the relevant 12 month period. The applicant does not need to provide evidence to demonstrate the reason for delayed entry. 

If the delay is more than 180 days, you can only include time after the applicant entered the UK in the continuous period calculation.

Entry to the United Kingdom through Ireland

Applicants who entered through Ireland, and therefore have not passed through immigration control, cannot demonstrate their date of entry to the UK using their passport. Alternative evidence to demonstrate this can include, but is not limited to:

  • a copy of a travel ticket showing the date of arrival

  • independent evidence of activity following entry, such as: 

    • a letter from an employer stating when the applicant started their employment in the UK 

    • a tenancy agreement from a landlord stating when the applicant started living a UK address

180 whole days absence

No more than 180 days’ absences are allowed in any of the 5,4, 3 or 2 consecutive 12 month periods, depending on the category, preceding the date of the application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). 

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.

Allowable absences

Absences must be for a reason consistent with the original purpose of entry to the UK,or for a serious or compelling reason in the following categories:

  • work permit holder 

  • representative of an overseas business

  • employee of overseas governments (except those exempt from control) or the United Nations (UN) or other international organisation of which the UK is a member   

  • airport-based operational staff of overseas-owned airlines 

  • domestic workers in private households 

And the following sub categories of the points-based system:

  • Tier 1 (General)

  • Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer)

  • Tier 2 (General)

  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion)

  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

  • Tier 5 (Temporary worker –International Agreement)(private servants in diplomatic households granted under rules in place before 6 April 2012 only)

In the categories below, absences must be for reasons connected with the applicant’s purpose for being in the UK or for serious or compelling reasons:

  • UK ancestry

  • retired person of independent means

The applicant must provide evidence as explained below. 

For the Tier 1 (Investor), Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), Tier 1 (Exceptional talent)and highly skilled migrant (applying under the HSMP Forum judicial review) categories,there is no requirement to give a reason for absences if they do not exceed 180 days in any of the 5, 4, 3 or 2 consecutive 12 month periods of the continuous period, depending on the category

Absences linked to reason for being in the UK – evidential requirements

For all other categories, a bsences must be consistent with,or connected to,the applicant’s sponsored or permitted employment or the permitted economic activity being carried out in the UK-for example, business trips or short secondments. 

This also includes any paid annual leave which must be assessed on a case by case basis and should be in line with UK annual leave entitlement for settled workers.For example, the statutory leave entitlement is 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday each year, which for workers who work a 5 day week is 28 days’ paid leave. However, many employers provide 25 or 30 days’ paid leave a year, plus bank holidays. 

Short visits outside the UK on weekends or other non-working days are consistent with the basis of stay and do not break the continuity of leave. You must count such absences towards the 180 day limit.

Evidence in the form of a letter from the employer which sets out the reasons for the absences, including annual leave, must be provided. Where short visits outside the UK, on weekends or other non-working days have taken place, evidence from the employer should be provided to confirm the applicant’s normal working pattern and show the absences occurred during a non-working period. 
Tier 1 (General) applicants who are self-employed or in business must provide a letter of explanation of their business-related absences.  

However, time spent away from the UK for extended periods, particularly if the business no longer exists,would not be allowed.

Interim caseworker action – missing evidence

If an applicant is required to provide specified documents from their employer explaining their absences and fails to do this, and the absences do not exceed 30 working days plus statutory public holidays per annum (for example, such absences are likely to be consistent with paid annual leave), you can choose, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, to consider the application without this documentation.

You still need evidence where the absences in a 12 month period (as defined above) exceed 30 working days plus statutory public holidays.

Absences for serious or compelling reasons –evidential requirements

Serious or compelling reasons will vary but can include:

serious illness of the applicant or a close relative 

  • a conflict 

  • a natural disaster, for example, volcanic eruption or tsunami  

The applicant must provide evidence in the form of a letter which sets out the reason for the absence with documents of support. For example:

  • medical certificates 

  • birth or death certificates 

  • evidence of disruption to travel arrangements

Employment outside of the UK

If the absences are connected to other employment outside the UK, which demonstrates the UK employment is secondary, 
these are not permitted absences, and the continuous period requirement is broken. Absences due to employment, whether related to the applicant’s job in the UK or not, count towards the 180 day maximum each year.

Absences due to the Ebola Crisis

On 6 April 2014 the Immigration Rules were amended to discount any absences from the UK from counting towards the 180 day limit, where the absence was due to the applicant assisting with the Ebola crisiswhich began in West Africa in 2014.

This covers all Tier 1 and Tier 2 applicants. ILR applicants should provide evidence from their sponsor (if applicable), employer or similar organisation to confirm that the absence was related to the Ebola crisis.

Holidays taken on the conclusion of employment

Where an applicant’s continuous residence period includes time spent as a Tier 2 migrant or a work permit holder, annual leave 
can include a short holiday taken on conclusion of employment, if the applicant made an immigration application to work 
for a new employer within 60 days of the conclusion of the previous employment. 


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