Evidence of Continuous Residence in the UK
Providing evidence of your continuous residence in the UK is inevitable when required. In most cases, your continuous residence will be confirmed by automated checks of DWP and HMRC records. In some circumstances these checks are not sufficient. This is usually if you do not have permanent residence documentation such as a visa, and you have been a continuous resident for less than five years. When asked by the UK government, you will be required to provide some of the documentation detailed below as evidence of continuous residence. The government divides the possible documentation into long and short-term evidence. They prefer longer term documents but will usually accept the alternative.
Preferred Long-term Documentation
The long-term documentary evidence comes in a large variety of forms, all of which are detailed below. If you have access to this kind of documentation, it is strongly advised that you use it over short-term documentation.
Long-term documentation from your bank.
Firstly, an annual bank statement is commonly used. The payments received and spent over a 12-month period will prove that you have lived in Britain continuously. While this is usually an individual’s bank account, the self-employed can provide their annual business account statement.
Long-term Documentation from your Employer
If you are in permanent employment, your employer can write a dated and signed letter confirming the length of time you have been employed in the UK. Your employer must be registered with HMRC or the Companies House and must confirm this. Similarly, a P60 form showing your taxable income for the year can be used. In some cases, this will need to be accompanied by evidence you have been a resident in the UK for six months of the period the P60 covers. Finally, you can also get evidence of your employer contributing to your pension for the period of time that you have been residing in the UK
Long-term Documentation from your Educational Institution.
If you are a student, your institution can provide a similar dated and signed letter as is common for employers. This will need to detail the duration of the course and confirm your attendance and enrollment in the course. Alternatively, you can provide documentation from your student finance body or loans company. This can be any form of documentation so long as it shows a UK address and your name.
Long-term Documentation Related to your Living Status.
You can also provide evidence of your living status as another means to prove permanent residence. This can include a council tax bill, a tenancy agreement, or a mortgage statement for your house.
Alternative, short-term Documentation as Evidence of Continuous Residence
While the UK government prefers applicants to provide long-term documentation, it does accept shorter-term documentation. However, you will likely have to provide significantly more of them, and each piece of documentation will only be taken to prove continuous residence for the time-period it covers.
Short-term Documentation Related to Work.
Proof that you have carried out work in the UK will prove your residence. If you have an employer, a dated pays lip will prove your work. Alternatively, if you are self-employed, you may provide an invoice for work done in the UK. These will be taken as proof of residence for the entire month for which they are dated. Naturally, this documentation must prove that the work was physically done in the UK and cannot be used if the work was remote.
Short-term Documentation Proving Spending and Payments in the UK.
You may provide a collection of bank statements covering the period of your continued residence. These must show received payments and spending in the UK. You can also use copies of your utility bills so long as they include your name and UK address. This is also the case for general domestic bills in the UK such as insurance, landline, TV and internet bills, and home repair payments. You can also provide copies of contracts for these.
Short-term Documentation Related to Travel.
To prove the date at which you entered the UK you can show a passport stamp proving that you have crossed the UK border. You can also use a used travel ticket for travel from abroad into the UK. Both of these will prove residence for a month.
Short-term Documentation Provided by the Government.
If you have interacted with a UK governmental department, service, or public body, proof of this interaction will prove your residence in the UK for the month of the interaction. Common public bodies you may have interacted with include Job Centre Plus, and Citizens’ Advice.
What Cannot be Used as Evidence of Continuous Residence in the UK.
There are many types of documentation that the UK government will not accept to prove your residence. Most of the documentation they reject are from non-official, and non-impartial bodies. Furthermore, the UK government will reject all documentation that its caseworkers cannot access or understand. The most common forms of rejected documentation can be found below.
Firstly, the government will not accept any kind of character reference or testimony from friends or relatives that say that you were residing in the country over a period. You also cannot use any postcards you have sent or received from family or friends. You are also not able to use photographs showing you to be in the UK. This is even the case if they are dated and time stamped, or feature other people that can confirm your residence. This is the case for all forms of multimedia.