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Proving how long you’ve lived in the UK

You’ll usually need to prove how long you’ve lived in the UK when you apply for settled or pre-settled status.

The easiest way to prove this is to give your National Insurance number when you apply. If you don’t give your National Insurance number, you’ll have to provide documents. 

If you’ve had months when you didn’t work or lived outside the UK, there might be gaps in your National Insurance record. You might need to provide documents to cover those gaps.

You don't need to prove how long you've lived in the UK if you:

Find your National Insurance number

You can find your National Insurance number on a payslip or letter from HM Revenue and Customs. Phone the National Insurance helpline if you can’t find it.

Check how much evidence you need

You can include any time you’ve lived in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man as time lived in the UK.

To get pre-settled status, you only need to show you’ve lived in the UK for 1 day out of the last 6 months.

To get settled status, you only need evidence for 6 months out of every 12 months for 5 years in a row. It doesn’t have to be the last 5 years. You can provide evidence for a different 5-year period - as long as you haven’t lived outside the UK for 5 years in a row since then.

You might be able to get settled status even if you've lived outside the UK for more than 6 months out of any 12 months. Your time outside the UK still counts if you were away for any of these reasons:

  • childbirth, serious illness, study, training or being sent to work abroad by your employer - for 1 period of up to 12 months
  • compulsory military service - for any length of time
  • serving in the UK armed forces or a family member of someone in the armed forces
  • working for the UK, Scottish or Welsh governments, Northern Ireland executive or the British Council
  • a family member of someone who was working for the UK, Scottish or Welsh governments, Northern Ireland executive or the British Council

Check what documents you can use

All the documents you submit as evidence must be dated and have your name on them.

You should only provide 1 piece of evidence to cover each month or longer period of time.

You can upload a maximum of 10 documents to show evidence of UK residence. Each document must be no more than 6MB in size. We’ll contact you if we need further information.

Use documents that cover longer periods of time if you can, such as annual bank statements, council tax bills or university letters and certificates. This means you will not need to submit as many documents.

A document with a single date on will count as proof of residence for that month only, for example a monthly electricity bill, an official letter or a GP appointment card.

The lists of evidence below are not exhaustive. We may consider other forms of evidence on a case-by-case basis.

Evidence that covers longer periods of time

Documents that cover a longer period of time between 2 dates include:

  • annual bank statement or account summary, showing at least 6 months of payments received or spending in the UK
  • employer letter confirming employment and evidence that the employer is genuine, for example, their Companies House number
  • council tax bill
  • letter or certificate from your school, college, university or other accredited educational or training organisation showing the dates you enrolled, attended and completed your course
  • invoice for fees from your school, college, university or other accredited educational or training organisation and evidence of payment
  • document showing a UK address from a student finance body in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland or from the Student Loans Company
  • residential mortgage statement or rental agreement and evidence of payment
  • letter from a registered care home confirming your residence there
  • employer pension contributions
  • annual business account of a self-employed person
  • P60 for a 12-month period – your P60 shows the tax you’ve paid on your salary in the tax year (6 April to 5 April). We may ask you for additional evidence to confirm that you were resident here for at least 6 months of that period.
  • P45 showing the length of your previous employment. You should get a P45 from your employer when you stop working for them.

Evidence that covers shorter periods of time

These documents count as evidence for 1 month if they have a single date on. They can be used to cover a longer period of time if they have a start and end date covering longer than a month.

  • bank statement showing payments received or spending in the UK
  • payslip for a UK-based job
  • water, gas or electricity bill showing a UK address
  • landline or mobile telephone, TV or internet bill showing a UK address
  • domestic bill, such as for home repairs, vet’s services or insurance, and evidence of payment
  • card or letter from your GP, hospital or other healthcare professional confirming appointments you have made or attended
  • letter from a government department, public service or charity that show you dealt with them on a particular date or for a particular period (for example Job Centre Plus or Citizens Advice)
  • passport stamp confirming entry at the UK border
  • used travel ticket confirming you entered the UK from another country
  • invoice for work you have done in the UK and evidence of payment

Documents you cannot use as evidence

The documents you use should be from an official or impartial source.

You cannot use:

  • photos and videos
  • letters or references from family and friends
  • greeting cards, for example birthday cards
  • postcards sent or received
  • personal scrapbooks

If you do not have enough evidence

If you do not have enough evidence in your own name, or you need assistance with your application process or ID check please contact Diversity Voice via email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will make sure to book you an appointment and provide you with assistance.

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