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Clarification about Habitual Residence Test and the 3 months rule


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I'm aware that, if you leave for more than 3 months and then come back and claim benefits, you might fail the HRT and will have to wait another 3 months.

 

What I would like to know if these 3 months are consecutive or must be spread across the year.

 

For example: I leave the country to do some volunteering abroad for two months. I come back and claim benefits. I should be able to pass the HRT. But if after 6 months I go abroad again for another two months, what happens? Will the two months get added to the previous two months?

 

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The three month rule isn't actually a formal rule, as such. "Habitually Resident" is not defined in the legislation, so the three month rule is a guideline for DMs when they encounter a UK citizen who has returned from an extended absence from the UK.

 

It's another of these "each case is looked on its merits" sort of thing. If you went abroad to volunteer, you might well be able to argue that you maintained residence in the UK during your absence. Perhaps, for example, you kept your house and continued paying Council Tax etc while you were away. Where the three month rule comes into effect is in cases of UKCs who have left for an indefinite (or known but very long) period of time during which they have maintained few or no ties to the UK.

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