A covering letter is not mandatory but desirable. Our lawyers always include a covering letter with every application.

The cover letter is a document you have to type yourself in Word or a similar program and upload with the rest of supporting documents, it's not part of the AN form nor provided with the form.

The letter is useful to explain things such as:
  • That your absence/trips listing is to the best of your recollection.
  • If you have visited several countries during a single trip, as the form only allows you to mention one country, and doesn't provide much space under the "reason" field to name other countries you visited. This is particularly important if you visited several countries outside the EU where your passport got stamped, for example, during a round the world trip or a cruise.
  • That you are providing approximate dates (i.e. entry date, employment dates, trips, etc.) as you don't recall the exact ones;
  • Employment details: i.e. working through an agency, change of employer's name, sporadic employment, overlapping dates due to having 2 jobs, etc.).
  • Not having exact dates or details of all convictions, fines, cautions, penalties, etc. and any relevant explanations about these incidents,
  • Name discrepancies (see Names).
Lawful residence
  • The form doesn't have room to explain how you were lawfully resident during the last 3 or 5 years. In some cases, you will need to explain how you were lawfully resident during the relevant period, for example, as a dependant, as a family member of an EEA national or after having acquired PR status based on an earlier period of exercising treaty rights.
  • The letter can also be used to show how you were covered by CSI, for example, with an EHIC, a letter from your own country's own health authority, a private policy, etc.
See: Lawful residence for applicants relying on settled status

The cover letter has to be uploaded with the rest of the supporting documents once the form has been submitted and paid for, as noted here: Submitting and booking your appointment

The letter is not intended to sell yourself nor to convince the Home Office to approve your application. Applications will be considered on their own merits.

However, it can be used to explain your circumstances and show the caseworkers why you think they should exercise discretion in certain cases for example, when you exceed the allowed absences.

Because every application is different, it is not possible to provide a template.