If you are a non-UK citizen who has previously been granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, you may be able to return for settlement with a returning resident visa. However, if you have been out of the UK for over two years, you may lose your permanent residence status. In that case, before travelling to the UK, you must apply for entry clearance with a Returning Resident visa. As a returning resident, you can re-enter the UK to live, work and study permanently.
Returning Resident Visa
If you have been away from the UK for less than two years and possess ILR status, you still have your settled status and can return to the UK without a visa. However, at the border, you will need to demonstrate to the Immigration Official that:
- You had valid ILR when you left the UK;
- You have not been absent from the UK for more than two years;
- You did not utilize public funds to leave the UK; and
- You are seeking permission to re-enter the UK for permanent residence.
However, if your absence from the UK has exceeded 2 years, you will need to make an application for entry clearance as a Returning Resident from outside the UK.
Applying for a Returning Resident Visa
Under the immigration rules the requirements , to qualify for a Returning Resident Visa are that:
- You must plan to return to live in the UK permanently.
- You must have been settled in the UK before you last left.
- You must not have received public funds to help you leave the UK.
- You must provide sufficient evidence of your current circumstances and demonstrate that you have maintained strong ties to the UK. Additionally, you must provide reasons for living outside the UK for an extended period.
When assessing whether someone can be readmitted to the UK as a returning resident, the Home Office will consider several factors, such as the nature and extent of your ties to the UK, the reasons for leaving and remaining absent and reasons for wishing to return. Other factors include whether the applicant intends to continue to live in the UK and any other compelling or compassionate factors that may affect your situation.
Before travelling to the UK, you must apply online for a Returning Resident visa. You will need to submit your biometric information at a visa application centre to make a valid application.
Returning Resident Application Documentation
When applying for a Returning Resident visa, you may be required to demonstrate that you have maintained strong ties to the UK. This can be achieved by providing various documents, such as a marriage certificate or proof of family members living in the UK, evidence of property ownership, enrolment or attendance at an educational institution, employment letters indicating your role and salary, proof of business interests, utility bills or council tax statements, and a medical statement if your absence was due to medical reasons. It is recommended to provide as much supporting evidence as possible. However, the Home Office may still request an interview if the evidence is insufficient.
After your appointment at the visa application centre for a returning resident visa, you should receive a decision within 3 weeks. You may be able to get your visa faster, depending on the country you are applying from.
How we can help
Our experienced team can guide you through the entire process of applying for a returning resident visa, from preparing your application and supporting documents to attending your appointment at the visa application centre. We’ll work closely with you to ensure that your application is as strong as possible, giving you the best chance of a successful outcome.
To discuss your Returning Resident visa application with an experienced immigration adviser from our team, call us on +442087575751 or use our contact form.
Frequently asked questions
To prove a person’s settled status in the UK, typically, it can be found in their passport, an immigration status document, or a biometric residence permit (BRP). These documents may include:
– Indefinite leave to enter (ILE) endorsement or BRP
– Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) endorsement or BRP
– No time limit endorsement or BRP
– Returning resident visas
– Open date stamps in the passport after receiving ILE/ILR status.
If a person has obtained British citizenship and attended their ceremony but still possesses an indefinite leave stamp or vignette in their passport, they can no longer use it to enter the UK. In such a situation, the applicant should hold a British passport or a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode.
Dependants such as partners and children must apply separately for a Returning Resident Visa if eligible.