Returning Residents Visa

If you have previously settled in the UK, you have the possibility of becoming a ‘returning resident’ and permanently residing here.

The course of action you must take is contingent upon the duration of your absence.

In accordance with the provisions outlined in paragraph 18 and 18A of the Immigration Rules, individuals possessing indefinite leave to remain have the flexibility to spend a maximum of two years outside the borders of the United Kingdom. Should their absence last for a period shorter than two years, they are entitled to return to their residency and are not required to obtain a visa for entrance into the United Kingdom with the intention of settlement.

In compliance with paragraph 19 of the Immigration Regulations, an individual who does not qualify for the exemption mentioned in the previous paragraph solely due to their absence from the United Kingdom for a duration exceeding two consecutive years, must proceed to apply for a Returning Resident Visa from a location outside of the UK. This application must be supported by substantial evidence proving their deep connections to the United Kingdom and a genuine intention to establish the United Kingdom as their long-term abode.

The effective enforcement of modifications concerning individuals coming back to their homeland was put into action on April 12th, 2023, once the alterations outlined in the official document titled Statement of Changes HC 1160, dated March 9th, 2023 were executed.

According to the Explanatory Memorandum to the Statement of Changes HC 1160 released on 9th March 2023, paragraph 7.74 highlights that…

Update: At present, the Returning Resident regulations prohibit individuals who had a lapse in their indefinite leave (settled status) from applying to reinstate their settlement if they have previously visited the UK as a tourist.

In order to circumvent this predicament, alterations are being made to the regulations, permitting individuals in this particular scenario to recommence their residency in the United Kingdom. However, it is essential that they continue to initiate their application while being situated outside of the UK.

If one has been away from the UK for more than 2 consecutive years and had Indefinite Leave to Remain in the past, they can request a Returning Resident visa. However, it is essential that during their last departure, they had obtained visitor permission (only if they did not have temporary permission through another route between the expiry of their indefinite leave to enter or remain and the granting of visitor permission). To be eligible, they must have applied for and received indefinite leave to enter through entry clearance.

Please find below the provided guidelines for a Returning Resident Visa, which outline the necessary requirements.

If you want to know more about our visas for returning residents, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are eager to chat and explore ways in which we can assist you with your application.

Learn More

Armed forces, government, and British Council employees

If your spouse or partner works specific occupations, you can maintain your indefinite leave to remain even if you spend 2 years outside the UK. Consequently, you will not require a Returning Resident visa.

If you have accompanied your husband or wife who serves in the British military on an international assignment, this information pertains to your situation.

If you happen to be a British citizen or have a settled status in the UK, then the following also pertains to you:

  • Diplomatic Service member with a lifelong commitment
  • British Council representative stationed abroad, serving the UK
  • Personnel of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO)
  • Employee of the Home Office

The requirements for a Returning Resident Visa are as follows:

The applicant must:

  • intention to permanently relocate to the United Kingdom
  • individuals who were previously residing in the UK but had a restricted duration on their last departure will be ineligible
  • individuals who did not receive any financial assistance from the government for their departure from the UK

The applicant must provide enough evidence to show:

  • Their strong ties to the UK – nature of those ties; extent to which those ties have been maintained during the applicant’s absence; length of their original residence in the UK; the length of time the applicant has been outside the UK – The longer they have lived outside the UK, the tougher it will be to get the visa.
  • Their current circumstances and why they’ve lived outside the UK – they must have had a good reason for leaving the UK.
  • Any other compelling or compassionate factors

When the application for a Returning Resident Visa is approved, the applicant will receive an enduring permission for entry. Consequently, they can reside in the United Kingdom free from any time limitations during their stay. Moreover, the applicant will possess full entitlement to avail themselves of all National Health Service (NHS) facilities, and if they desire, they may subsequently pursue British Citizenship by making a formal application.

How to Apply

You must apply online in order to obtain a Returning Resident Visa from a foreign country. The current application price is £637.00, which, once paid, cannot be refunded in the event that it is denied.

Returning Residents Visa

This Returning Resident Visa UK is an ideal solution for UK residents who are returning to the country after an extended period away.

Parent of a Child Student Visa

This Visa is designed to allow parents of children who are studying abroad to enter the country for the purpose of visiting, providing assistance, and providing support to their children's educational pursuits.

Windrush Scheme

If you are residing in the UK but lack a document to validate your settled status, you may meet the criteria to apply for the 'Windrush Scheme'. This scheme allows you to seek a document that confirms your right to live and work in the UK.

Get in Touch

With years of experience working in UK immigration and Litigation law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps toward obtaining your goals. Get in touch today.