Returning Resident Visa

As per paragraph 18 and 18A of the Immigration Rules, persons with indefinite leave to remain can be absent from the United Kingdom for up to two years. If they are absent from the United Kingdom for less than two years, they may resume their residence and do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom for the purposes of settlement.

As per paragraph 19 of the Immigration Rules, a person who does not benefit from the preceding paragraph by reason only of having been absent from the United Kingdom for more than two consecutive years, must apply for a Returning Resident Visa from outside the UK, provided they can demonstrate they have strong ties to the United Kingdom and intend to make the United Kingdom their permanent home. We have set out the requirements for a Returning Resident Visa below for your perusal.

Armed forces, government, and British Council employees

You still have your indefinite leave to remain even after 2 years outside the UK if your spouse or partner does certain jobs. This means you do not need a Returning Resident visa.

This applies to you if your spouse or partner is a member of the British armed forces and you’ve joined them on an overseas posting.

This also applies to you if they’re a British citizen or settled in the UK and they’re a:

  • permanent member of the Diplomatic Service
  • UK-based British Council employee who works outside the UK
  • Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) employee
  • Home Office employee

The requirements for a Returning Resident Visa are as follows:

The applicant must:

  • plan to return to live in the UK permanently
  • have been settled in the UK when they last lefta person whose most recent stay was subject to a time limit (for example the person had limited leave to enter or remain) will not qualify
  • not have been given public funds to help them leave the UK

The applicant must provide enough evidence to show:

  • their strong ties to 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.

If an application for a Returning Resident Visa is successful, the applicant will be granted indefinite leave to enter. This means they can live in the UK with no time restrictions on their stay. The applicant will also have access to all NHS services, and can eventually make an application for British Citizenship if they so choose.

How to Apply

You must apply online for a Returning Resident Visa from outside of the UK. The current cost for the application is £531.00 and is non-refundable in the event of a refusal.

If you require assistance with applying for a Returning Resident Visa, please contact us for a quote.