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Applying for Returning Resident Visa

If you are a permanent resident of the UK who has been living in the United Kingdom and has now decided to return back to your home country, you will need to apply for a Returning Resident visa.

At London Immigration Lawyer, we have a team of experienced immigration lawyers who are able to advise and guide you through the application process. Reach out to one of our friendly immigration advisers on 020 3944 1554, or contact us online today.

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    Returning Resident Visa Overview

    The Returning Resident Visa is a type of UK visa that allows foreign nationals who have previously held indefinite leave to remain in the UK to return to the country after an absence of more than two years.

    The law covering this type of re-entry permit is the Immigration Rules (Leave to Enter and Remain) of 2000.

    This type of visa is suitable for those who have left the UK with the intention to return and now wish to do so.

    The Government does not expect that returning residents will have maintained a full-time residence in the UK during their absence.

    Still, it does insist that you did not intend on establishing your home elsewhere when you initially left.

    The main requirements for this visa are that the applicant must have held indefinite leave to remain at some point in the past and must be able to demonstrate strong ties to the UK, such as family members or property ownership (including rented or owned property).

    The Returning Resident Visa can be applied for online or in person at the Home Office.

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    What is the Eligibility Criteria?

    To be eligible for a Returning Resident Visa:

    • You must have previously held indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
    • You must have left with the intent to return, although it is not expected that you have maintained continuous residence during this time.
    • You must also have strong ties to the UK, such as family members, property ownership or a job offer awaiting you in the UK.

    Requirements of the Returning Resident Visa

    The requirements for a Returning Resident Visa are quite straightforward. You must have previously held indefinite leave to remain in the UK and must demonstrate that you left with the intent to return.

    You should also be able to demonstrate strong ties to the UK, such as family members, property ownership or a valid job offer awaiting you in the UK.

    Requirements for entry as a Returning Resident: absent from the UK for less than 2 years

    If you have been absent from the UK for less than two years, then all you will need to do is demonstrate that you have left the UK with the intent to return and can prove strong ties to the UK, such as family members, property ownership or a valid job offer awaiting you in the UK. You will be admitted if the Immigration Officer is satisfied with the following concerns:

    • You did not receive assistance from public funds towards the cost of leaving the UK.
    • You left the UK with the intention of returning.
    • You have held indefinite leave to remain in the past.

    Requirements for entry as a Returning Resident: absent from the UK for more than 2 years

    If you have been absent from the UK for more than two years, then you will need to provide evidence that you can demonstrate strong ties to the UK, such as family members, property ownership or a valid job offer awaiting you in the UK.

    You will also need to provide evidence of how long you had lived in the UK when you left and your reasons for returning, as well as evidence that you are able to maintain yourself financially without relying on public funds.

    If successful, the UK Visas and Immigration Services will admit you as a Returning Resident.

    How to Apply for Returning Resident Visa

    The best way to apply for the Returning Resident Visa is online via the UK Government website or in person at one of the Home Office Enquiry Centres.

    You must submit evidence that you can demonstrate strong ties to the UK, such as family members, property ownership or a valid job offer awaiting you in the UK.

    You must also provide evidence of how long you had lived in the UK when you left and your reasons for returning, as well as evidence that you are able to maintain yourself financially without relying on public funds.

    Also, you will submit other documents, such as your current passport and other valid travel identification.

    During the application, you will have your fingerprints are taken, which will be scanned and stored on the UK Home Office database.

    If you have dependents who cannot travel with you, they can apply for the Returning Resident Dependant Visa.

    What Documents are Needed?

    To apply for the Returning Resident Visa, you will need the following documents:

    • Valid passport or identification previous passports or other valid travel identification – the passport should not have expired.
    • Evidence of strong ties to the UK, such as family members, property ownership or a valid job offer awaiting you in the UK.
    • Proof of how long you had lived in the UK when you left and your reasons for returning.
    • Evidence that you are able to maintain yourself financially without relying on public funds. The documents to support this include documents such as bank statements and salary slips.
    • Marriage certificate – if applicable.
    • A passport-sized colour photograph.
    • Letters of enrolment or attendance at an educational institution.
    • Letters of employment detailing your salary and role within your company.
    • Proof of your business interests.
    • Utility bills or council tax statements.

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      How Much Does Resident Return Visa Cost?

      The cost of applying for a Returning Resident Visa is £531 (at the time of writing). This excludes Immigration Health Surcharge.

      You should note that the fee keeps on changing; hence you should always check the fee on the UK Government website before submitting your application. A biometrics fee is also required for applicants aged 16 or over.

      How Long Does an Application Take to Process?

      The processing time for the Returning Resident Visa is usually between three and four weeks from when your application is submitted.

      You will be notified by post when your application has been approved or declined. The length of the wait can be longer or shorter, depending on your current circumstances.

      Hence, starting the process as early as possible is best to avoid any delays.

      What if you are Ineligible for a Returning Resident Status?

      If your application is unsuccessful, then you will have to apply for the appropriate visa category that matches your intention of visiting the UK.

      There may be other options available to you. For example, you could apply for a Visitor visa which is valid for up to 6 months and allows you to live in the UK without the right of settlement.

      What Happens After I Apply?

      Once you have applied for a Returning Resident Visa, your application will be assessed and you may be called for an interview to discuss your reasons for returning to the UK.

      You will also need to provide identity documents and proof that you can financially support yourself during your stay in the UK.

      The interviewer may also ask questions about your past, present and future plans in the UK. Once your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter with your visa number and start date.

      You will also have to book an appointment at the VAC (Visa Application Centre) to have your biometrics taken. You will then be free to travel to the UK.

      Guidance on Readmission of Returning Residents

      The guidance on readmission of returning residents is based on the following factors:

      Strength of ties to the UK

      The guidance indicates that the returning resident must have had a substantial connection with the UK within the last two years.

      This could include having family members, employment or property in the UK, as well as other social and economic ties which demonstrate they intend to take up residence in the UK.

      guidance notes that the more compelling evidence provided, the stronger the case for readmission.

      For example, if you have more family members such as parents, children or a spouse who is a British citizen or living in the UK, this should be evidence of your strong ties to the country.

      Length of original residence in the UK

      The guidance outlines that those who have lived in the UK for a significant period of time are more likely to be granted readmission than those who have resided in the UK for shorter periods.

      However, this should be accompanied by other factors, such as evidence of ties to the UK.

      Length of time outside the UK

      The applicant must have been absent from the UK for at least two years prior to application. However, their return must be no later than five years after leaving the country.

      This is an important factor that is considered in the application process. The guidance notes that the longer a person has remained absent from the UK, the less likely they are to be successful in their application.

      Reasons for leaving

      The guidance states that applicants should demonstrate their reasons for leaving the UK were not to avoid immigration control or other legal obligations such as military service.

      If an applicant can demonstrate their departure was for valid reasons, this may be considered when assessing the application.

      If a person has left voluntarily or under duress, then this should also be taken into consideration.

      Reasons for now wishing to return

      The applicant must demonstrate they are returning to the UK with a genuine intention of taking up residence in the country and not just visiting or transiting through.

      Examples of evidence which can prove an applicant’s intention to take up permanent residence in the UK may include job offers, evidence of employment in the UK prior to departure or evidence of a new home they intend to move into.

      Whether if they were to be readmitted, they would continue to live in the UK

      In addition to demonstrating genuine intentions for returning to the UK, applicants must also demonstrate that if they were granted entry, then there is a good chance they will take up permanent residence in the country.

      This could include having family ties, employment or property in the UK, as well as other social and economic ties which demonstrate an intention to stay.

      Other compelling or compassionate factors

      The guidance also takes into account any other compelling or compassionate factors that might apply in individual cases.

      Examples of such factors include genuine family ties or other close relationships between the applicant and persons in the UK.

      How Can London Immigration Lawyers Help?

      London Immigration Lawyer provides expert advice and assistance to applicants looking to return to the UK on a Returning Resident Visa.

      Our team of experienced immigration lawyers understand how the application process works, how to present evidence in the best possible way, and how to make sure your application is successful.

      We can help you prepare all the necessary documents, provide guidance on what evidence you need to submit with your application and represent you throughout the process.

      Some of our services include:

      • Assessing your eligibility for the visa.
      • Preparing and submitting your application.
      • Gather relevant evidence to support your case.
      • Guidance on the documents required.
      • Representation in court if necessary.
      • Update on immigration status.

      If you need help with a Returning Resident Visa application, please get in touch with our team of experienced immigration lawyers. Contact us on 020 3944 1554, or contact us online today.

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                Related pages for your continued reading.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                Yes, a permanent resident can leave the country and come back, provided they meet all of the criteria laid out in the Returning Resident Visas guidance.

                Your residence permit UK must be returned if your leave to remain in the UK comes to an end. You can do this by sending it back to the Home Office or you can bring it with you when you leave the country.

                The visa is usually valid for 12 months, although this period may be extended depending on individual circumstances.

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