Married Couple Reunited after being Forced to Live apart for 10 Months

Today, it has been reported that a married couple have been reunited in the UK after being forced to live in different countries for 10 months due to immigration red-tape. Herb Reagan, an American national had lived in the UK for 12 years and was granted indefinite leave to remain, before  him and his wife Gill Reagan, a British national moved to South Africa. The couple spent 10 years in South Africa as missionaries before deciding to return to the UK last year. They were left disappointed when they discovered that Herb’s indefinite leave to remain status had expired due to his long period of absence from the UK.

Tribunal Judge: Mr Reagan’s Deportation was a Breach of the Couple’s Right to Respect for Family Life

Herb, was refused entry into the UK when arriving at Heathrow airport, despite having been previously granted indefinite leave to remain. Herb found out that his leave to remain had expired. The couple claim they were given the wrong information by the British Embassy and the UK Border Agency. They were told that Herb could fly back to the UK on a tourist visa and apply for a settlement visa once in the UK. The couple, who have three sons arrived in the UK in August 2013, Herb was deported back to South Africa on the same day. The couple appealed the Home Office’s decision twice and was refused both times, before taking their case to the Upper Tribunal.

Gill’s legal representative stated his disappointment in the Home Office:

“It has been enormously disappointing how the Home Office has failed to exercise their discretion in Gill’s case. The Border Agency did send an apology to Mrs Reagan, but refused to change its decision.”

The case was heard at the Upper Tribunal and the Judge ruled in favor of Herb, stating that his deportation was a breach of the couple’s right to respect for family life. Herb arrived in the UK and reunited with his family on 7 July 2014.

Gill expressed her relief of having her husband in the UK:

“The fact he’s finally home is such a relief. The children were also extremely excited as they’ve obviously really missed their dad. The last year has just been horrendous – we were apart for our 20th wedding anniversary, for birthdays and Christmas. It’s amazing how just suddenly having him here again is like a breath of fresh air.”

Returning Resident UK Visa Requirements

Herb was relying on his returning residents rights, which states in order to return and settle in the UK you can apply for a Returning Resident visa. You are only eligible for this visa if you have previously been granted indefinite leave to remain and have not been away from the UK for more than two years.

You are eligible for this visa if:

  • You plan to return to live in the UK permanently
  • You have been settled in the UK when you last left
  • You have been away for more than 2 years
  • You have not been given public funds to help you leave the UK

Other requirements, you must prove that you have strong ties to the UK. Such as family, friends and proof that you have lived in the UK for the majority of your life.

Successful Returning Resident Visa Applications

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a visa application to the UK step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.

Contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment.


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