To have indefinite leave to remain means to be settled or a permanent resident of the UK. This means individuals are free from immigration control and restrictions and therefore many of the same rights as British citizens (such as access to benefits and public funds). If a person is no longer a primary resident in the UK and has been outside of the country consecutively for a certain period of time but then wishes to return to the UK, they may face issues with re-entry. Therefore, they will need to apply as a Returning Resident, which is an entry clearance visa application prior to travel. With assistance in preparing successful returning resident visa applications, please contact our team to arrange a consultation with immigration solicitors in London. Consultations can be held over the telephone or Skype and we’d be happy to assess each case in more detail and advise of the prospects of the success of a returning resident application.
What is a Returning Resident?
A Returning Resident is a foreign national who had previously held indefinite leave to remain in the UK but had been outside the UK continuously for a certain period of time. If they then decided they wished to return to the UK, they would be denied entry at the border. Therefore, they would need to apply for a Returning Resident Visa in order to facilitate their return to the UK. Returning Residents must demonstrate their intention to settle in the UK, otherwise their application will be refused. They will also need to demonstrate their ties and connections to the UK.
There is a misconception that the returning resident visa application is easy to obtain because some Applicants feel as if they are entitled to re-entry to the UK because of their previous indefinite leave to remain status. However, gaining returning resident status is not an automatic right and a certain criteria must be met before being granted re-entry to the UK. If the Home Office is not satisfied individual is not returning to the UK for the purpose of settlement then their indefinite leave will be cancelled due to a change of circumstances. This decision carries the right to an Administrative Review.
How long can you stay outside the UK with indefinite leave to remain?
Individuals with indefinite leave to remain can be outside the UK continuously for up to two years before they have to apply for a Returning Resident Visa in order to re-enter the UK. This is because indefinite leave to remain means a person is settled in the UK, therefore if they have been outside the UK for more than 2 years consecutively (i.e. without a trip back to the UK at any point during this period) then that demonstrates to the Home Office that they are not settled in the UK.
Can you lose indefinite leave to remain in the UK?
It is possible for indefinite leave to remain to lapse. This automatically occurs when an individual is outside the UK for 2 consecutive years, as mentioned above. This is set out in This is set out in paragraph 20 of the Immigration Rules. Indefinite leave to remain can also be revoked by the Home Office in a number of circumstances; such as a result of deportation or if it is found that the indefinite leave to remain had been obtained fraudulently or by deception.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to prepare a Returning Resident visa application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a returning resident visa application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your returning resident visa application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your returning resident visa application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Returning Resident visa applications with our Immigration Solicitors in London
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your returning resident visa application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your returning resident visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful returning resident visa application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss your returning resident visa application.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.