What if you were living in UK on ILR to enter or remain but for some reason you had to live away from UK for more than 2 years? Well, you can return to UK but you need to apply for a fresh visa now. You need to apply for UK resident visa.
When a person is seeking leave to enter UK as a returning resident then they need to apply for Returning Resident visa. This means if you were living in UK previously with indefinite leave to enter or remain in UK and you have been away from UK for more than 2 years now then you need to apply for UK returning resident visa to enter UK. But if you wish to return to UK, then you need to meet certain conditions in order to satisfy immigration officer about your ability to return to UK. These conditions are following:
- When you left UK last you had the indefinite leave to remain or enter in UK.
- You have been away from UK for more than 2 years.
- You did not get any fund assistance for meeting the cost of leaving UK.
- You are now applying for the permanent settlement in UK.
2 year rule for returning residents
If you have been away from UK for more than 2 years then you must provide enough evidence as a returning resident to show in order to get successful decision on returning resident visa:
- You have strong ties to the UK.
- What is current circumstances and why you had to live outside UK for so long?
However in 2 situations you will not lose your indefinite leave to remain in UK even after having been away from UK for more than 2 years. One is if your spouse or partner is a member of the UK armed forces and you have joined them on an overseas posting. Second is, if your spouse or partner is a British citizen or settled in the UK then also you will not lose your ILR in UK. However in second situation your spouse or partner settled in UK must also be one of the following:
- He/she is a permanent member of the Diplomatic Service.
- He/she is a UK-based British Council employee working outside the UK.
- He/she is an employee of Department for International Development (DFID).
- He/she is an employee of Home Office.
If you have any dependent family member like your partner and children under the age of 18 then they need to apply for a returning resident visa separately if they are also eligible.
How to apply and documents to submit
You have to apply online for returning resident visa application. You need to submit your biometric information which includes your finger print and photograph at visa application centers as part of your application.
When applying you need to submit following documents:
- Your current passport or other valid travel identification.
- Your previous passports.
- A color photograph of passport size.
- Documents which prove your ties to the UK. One such document can be proof of income you have earned, or rented or owned property, in the UK.
You may have to submit additional documents as well which depends on your circumstances.
How long you can stay
After successful visa application you can return UK to live permanently in UK.