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Circumstances in Which Leave Lapses

Jan 24, 2024

On 5 October 2023, the relevant changes relating to returning residents found in the Statement of Changes (HC 1780) were implemented and the new Appendix was introduced.

This route is for those who wish to return to the UK having previously had indefinite permission to enter or stay (settlement) in the UK which has lapsed and who now want to return to and settle in the UK.

A Returning Resident’s previous settlement in the UK must have lapsed by operation of law after they were outside the UK for a continuous period:

  • of more than 2 years under the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000, or
  • of more than 5 years, if they previously had settlement in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme, or
  • of more than 4 years, if they previously had settlement in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme as a Swiss national or a family member of a Swiss national.

Settlement does not lapse for a person who is outside the UK accompanying their partner or parent who is a member of HM Forces or a Crown Servant.

A Returning Resident may also be able to apply under the Windrush Scheme.

There is no requirement that an applicant had indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom when they last left the UK. Therefore, it remains possible to make an application where an applicant has visited the UK since leave lapsed.

Making a Valid Returning Resident Visa Application

To avoid an invalid application an applicant must apply using the specified form or under the Windrush Scheme.

The applicant must be outside the UK and must have paid the relevant fee, established identity, and provided biometric information.

The applicant must have previously been granted settlement in the UK which has lapsed by operation of law due to their absence from the UK.

What Are Eligibility Requirements for Entry for a Returning Resident?

If you want to come back to the UK as a Resident, you must apply for entry clearance before you arrive. You'll also need a valid medical certificate if Appendix Tuberculosis applies.

To be eligible for returning residency, you must show that you intend to settle in the UK. You can't have received public funds to leave the UK, unless you're applying under the Windrush Scheme.

If you're under 18 when you apply, you'll need written permission from your parents or legal guardian. The permission should say what you're applying for, where you'll live in the UK, and how you'll get there.

You must prove that you have strong ties to the UK while you've been away. There are many ways to show this.

New Returning Resident Visa Guidance

The Home Office guidance, Returning Residents, Version 6.0, published on 05 October 2023, is an updated set of guidelines that reflect the introduction of Appendix Returning Resident into the Immigration Rules. This guidance is aimed at individuals who are looking to return to the UK after having left and establishes the criteria that they must meet to be granted a Returning Resident visa.

The updated guidance places great emphasis on the importance of establishing strong ties when an individual applies for a Returning Resident visa. The factors that are considered when evaluating an application are strength of ties to the UK, family ties, property and business ties, length of original residence, length of time outside of the UK, reasons for leaving and wishing to return, and any other circumstances.

The guidance acknowledges that there may be other compelling or compassionate circumstances that may not have been explicitly outlined in the criteria, and as such, each application must be considered on its merits. Given the various factors that are considered, it is recommended that individuals seek legal advice when considering the evidence, they may wish to rely upon and how best to present it.

The guidance also clarifies that if an individual is successful in their application, they will be granted entry clearance for settlement. However, it is important to note that applicants cannot bring a partner or children on this route. Each person must qualify under the relevant provisions. Therefore, individuals may need to consider potential applications that their partner or children may be able to make and may wish to seek advice in this regard.

If an application is refused, the guidance confirms that a request can be made for an Administrative Review of the decision under Appendix AR.

To ensure you never miss any important updates concerning your leave, we encourage you to regularly check our updates on our news pages. Also, don't forget to subscribe to our LinkedIn newsletter for even more valuable insights.

Thank you for your continued support and trust in UK Visas. We are here to guide you through these changes.

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