On 5th Feb 2021 the Home Office added a short guidance for those have remained outside the UK for over 2 years and due to coronavirus travel restrictions and their indefinite leave has lapsed. Also, added guidance for those who have already obtained a Returning Resident visa because their indefinite leave lapsed on or after 24 January 2020. And in this article we answer some of the common questions.
What is a Returning Residents visa? Do you need one?
You need a Returning Resident visa to come back to live in the UK if you were previously settled, and you’ve been away for more than 2 years.
What happens if I want to return to the UK but I have left the UK for over 2 years?
According to the new guidance, if you’ve remained outside the UK for over 2 years, and your Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR) or Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK (ILE) lapsed on or after 24 January 2020, and you’ve been unable to return to the UK due to travel restrictions in place relating to coronavirus, you may apply under the Returning Resident visa route to return to the UK and get indefinite leave.
But you need to complete the online Returning Resident application form and pay the fee. As part of your application, you’ll need to explain how coronavirus restrictions prevented your return to the UK.
You’ll receive a refund of the application fee and, where applicable, a refund of £55 if you submitted your application at a Mandatory User Pay Visa Application Centre. Confirmation of your refund will be sent to you by email once the Home Office has made a decision on your application.
What if I’ve already been issued a Returning Resident visa but still unable to travel to the UK?
If you’ve already obtained a Returning Resident visa because your ILR/ILE lapsed on or after 24 January 2020 and you were unable to return to the UK due to travel restrictions in place relating to coronavirus, you may be eligible for a refund of your visa fee.
You will need to email the following information to the Covid Immigration Helpline (CIH) at CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
- your name
- date of birth
- any unique Home Office reference numbers, including your payment reference for the visa fee
*Remember use ‘Returning Resident Refund Request’ as the subject heading!
If I left the UK for less than 2 years, do I need to apply online for a visa to re-enter as a Returning Resident?
No, if you meet the requirements and you will not be required to apply for a visa to enter the UK. Once in the UK, you can apply for a biometric residence permit (BRP) to replace the vignette in your passport. You may wish to speak to our immigration team for advice in making this application.
Any more questions?
For expert advice and assistance with a Returning Resident visa, contact our team on +44(0)2072536888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.