Sun | Jan 17, 2021

Immigration Corner | I'm a resident, do I need a visa?

Published:Sunday | August 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I live in Jamaica and I am a resident of the United Kingdom (UK). I have been living outside of the UK for three years. Is it true that I will need a visa to return?

- BJ

Dear B.J.,

Persons need to apply for a returning resident visa to go back to live in the UK if they were previously settled, that is, given 'indefinite leave to enter or remain' and they have either: lost their documentation; or been away for more than two years.

Persons will not need a visa if they have their original documentation confirming that they have settled status and have been away for less than two years. However, persons may still need to apply for a visa if they have been asked to confirm that they are still able to travel to the UK, for example, by the airline they are travelling with.

In order to be eligible, persons must: plan to return to live in the UK permanently; have been settled in the UK before last leaving there; not have been given public funds to help them leave the UK.

Please note that there will be no change to the rights and status of European Union (EU) nationals living there, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU.

If persons have been away for more than two years they will not be permitted to get a returning resident visa unless they are also able to show what exceptional personal circumstances have led to them being out of the country for such a long period.

Applicants must provide enough evidence to show: their strong family ties to the UK; they lived in the UK for most of their life; their current circumstances and why they have lived outside the UK.

It should be noted that persons will not lose their indefinite leave to remain after two years outside of the UK if their spouse or partner is a member of the UK armed forces and they have joined them on an overseas posting.

Also, persons will not lose it if their spouse or partner is a British citizen or settled in the UK and one of the following: a permanent member of the diplomatic service; a UK-based British Council employee who works outside the UK ; a Department for International Development employee; a Home Office employee.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK).