I want to go back to the UK

Published: Wednesday | December 4, 2013 Comments 0
John S. Bassie
John S. Bassie

Dear Mr Bassie,

I lived in the United Kingdom as a resident for a number of years, but I returned to live in Jamaica a few years ago. Things do not seem to be working out for me here and I am wondering if I can return to the United Kingdom.

Any advice would be appreciated.

- W.J.

Dear W.J.,

Whether or not a person is able to return to live in the United Kingdom, if he or she was previously allowed to settle there permanently but had decided to leave, will depend on a number of things.

I am not sure what your status is but, for the purpose of answering this query, I will refer to a resident to mean someone who had been given permission to stay in the United Kingdom without any time limit, and a returning resident will be deemed to mean a resident who had left the United Kingdom and now would like to return there to live again.

The circumstances that may enable a returning resident to return to the United Kingdom as a resident will be allowed if that person was settled in the United Kingdom when he or she last left; and if that person has been away from the United Kingdom for two years or less. Also, that the returning resident should be returning to live in the United Kingdom permanently; and, if that person was not given any public funds to pay the costs of leaving the United Kingdom when he or she had departed.

If the person who would like to return has been away for more than two years, he or she may still qualify to return to live in the United Kingdom if, for example, he or she has strong family ties there or has lived there for most of his or her life.

If that person has been away for more than two years, then he or she must apply for a visa or an entry clearance certificate before he or she can return to the United Kingdom.

Indefinite leave to remain

It should be noted that if the stamp that originally gave that person permission to settle there (known as 'indefinite leave to remain') is in an old passport, then he or she should carry both his or her old passport and new passport when that person travels to the United Kingdom, as evidence of his or her settled status. If that person is unable to produce the original stamp, then he or she may not be allowed to re-enter the United Kingdom.


As stated above, the person does not need to have his or her stamp transferred to his or her new passport, provided that he or she also carries the old passport, but this can be done if the person wishes to.

Please note that the transfer cannot be done at passport control when the person enters the United Kingdom. If the returning resident can prove that he or she is entitled to return to settle there, the immigration officer will put an open date stamp in his or her new passport and then an application must then be made for the authorities to place a residence permit in that new passport.

Alternatively, if allowed to return, the person can apply to the authorities for the stamp to be transferred to the new passport before he or she returns to the United Kingdom.

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). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com

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