Tue | Mar 28, 2023

Returning to the cold

Published:Tuesday | March 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises in Jamaica.

Dear Mr Bassie,

I used to live in the UK and I returned home a few years ago. I am finding I am missing England and I wish to return. Will I be able to return easily as a returning resident if I was not born there?

Any assistance would be appre-ciated. Thanks.


Dear M.Y.

For the purposes of answering your query, I will assume you were settled in the Unites Kingdom (UK) and left voluntarily.

If you were a UK resident, this meant you were given permission to remain there without being constrained by a time limit. If you are categorised as a returning resident, this would mean you were a resident who left the UK and now wish to return there to live.

You will be able to return to the UK as a resident if you had previously settled there. This would mean you had no limitation on the length of your stay. However, to be free of UK immigration restriction, you would have had to have the 'Right of Abode' or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). ILR is permission to stay permanently (that is, settled) in the UK free from any sort of immigration control.

However, if the stamp you received gave you permission to settle - that is, ILR - is in an old passport, you should ensure you carry both your old and new ones when returning as evidence of your settled status. You should be aware if you cannot produce your original stamp, you may not be allowed to enter the UK. If you are able to prove you are entitled to return to settle there, the immigration officer will then put an open date stamp in your new passport. Having received this stamp, you must then apply for a residence permit which will be placed in your new passport.

In addition, you would have to have been away from the UK for two years or less and were returning to live there on a permanent basis. Another criterion would be you were not given public funds to pay the costs of leaving the UK.

Entry clearance

However, if you have been out of the country for more than two years, it may still be possible for you to qualify to return to live. If, for example, you can prove you have strong family ties there and/or you have lived there for most of your life.

Nonetheless, if you have been out of the UK for more than two years, then you would need to apply for permission to return. This is known as 'Entry Clearance'. This can be applied for through the British High Commission in Jamaica and, if you are successful, then you will receive the entry clearance in the form of a visa or an entry clearance certificate.

Good luck!

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises in Jamaica. He is a Supreme Court-appointed mediator and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com or editor@gleanerjm.com.