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June 13, 2024

UK Returning Visa Application

UK Returning Visa Application. Thinking of coming back to the UK after living abroad? If you previously held indefinite leave to remain (ILR), you might need a Returning Resident Visa to settle back in the UK. This article unpacks the essential details about this visa type, making your return journey smoother.

Who Needs a Returning Resident Visa?

This visa is for those who:

  • Previously had ILR (unlimited leave to stay) in the UK.
  • Are currently outside the UK.
  • Have been away for more than two years.

Those who have been away for less than two years might not need this visa but could require a replacement Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) visa if their documentation is lost.

The Application Process

The good news is the Returning Resident Visa application is handled entirely online through the GOV.UK website https://www.gov.uk/returning-resident-visa. Here's a rundown of the process:

  1. Gather your documents: You'll need a valid passport, any previous passports showing your travel history, proof of your previous ILR, a recent passport-sized photo, and evidence of your ties to the UK (explained in the next section).
  2. Complete the online application: The application form is available on the GOV.UK website. It's recommended to save your progress and complete it in stages if needed.
  3. Biometric information: Once you've submitted the application, you'll need to schedule an appointment to provide your fingerprints and photograph (biometric information) at a designated visa application center.

Evidence of Ties to the UK

A crucial part of your application is demonstrating your ongoing connection to the UK. This evidence can include documents like:

  • Proof of property ownership or rental agreements in the UK.
  • Bank statements or payslips showing income earned in the UK.
  • Membership records for clubs or associations in the UK.
  • Evidence of family still residing in the UK.

Additional Points to Consider

  • Application Fees: Be prepared to pay the visa application fee, which is currently £531 (subject to change).
  • Processing Time: Processing times can vary, so check the latest updates on the GOV.UK website.
  • Seeking Help: If the process seems complex, consider consulting an immigration specialist for guidance.


The Returning Resident Visa can be your gateway back to the UK. By understanding the requirements and following the application process, you can ensure a smooth return and start your new chapter in Britain. Remember, this article provides a general overview, and it's always wise to refer to the official government resources for the latest and most accurate information.

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