Can you lose your permanent status in the United Kingdom? The short answer is YES. Everyone, who has been absent from the UK for more than 2 consecutive years, will automatically lose their indefinite leave as a matter of law.
A person who has been absent for more than 2 years must apply for entry clearance as a returning resident and will be assessed by Entry Clearance Officers.
There are some exceptions which prevent a person’s leave from lapsing. Any period spent outside the UK will not count towards the calculation of the 2 year period for the following people:
• partner or child accompanying a member of HM Forces overseas;
• partner or child accompanying a permanent member of the British Council, Department for International Development, Home Office, or Foreign and Commonwealth Office overseas.
The person will be readmitted for settlement provided that they:
• had indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK when they last left;
• has not been away from the United Kingdom for more than 2 years;
• did not receive assistance from public funds towards the cost of leaving the UK;
• now seeks admission for the purpose of settlement.
To prove one’s settled status in the UK it is required to provide the following:
• indefinite leave to enter (ILE) endorsement or BRP;
• indefinite leave to remain (ILR) endorsement or BRP;
• no time limit endorsement or BRP;
• returning resident visas;
• open date stamps in passport after ILE/ILR has been granted.
If such evidence cannot be provided, a person’s settled status may still be confirmed through:
- records on databases, such as central reference system (CRS) or case information database (CID), or paper files that show indefinite leave has been granted;
- other proof the applicant was settled in the UK on or before 1 January 1973 and this status has not been lost or revoked.
ABSENCE OF LESS THAN 2 YEARS
A person who has been absent from the UK for less than 2 continuous years will retain their indefinite leave. It is usually possible to check absences from the UK through entry and (old) embarkation stamps (endorsed by Immigration Officers).
SEEKING ENTRY FOR THE PURPOSES OF SETTLEMENT
A person must show that they are seeking entry for the purposes of settlement. Whilst in most cases a person would be returning to settle at the point of entry, there may be other circumstances where a person is in work or study for long periods overseas, but still intends to ultimately settle in the UK on completion of the employment/study. This will not disqualify a person from admission as a returning resident, provided:
• they are normally resident in the UK (for example, a person has property or family or other interests in the UK which are being closely maintained through regular contact);
• at the time of their entry, they consider the UK to be their permanent home;
• they have not been away from the UK for more than 2 years and intend to return to the UK for settlement in the future.
ABSENCES FROM THE UK OF MORE THAN 2 YEARS
Where a person is absent from the UK for more than 2 years, their indefinite leave will automatically lapse. A person may nevertheless be admitted as a returning resident if they can demonstrate strong ties to the UK. Any applications for readmission following a 2-year absence, must be made at a UK visa application centre.
FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION
• their strength of ties to the UK including:
– the nature of those ties (family, property, business);
– the extent to which those ties have been maintained during the applicant’s absence;
• the length of their original residence in the UK;
• the length of time the applicant has been outside the UK;
• the circumstances in which they left the UK and their reasons for remaining absent;
• their reasons for now wishing to return;
• whether, if they were to be readmitted, they would continue to live in the UK;
• any other compelling or compassionate factors.
How can we help?
At Master Legal Services, an expert advisor will assess your specific circumstances and assist you with the correct application, a list of the sufficient documents for a successful application.
You can trust that as a tailored immigration firm, we will always prioritise your needs and provide the best advice for your particular circumstances.
Contact our office to speak to an expert today:
T: 020 8935 5205
M: +44 7710987064
Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.