You need a Returning Resident visa to come back to live in the UK if you were previously settled (given ‘indefinite leave to enter or remain’) and you have been away for more than 2 years.
If you have been away for less than 2 years but you have lost your documentation, you can get a replacement BRP visa.
You may still need to apply for a visa if you have been asked to confirm you can travel to the UK, for example by the airline you are travelling with.
plan to return to live in the UK permanently
have been settled in the UK before you last left
not have been given public funds to help you leave the UK
If you have been away for more than 2 years
You must provide enough evidence to show:
your strong ties to the UK
your current circumstances and why you have lived outside the UK
You will not lose your indefinite leave to remain after 2 years outside the UK if your spouse or partner is a member of the UK armed forces and you have joined them on an overseas posting.
You also will not lose it if your 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 (DFID) employee
a Home Office employee
Family Members (‘dependants’)
Your dependants (partner and children under 18) need to apply separately for a Returning Resident visa if they are eligible.
It costs £516 to apply.
How long it takes
Check the guide processing times to find out how long it might take to get a visa in your country.
How long you can stay
You can return to live permanently in the UK.
You will need to provide:
a current passport or other valid travel identification
documents that prove you have ties to the UK, for example proof you have earned income, or rented or owned property, in the UK
You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.
Read the guide for a full list of documents you need to provide.
You will need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.
You may be able to get your visa faster depending on what country you are in - check with your visa application centre.
You cannot apply online from North Korea.
To apply from North Korea you must:
download the application form and guidance - read the guidance if you need help filling in the form
read the instructions to find out where to take your completed form
Further information on applying for a returning resident visa can be found on GOV.UK's website.