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Moving Back to the UK After Living Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 15 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Moving Back To The Uk After Living Abroad

Moving back to the UK after spending time living abroad can be a very difficult time for most people. There are a number of reasons why people decide to return 'home', most commonly home sickness, missing family members, work, or simply not settling are reasons to think about being back in the UK.

For many, the decision will take months to make, with continual doubts as to what the right thing to do is. Some people go back and forward for many years, often known as 'yoyo movers', only to eventually return to the UK to stay. If you're planning to move back to the UK for good, there are a number of important tasks you must carry out before returning and when you get there.

Medical Attention and Returning to the UK

Before you leave your current location abroad, you should let your doctor know that you will no longer need to be on the medical roll and are returning to the UK. If you have private medical insurance, you should let them know of your change of circumstances. Some may be able to simply transfer your policy to the UK, while others may require you to cancel your policy before leaving.

If possible, get your current GP, dentist and any other healthcare records sent to the UK before leaving. This will require you to register with a dentist and GP in the UK first. Many will let you do this over the phone, or online, but some will require you to attend in person. Speak to them on the phone first to see which is the best option for you.

Benefits, Entitlements and Other Government Agencies

When returning to the UK, there are a number of important legal steps you must take to ensure that you receive everything you're entitled to. Some of the most important revolve around benefits, pensions, national insurance and tax.

  • Contact the Department for Work and Pensions to find out whether you are able to transfer your pension back to a UK account. They can also help you find out whether you're entitled to any benefits.
  • Tie up any tax payments you may need to make in the country you're currently living in before leaving.
  • Speak to HM Revenue & Customs to let them know that you're coming back to live in the UK permanently. They can help you with any tax issues you may encounter on your return.
  • To obtain your National Insurance number and to find out about any NI Contributions, you should contact the HM Revenue & Customs National Insurance Contributions Office.

Selling Your Home and Buying a New Home

Before you leave to move back to the UK it is advisable to arrange someplace to stay, even if it's only temporary. Most people will stay with relatives where possible or some may book into a hotel for some time. This can be expensive however and it might be worth considering a temporary short term rental.

Check out online websites that deal specifically with short term rentals and see if they have anything to suit. If you're selling a home in the place you currently live, you should do this well in advance of your moving date. These things can take time and sorting out paperwork and payments are usually due to time constraints. Get your house on the market and know when you need to sell it by.

If you're buying in the UK, you can be brave and buy unseen, but generally it is best to wait until you're there so you can get a feel for the place. If you're even slightly unsure about how long you're staying, rent rather than buy. It can be more difficult and expensive if you buy and have to sell again within a short term period.

Moving Back to the UK with Children

Although children are relatively good at adapting to new circumstances, it can be an emotional time for them to up and leave friends and a school that they're settled in. Try to make the move back to the UK an exciting time for them and remind them that they can stay in touch via email with friends they're leaving behind. As well as the emotional support you'll need to provide them, there's also a number of legal issues to take care of.

  • Notify the local school and official school authorities that you are leaving the country and let them know your forwarding address
  • Contact the UK authority that deals with school admissions in the area you're moving to. Some areas have difficulties in placing children at specific schools, so arrange this in advance of the school term if possible
  • It is always advisable to start your child at the beginning of a school term where possible. This means they don't have to come in during a term where people are already settled into their new classrooms and new teachers

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[Add a Comment]
Scottishlass- Your Question:
Left Scotland 1988 , got married to an American back home.We came to the states, lived here almost 30 years. I go home periodically, Scotland to see my family.Only worked in Scotland for about a year when I left high school.My question is: I’m now classed as disabled on Medicare now.If my husband and I go back to Scotland for good, can I claim my benefits either still from over in states, or am I able to claim once I get back home. I’m now 49 years old, can’t work due to my health issues , my husband would be retired by time going back to Scotland.Am I able to claim for my disibility benefits there and stay on my pain and phycological medications too. I understand I will need to show bring all medical records regarding my health issues. I still maintain my British passport, I’m a permanent resident of the USA.Thank you

Our Response:
If you're a UK or an Irish citizen coming to live in the UK from abroad you may want to claim certain means-tested benefits. Depending on how long you've been out of the country, you may have to satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test (HRT) before you're allowed to make a claim, please see link here .
EmigrationExpert - 20-Apr-18 @ 12:25 PM
I was born in Scotland 1961, worked there from 1981 to 1986.Then moved to Australia.Married an Aussie in Scotland in 1992.I have an Australian passport and have never renewed my UK one.My husband’s great grandparents emigrated to Australia in the early 1900’s.What would the situation be if we decided to return and live in Scotland?
Scotia - 15-Apr-18 @ 6:09 AM
Born in the uk after 1983, Left for the first ten years of my life Returned at the age of 13.( I was on my mother's passport) One unsettled parent, still to this day 2018 Went to school from there on in college and Uni I have a degree , two children under the age of Ten. Have always worked and paid my taxes. How do I start in gaining citizenship / British passport.
RH - 13-Apr-18 @ 3:05 AM
Left Scotland 1988 , got married to an American back home. We came to the states, lived here almost 30 years. I go home periodically, Scotland to see my family. Only worked in Scotland for about a year when I left high school. My question is: I’m now classed as disabled on Medicare now. If my husband and I go back to Scotland for good, can I claim my benefits either still from over in states, or am I able to claim once I get back home. I’m now 49 years old, can’t work due to my health issues , my husband would be retired by time going back to Scotland. Am I able to claim for my disibility benefits there and stay on my pain and phycological medications too. I understand I will need to show bring all medical records regarding my health issues. I still maintain my British passport, I’m a permanent resident of the USA. Thank you
Scottishlass - 10-Apr-18 @ 4:47 PM
I have been living in India for the past 14 Years and now wish to return back to uk. I am educationist by profession, and would like assistance in getting employment . I am a uk citizen. I moved to India with my husband and have been divorced for the last 8 Years ... life is getting very hard here and I need to return back with my daughter who is 15 years old. Im 42 years old
Soniya - 10-Apr-18 @ 1:36 PM
I was born and lived in the UK until I was 42, then married to an American for 25 yrs. I am now Divorced. I am a citizen of the USA but have a duel Uk and USA passport. And I receive a small UK pension which goes into my UK Bank Account. I wish to sell my house In the USA and move back to UK, but I don't know if the USA will allow me to transfer the money from the sale of my house to the UK without taxing me on it, I have lived in this house for almost 24yrs. I visit my family in UK every year for 5 weeks, I am 72 yrs old and would feel much better living close to my family. Could you tell me if I would have any problems with repatriation to UK.
Annabee - 30-Mar-18 @ 9:43 PM
Blondie - Your Question:
I moved to zambia in 1964 with my parents at that time I was 5 yrs old. My parents then settled in australia in 1973 from Zambia at that time I was 14 years old and have remained livng in Australia. Have considered moving back to the Uk to live. I still hold my british passport but have australian permanent residency. Am I entitled to any british pensions or payments of any sort.

Our Response:
You would not be entitled to any payments or British pensions if you have never resided in the UK and/or paid UK-based National Insurance.
EmigrationExpert - 20-Mar-18 @ 11:00 AM
I moved to zambia in 1964 with my parents at that time I was 5 yrs old. My parents then settled in australia in 1973 from Zambia at that time I was 14 years old and have remained livng in Australia. Have considered moving back to the Uk to live. I still hold my british passport but have australian permanent residency. Am I entitled to any british pensions or payments of any sort.
Blondie - 19-Mar-18 @ 1:13 PM
@sarahrcraig - you won't have any repercussions in the UK as it's your country of birth.
Anon - 19-Mar-18 @ 12:33 PM
Im a UK citizen who has been living in the US without a visa for 20 years, I know if I come back to the UK I will be barred from the US for 10 years but is there any repercussions from being out of my own country for so long?
sarahrcraig - 17-Mar-18 @ 12:57 PM
Bill - Your Question:
I am an 80 year old widow living in Canada (now a Canadian Citizen) Left Scotland in 1959 (22 years old - worked for 7 years) My husband worked for 12 years and also served in the RAF. He is now deceased and never collected an |Old Age |Pension from the UK. Was he eligible for an old age pension? He is now deceased - Am I entitled to a |UK Widows pension? Lots of questions - but I am now interested in moving back to the \UK. Would I be eligible to collect any type of pension? Your reply would be appreciated - thank you. WS

Our Response:
The Pension Advisory Service may be able to help answer your questions in full, please see link here.
EmigrationExpert - 13-Mar-18 @ 12:29 PM
I wish to return to the UK after living in Greece for 16 years. I have a 10 year old daughter and I will not have any financial support. Who can I contact for advice?
SKIPPY - 13-Mar-18 @ 7:48 AM
Mikey - Your Question:
I am stuck in the us I have no money no friends or family that can help I don't know where to go the embassy basically told me to bad so sad I don't have a passport either they did say they could issue an ETD but I would need a ticket first I have no bank or building society what can I do I'm homeless too

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, you would not be able to get help from the UK to relocate back to the UK as there is no official provision for this sort of help.
EmigrationExpert - 12-Mar-18 @ 12:55 PM
I am an 80 year old widow living in Canada (now a Canadian Citizen) Left Scotland in 1959 (22 years old - worked for 7 years) My husband worked for 12 years and also served in the RAF.He is now deceased and never collected an |Old Age |Pension from the UK.Was he eligible for an old age pension?He is now deceased - Am I entitled to a |UK Widows pension? Lots of questions - but I am now interested in moving back to the \UK. Would I be eligible to collect any type of pension? Your reply would be appreciated - thank you.WS
Bill - 12-Mar-18 @ 11:23 AM
I am stuck in the us I have no money no friends or family that can help I don't know where to go the embassy basically told me to bad so sad I don't have a passport either they did say they could issue an ETD but I would need a ticket first I have no bank or building society what can I do I'm homeless too
Mikey - 10-Mar-18 @ 1:21 PM
I am 66yrs came to Canada in 1975 and I am a permanent resident not citizen. I collect 3 pensions and also have rrsp’s. I am planning on moving back to Scotland in 2019 but will leave my bank acct open to have my funds credited to it. Do I have to declare my finances to the uk even though I will be paying Canadian taxes
Bets - 9-Mar-18 @ 8:44 PM
Hi, I was born in London and at my 8 year my parents relocate to Canada and I became a naturalised Canadian citizen. I have lived my life in Canada and am 53 years now, 10 years ago I came to UK to stay due to marital issue and I got right of abode on my passport and my national insurance, I worked for about 2 and half years and went back to Canada due custody case my ex institute against me and now all settled and I returned to UK. I went to the council for help to settle but all my application were denied telling me all the rules have changed. Please what can i do bcos have been in for 3 months nd a week. I was ask to get a british passport or visa on my passport to be able to get asdistance. Help !!!, thabk you
baba deo - 8-Mar-18 @ 12:42 PM
Lopo - Your Question:
Hello ive just currently returned to the uk full time after being out of the uk for twelve months.I have now been here for six weeks I am 6 months pregnant nowhere to live and am not entitled to any goverment funding anywhere or even council funding. Until I do an HRT in 3 months time. I really dont understand this I would really love some advice thanks.

Our Response:
I can only direct you to the CAB link here, which will help answer your question regarding the reasons why you have to sit the test. Unfortunately, it is government policy that all returning residents to the UK comply with this.
EmigrationExpert - 8-Mar-18 @ 11:01 AM
Hello ive just currently returned to the uk full time after being out of the uk for twelve months. I have now been here for six weeks i am 6 months pregnant nowhere to live and am not entitled to any goverment funding anywhere or even council funding. Until i do an HRT in 3 months time. I really dont understand this i would really love some advice thanks.
Lopo - 7-Mar-18 @ 1:50 PM
I am a British Citizen who has been married to a South African for over 50 years. My daughter and son who are working and resident in the Uk have offered my spouse, their mother, accommodation in the UK,. My question is can they sponsor my wife for a visa to remain in the UK. I am 70 & my wife 69 yrs old. Have been resident in South Africa for some 38 years. I hold a British passport.. Thanking you.
Tony - 3-Mar-18 @ 9:08 AM
My niece, now in her 60s, went to Australia at 18 months old in the late 50s. She has dual citizenship. She has been bankrupt & is now jobless & homeless (staying with friends). I believe she has cashed something- her pension or something like that. If she were to return to family in UK - she has none in Australia any more - would she be entitled to anything? Her UK family cannot afford to support her indefinitely.
Brighton Belle - 2-Mar-18 @ 1:13 PM
Faye - Your Question:
Hi I moved to Istanbul 8 years ago because my family reason. Now I would like to back to England for good. I don't have any house to live but I have family there. Do I need to do and legal action before arrive to England.thank you for your answer

Our Response:
If you are a British citizen, please see link here.You do not have to make any arrangements to return to the UK, if you are a British citizen.
EmigrationExpert - 2-Mar-18 @ 12:05 PM
Hi I moved to Istanbul 8 years ago because my family reason. Now I would like to back to England for good. I don't have any house to live but I havefamily there.Do I need to do and legal action before arrive to England .thank you for your answer
Faye - 1-Mar-18 @ 10:59 PM
Hello, I was born in Manchester and lived in the UK with my parents and sister, but moved to Canada when I was 11. I have been in Toronto for 10 years now but would like to move back to Manchester for a little while. I am a Canadian citizen, and I think I would lose my Canadian citizenship if I did not return after 6 months - so, I'd like to come back to England for 6 months at a time. I know I need to find work back home and there is a lot of other things I'd need to sort out...but where do I start? (p.s. am I automatically a duel citizen? Would it be somewhat easy to come back or would I have to apply for a visa of some sort? Thankyou)
Keeley - 27-Feb-18 @ 5:13 PM
I also have a valid passport that expires in 2024. No children are involved and it’s just my personal belongings that my friends will keep safe for me. I have a place to stay until I’m on my feet if I go back. I have no intention of going back to the US not even to visit. I know the UK like the back of my hand. I’m English born and bred. I won’t have very much money though. I need a jjob to get my feet on the ground though. Agency, part time etc. Any ideas? Thank you in advance.
Binkus1800 - 21-Feb-18 @ 6:52 PM
Hello, I would like to know what steps to take if I leave the US as a legal resident with a valid UK passport through break down of marriage. What do I do to get UK resident permanent status. I was born and lived in the UK for 50 years before moving to the US in 2011. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Steve in the USA.
Binkus1800 - 21-Feb-18 @ 6:38 PM
@Lynda - your problems are more to do with the change in lifestlyes in general than the UK being unwelcome. Most phone companies want reassurance that you are going to pay your bill and take money via direct debit or direct from a valid bank account. So it stands to reason that a bank account is needed (one is required for most things and always has been). Similarly, a utility bill may be required to open a bank account for security reasons to prove you are who you say you are and you live where you say you do. If the world wasn't such a corrupt place now, perhaps we could go back to living like we did in the 1950s. But it is, fraud takes place all the time and most companies have to try to prevent this. I hope you settle in better once you are here. Regards, RG.
RogerG - 20-Feb-18 @ 12:35 PM
My son is unable to return to the US and is in a nursing home in UK.I have been in the US for over 40 years and am a dual citizen.I'm finding that process of possibly returning to the UK is extremely difficult.Everything has changed so much since I last lived there temporarily for several months in 1993.Now, I cannot get a bank account without a utility bill.This meant that I had to actually rent a short-term apartment.I cannot get a phone without a bank account. I have a British passport, so I'm at a loss as to why I'm so unwelcome.I am re-thinking this entire process and might just visit rather than giving up what I perceive to be the "safety" of US residency.I feel for the 58 year-old lady who is having difficulties too - see her post under "Max" above.Max, if you read this, please respond.Maybe we can pool our resources and win this battle.
Lynda - 19-Feb-18 @ 12:40 AM
Lynda - Your Question:
Why does your article 'Moving Back to the UK after Living Abroad' suddenly turn into advice about settling in to your new environment ABROAD ? They are two separate issues, after living abroad we already know the 'ups and downs' and presumably have good reasons for wanting to return.Please make them both separate articles to avoid confusion.Thanks

Our Response:
The whole article is about moving back to the UK. We cannot see what you are referring to.
EmigrationExpert - 6-Feb-18 @ 11:16 AM
Why does your article 'Moving Back to the UK after Living Abroad' suddenly turn into advice about settling in to your new environment ABROAD ? They are two separate issues, after living abroad we already know the 'ups and downs' and presumably have good reasons for wanting to return. Please make them both separate articles to avoid confusion. Thanks
Lynda - 5-Feb-18 @ 5:11 PM
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