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Moving Back to the UK After Living Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 19 Nov 2017 | 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]
Jenny42 - Your Question:
I am planning to return to the UK after living in the US since 2002. I am still a UK citizen and receive a UK pension. I have family in the UK and am looking into renting retirement accommodation. I will be receiving a US pension but am unsure if I will have sufficient money to live on. I am a UK passport holder. What do I need to do to re patriate?

Our Response:
You will find this AgeUK factsheet useful if you are a British citizen over state pension age who moved abroad and who is now considering moving back to live permanently in the UK, please see link here .
EmigrationExpert - 20-Nov-17 @ 11:40 AM
I am planning to return to the UK after living in the US since 2002. I am still a UK citizen and receive a UK pension. I have family in the UK and am looking into renting retirement accommodation. I will be receiving a US pension but am unsure if I will have sufficient money to live on. I am a UK passport holder. What do I need to do to re patriate?
Jenny42 - 19-Nov-17 @ 12:41 AM
I'm leaving a job in Asia and I will cease to be resident there in December. I am coming back to the UK briefly (2 weeks, mid to late December) before I return to Asia to start a year-long cycle trip all the way back to the UK. I have not been UK resident since 2011 and will be spending weeks, up to a couple of months in each of the countries I pass through. Will I be resident of nowhere until I am back permanently in the UK? Or Will I be UK resident from the date I come back to the UK for a short visit?
sm1234 - 19-Nov-17 @ 12:19 AM
I'm retired marred have two children both have British passports both children under the age of 14.my.wife is Thai and dose not have. UK passport. She has been to England meny times with no problem. What bennifits. Will I get. We have been together now 22 years. Would this be a problem for me
Buck - 17-Nov-17 @ 9:04 AM
@Jono - Do you have British citizenship? If you do then you won't have a problem. You can just return. It only becomes difficult if you want to claim means-tested benefits.
RoH - 16-Nov-17 @ 10:16 AM
Hello I was born in the UK but raised, educated & have worked all of my life in Africa. My kids are now educated & travelling the world. I want to investigate returning to the UK to live near family. Whats the best way to go about this?
Jono - 15-Nov-17 @ 11:56 AM
I had come to uk on spouse visa, I got my indefinite stay to love in UK visa.. I stayed in UK approximately for 8 to 9 years .. Then I went back to India.. Where I was wrongfully arrested and was held in prison for 3 and half year after 9 years my case was dismissed and I was equitted of all charges and given a clean child from district and high Court..Due to all this mess me and my wife have fallen apart and have serious misunderstanding..I have two kids age 14 and 16 living in UK with their mother/ my wife... I want to return to uk now to join my family but my wife won't support me due to misunderstanding which are not being resolved over the phone.. What do I need to do to get back to uk.. What's the procedure...
Ali - 14-Nov-17 @ 7:06 AM
I'm dual citizen, British Italian, born and mostly lived in UK until age 33 and now aged 39. At 33 I moved to Italy where I have been working. I lost my job as an English language instructor for business and I now want to go and teach English in S. Korea or Japan. Due to the very complex tax system in Italy I am wondering if I should return to being UK resident and then continue with the plan to go to Asia. I don't know if I can bear to deal with Italian bureaucracy anymore! Could I transition back to the UK hassle free. The only thing I still own there is one bank account. I would also like to start paying into my contributions since I have only about 9 years worth which seems like a good idea for pension purposes. Is this going to be more complicated than remaining resident in Italy?
Lu - 11-Nov-17 @ 3:47 PM
I am returning next year I lived for 47 years in UK and moved to the USA 1996 I have my American citizenship and American passport and have the right of abode for the U.K. Will be living with my daughter and grand children I already receive my British Pension years ago
Miss Julie - 6-Nov-17 @ 7:13 PM
@LISA - you can move back without any restrictions. The only thing you can't do is claim benefits.
MikeO - 2-Nov-17 @ 3:36 PM
I am born British and living in South Africa, due to our political unrest. I am thinking of moving back to England with my children who both have British passports, as my ex husband is also born British. Do I need to secure a job beforehand?And how much money do I need to be able to be let back into England? Would I be helped initially till I get on my feet and a job secured, as I don't intend on living off the system. I'm in IT Re recruitment, so I will be able to contribute to the working market in England. Thank you and I look forward to a response.
LISA - 31-Oct-17 @ 6:11 PM
Ian_B - Your Question:
I moved to America in 1999 to get married, now, 18 years later I'm divorced & hoping to move back to England, I never took U.S citizenship & still have a full UK passport. My can't help with a room as he only has a one bedroom house. My question is this, what right do I have to benefits and/or housing benefits, and would I have to pass the HRT test before applying.

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here , which should help answer your question.
EmigrationExpert - 30-Oct-17 @ 3:09 PM
jules - Your Question:
Please can you help. My friend as lived Australia for ten years. She wants to move back with her two daughters 15 and 18 years old who were Born in the UK. They all have dual passports. Can my friend rent a place and work when she first comes back. Also buy after about three months. Please advice me with this.regardsJules

Our Response:
Yes. Problems only arise when a person wishes to claim benefits, please see link here. The more your friend attempts to become 'ordinarily resident', the better.
EmigrationExpert - 30-Oct-17 @ 10:25 AM
Please can you help .My friend as lived Australia for ten years.She wants to move back with her two daughters 15 and 18 years old who were Born in the UK.They all have dual passports.Can my friend rent a place and work when she first comes back.Also buy after about three months.Please advice me with this. regards Jules
jules - 29-Oct-17 @ 12:58 PM
Parents brought me to Australia as permanent resident at 13yo 45 years ago, what entitlement would be available until I get a job and what other paperwork and boxes would need ticking .. I would be traveling on a uk passport
SMM - 29-Oct-17 @ 9:53 AM
I moved to America in 1999 to get married, now, 18 years later I'm divorced & hoping to move back to England, I never took U.S citizenship & still have a full UK passport. My can't help with a room as he only has a one bedroom house. My question is this, what right do I have to benefits and/or housing benefits, and would I have to pass the HRT test before applying.
Ian_B - 27-Oct-17 @ 8:52 PM
Chell - Your Question:
Hi, My half sister (uk born british citizen) moved to ghana 6 years ago with my mum. Now that she is 18 she wants to come back to the uk alone. Is she allowed back into the country? She's not been back at any point since going to live in ghana.

Our Response:
If your half-sister is a British citizen, then she is allowed to return to the country freely.
EmigrationExpert - 24-Oct-17 @ 2:53 PM
Misshome1978 - Your Question:
I British born by British parents etc in uk I lived and worked in uk till I was 22 when I moved to ire and was married with 2 children. that was 17 yrs ago after my marriage breakdown I desperately want to come home to uk to live near my only family. but not sure what help I can get. I’m saving as much as I can but for a short time I may need help with housing and supporting my two children 6 and 14 although I’d plan to open my own business in uk as I had in Irish republic. I have a national insurance number etc can I move and ask for help straight away until everyone’s settled?? How does this all work?

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here, which will answer your question under the heading 'Irish citizens'.
EmigrationExpert - 23-Oct-17 @ 10:35 AM
I British born by British parents etc in uk I lived and worked in uk till I was 22 when I moved to ire and was married with 2 children.. that was 17 yrs ago after my marriage breakdown I desperately want to come home to uk to live near my only family.. but not sure what help I can get .. I’m saving as much as I can but for a short time I may need help with housing and supportingmy two children 6 and 14 although I’d plan to open my own business in uk as I had in Irish republic.. i have a national insurance number etc can I move and ask for help straight away until everyone’s settled?? How does this all work?
Misshome1978 - 22-Oct-17 @ 2:17 PM
Hi, My half sister (uk born british citizen) moved to ghana 6 years ago with my mum. Now that she is 18 she wants to come back to the uk alone. Is she allowed back into the country? She's not been back at any point since going to live in ghana.
Chell - 20-Oct-17 @ 11:38 AM
Hi I had a relative who lived in the uk 35 years ago there was a family argument and he was taken back to his country and had his British passport taken off him so he could not return. I want to know what I can do to help him to get back and what proof will home office ask. Thank you
Biya - 17-Oct-17 @ 9:24 PM
Pal - Your Question:
Hi, I got married in 2005 in Turkey and decided to live in Turkey with my husband. I have 2 boys, 10 and 7 years old. I would like to move back to UK with my family and provide them a better life in education and a safer atmosphere. However, I would like some help on what I need to do first. We're hoping to sell our property here so that we can buy a house but would it be difficult to buy a fully paid house due to not actually living there yet. Im researching jobs and want to start working straight away to be able to support my family. Plus would it be easy for my husband to be a UK resident because of my rights??I could really use some professional advice. Thank you.

Our Response:
In order for you to be able to bring your husband to live in the UK, you would have to be living in the UK and earning at least £18,600 (extra if you are applying to bring children). Or have savings of over £62,500 in order to qualify. The visa you would have to apply for would be a family visa, please see link here . Your husband would have to apply as a partner or spouse. This visa has fallen under a lot of criticism because it separates families due to the complicated applications process. However, unless your husband can apply independently of you as his family, apart from applying for a visitor visa, there are limited other options available.
EmigrationExpert - 17-Oct-17 @ 1:47 PM
Hi, I'm a uk citizen and living in working in Malta. I have lived here for 6 years. Please can you tell me what is the procedure when leaving Malta. Thank you. Regards Tina
Tina62 - 17-Oct-17 @ 11:56 AM
Hi, I got married in 2005 in Turkey and decided to live in Turkey with my husband. I have 2 boys, 10 and 7 years old. I would like to move back to UK with my family and provide them a better life in education and a safer atmosphere. However, I would like some help on what I need to do first. We'rehoping to sell our property here so that we can buy a house but would it be difficult to buy a fully paid house due to not actually living there yet.. Im researching jobs and want to start working straight away to be able to support my family... Plus would it be easy for my husband to be a UK resident because of my rights?? I could really use some professional advice. Thank you..
Pal - 14-Oct-17 @ 10:50 PM
Nick - Your Question:
25 years ago, I was head hunted to work in Holland. Now, I am retired, pensions were not paid by previous employers, so I live from Dutch/UK state pensions which combined fall below the tax paid threshold. Now, for several reasons such as homesick, difficulty making contacts, Dutch tax laws etc, I have the desire to return to England. I note many departments to contact but please, is there a general contact mail/phone to find out the best order how to go about this? The best way to proceed?

Our Response:
You may not be of state pension age, but if you are a British citizen who moved abroad and who is now considering moving back to live permanently in the UK, this factshet is very useful, please see link here . It gives information about things to consider regarding your finances and housing and looks at your eligibility for health and social care services and give details of who to contact.
EmigrationExpert - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:21 PM
Bern - Your Question:
Hi,Having lived in NZ for six years we have decided to move home to England, the problem is that our sixteen year old daughter who has a year left at high school will not be ellegable for a UK student loan.This would mean that she could be deprived of a university education for three years after moving back, does anybody know if there is a way of getting around this problem?

Our Response:
Student funding from the government in the UK is all about which country is your ordinary place of residence. We know of no potential loopholes in the system, as the system is geared towards preventing this if the student is not deemed as being 'ordinarily resident' in the UK. Academic institutions across the UK offer funding to higher education students in the form of bursaries, scholarships and other awards, but judging by your question you are looking for a student loan. One alternative is that you may be able to apply for an international student loan form your home country. Or, it may be possible to get a loan from a company separate from the Student Loans Company in the UK; however, the interest rates are likely to be higher. This has probably not answered your question, but there is no easy answer to this.
EmigrationExpert - 10-Oct-17 @ 11:08 AM
Hi, Having lived in NZ for six years we have decided to move home to England, the problem is that our sixteen year old daughter who has a year left at high school will not be ellegable for a UK student loan.This would mean that she could be deprived of a university education for three years after moving back, does anybody know if there is a way of getting around this problem?
Bern - 9-Oct-17 @ 2:58 PM
25 years ago, I was head hunted to work in Holland. Now, I am retired, pensions were not paid by previous employers, so I live from Dutch/UK state pensions which combined fall below the tax paid threshold. Now, for several reasons such as homesick, difficulty making contacts, Dutch tax laws etc, I have the desire to return to England. I note many departments to contact but please, is there a general contact mail/phone to find out the best order how to go about this? The best way to proceed?
Nick - 6-Oct-17 @ 11:01 AM
Andy - Your Question:
Hi. I have been traveling around the world for 23 years and I'm returning home due to family member being sick. Can you give me advice on how I can claim unemployment benefits, where to go or is online?

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 - 3-Oct-17 @ 3:36 PM
Hi. I have been traveling around the world for 23 years and I'm returning home due to family member being sick. Can you give me advice on how I can claim unemployment benefits, where to go or is online?
Andy - 3-Oct-17 @ 12:19 AM
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