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Important information for the end of the Brexit Transition Period and the EU Settlement Scheme, if you or your close family members are an EU / EEA Citizen

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Returning Residents: Have you lost your Indefinite Leave to Remain/Enter, and can you get it back?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) and Indefinite Leave to Enter (“ILE”) carry the same rights, i.e. those granted ILR or ILE have no time restrictions on their stay in the UK.  There is no time limit on the validity of ILR/ILE status, although it is important to understand that this status can be lost under certain conditions.

How is ILR/ILE lost? 

In order to maintain your ILR/ILE status you must continue to reside in the UK. If you hold ILR/ILE but move away and spend a continuous period of two or more years outside of the UK, your status will lapse and cease to be valid. This is the case even if you still hold your ILR/ILE Biometric Residence Permit (“BRP”) or passport vignette – your status can cease to exist regardless of your possession of such a document. 

Absences of less than two years will not result in the loss of ILR/ILE, provided that the holder returns to the UK within the two-year period, and enters the country for the purpose of settlement. Factors such as how many days you are spending in the UK, what ties and connections you have to the UK (family, property, business) and whether you are spending the majority of your time in another country will all matter and can affect a UK Border Officer’s decision on whether your status should remain intact upon reentry.  

Additionally, ILR/ILE can be revoked in less common circumstances such as if the status was obtained by deception, or if the holder is being deported.

How can ILR/ILE be regained? 

As above, those who have been granted ILR/ILE and have subsequently been absent from the UK for two consecutive years or longer will be deemed to no longer hold ILR/ILE.

Upon their desired return to the UK, they are known as ‘returning residents’ and must make an entry clearance application evidencing strong ties to the UK, and the intention to make the UK their permanent home once more. Evidencing this will depend on a range of factors, which must be considered carefully in each individual case.

Gherson has extensive experience advising and assisting returning residents. If you think your ILR/ILE may have lapsed or have any related concerns in relation to your personal circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2020


Spencer Bienvenue 

  Spencer Bienvenue

  Paralegal in our General Immigration team


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For advice on immigration, nationality, extradition or human rights, please contact us now.

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