Specifics of the Returning Resident visa:
Introducing the visa for Returning Residents:
This caters for South Africans have previously been awarded ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) “permanent resident” status and have not been outside the UK for longer than 2 years.
Please note that if South Africans with ILR has been outside the UK for 2 years or more, the likelihood of regaining the UK resident status again (easily) is not high.
Duration of visa:
Returning Resident visa is issued for the remaining duration of the applicants South African passport. Therefore the visa can be issued for a maximum of a 10 year period.
Continued. This Returning Resident visa does grant settlement rights, which means that the time spent in the UK continues to count toward earning British nationality. The common complication in these cases relates to the applicants ability to meet the immigration definition of “continued UK residence”.
Permitted. Immediate family members (married like partner and minors) are permitted to join the main applicant. The UK settlement visa applies to dependents of permanent UK residents (with valid residence status).
3 weeks. From the date of submission, applicants experience an average of 15 working day processing times.
Common Reason for Refusal:
Most of these cases are refused based on breaching the permitted 2 year “out of country” travel allowance. We experience many clients looking to return to the UK years after being back in SA. In these cases, applicants have to consider restarting the process and qualifying for entry clearance.
Once South Africans are awarded returning resident status, they can easily continue with life in the UK. Up for grabs remains the applicants ability to earn British nationality through UK residence (that British passport still awaits).