Live permanently in the UK

“British citizens” have an automatic right of abode in the UK. A British citizen who has been living abroad or who is migrating to the UK for the first time, can therefore pass the ordinary residence test upon taking up settled residence in the UK. British citizens who are no longer living and settled in the UK cannot be said to be ordinarily residents in the UK. 

Ways in which people can be lawfully resident in the UK 

Right to reside 

You have a right to reside in the UK if any of the following is true: 

  • you’re a British citizen (which includes nationals of the Channel Islands or Isle of Man) 

You also have the right to reside if you’re a close family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen with the right to reside. 

If you’re a Commonwealth citizen, you may be able to apply to prove you have a ‘right of abode’ in the UK. 

If you started living in the UK on or after 1 January 2021, you do not have the right to reside unless you joined a close family member with the right to reside in the UK. They must have started living in the UK before 1 January 2021. 

How long you can stay in the UK depends on whether you have a visa or a family permit. After 30 June 2021, you and your close family members can apply for the free EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. 

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’ve been away for more than two years. Your dependents (partner and children under 18) need to apply separately for a Returning Resident visa if they’re eligible. 

Disclaimer:  The content of this page has been provided by GOV.UK and is for general information only. It is subject to change without notice.