I was born in the UK, I have a British passport, my parents were married when I was born, are married, both have British passports and I lived in the UK until age 18.

I have however lived outside of the UK for over 4 years without going back. I therefore fall outside the Statuatory Residency Test.

Can I still go back to the UK and work permanently at anytime that I choose without having to pay for a new visa or any other fines?

What other implications are there of not being a UK resident other than tax benefits?

5 Answers 5


The document referenced in the question is about determining whether are a UK resident or not for tax purposes in a given tax year.

That is separate from whether you have right of abode in the UK:

"Having right of abode means you’re allowed to live or work in the UK without any immigration restrictions"

"All British citizens automatically have right of abode in the UK."

  • 2
    Man it'd be a real kick in the pants if you went abroad and decided "Man this country I'm a natural born citizen of might be the best damned country in the world" and they say "move your feet, lose your seat".
    – corsiKa
    Apr 23, 2016 at 5:36

Since you have a British passport, you are very very likely a British citizen, hence you don't need a visa to enter the country, nor would you ever need one. You can simply enter the country with your current British passport, and can also start work, study, etc. immediately.

The SRT is to check whether you are a Resident or not, which you are not, and generally, for all purposes you'll become one after 6 months. There are cases where this is a hard limit (for example if you want to obtain a driving licence), and there are cases when it's a soft one (for example to be entitled for free NHS hospital care it's enough to have an address, and register at a GP).

Not being a resident however doesn't hinder you entering the country, nor your rights to work and study, especially sinc the only way to become a resident is to come to the UK and start living here as your main place.

  • Ah thanks for that, I was actually thinking of getting a driving licence during my visit... What are the limitations of not having UK residency? Apr 22, 2016 at 22:21
  • @david_adler I can't think of anything than the driving licence where the 6 months rule is enforced. Free NHS care comes in mind, but for them it's enough if you have a GP (especially if you are British). Your credit rating will be bad though, but that's different
    – SztupY
    Apr 22, 2016 at 23:00
  • What effects could having a bad credit rating have? Would it permanently mark my credit rating or just while I am a non UK resident? Apr 22, 2016 at 23:19
  • Could you link to legislation @SztupY Apr 24, 2016 at 15:22
  • @david_adler which legislation?
    – SztupY
    Apr 25, 2016 at 9:05

Since it wasn't mentioned in any previous answers, I will add that if you want to study you may be required to pay international fees instead of local resident fees. You will also have to pay standard NHS fees. This will be true until you 'pass' the residency test.

edit: Here is a link on the recent rules changes.

A quote:

Citizens who return to the UK on a settled basis will be classed as ordinarily resident, and will be eligible for free NHS care immediately.

So if you are coming back to stay permanently, you will be alright. If it is just a short visit and not for settlement, you will likely be considered to have to pay for any NHS care. Since you mention working permanently, I believe you will qualify as returning on a settled basis. Hopefully you won't need the NHS though so it won't matter.

  • What are these standard NHS fees? Can you link to legislation? Apr 24, 2016 at 15:22
  • I've updated my answer with a link and quote.
    – ouflak
    Apr 24, 2016 at 18:06

If you have a British passport then you are a British citizen. The UK doesn't force its citizen to live in the UK in order to retain their citizenship. That would be nuts.


I am a UK citizen and left the UK eleven years ago to live in Europe. I can return to the UK whenever I want to - brief visits however require an EHIC card from the European country of my residence (at least until March next year and BREXIT). This means I can have emergency Health care whist in the UK, without permanent residency there. If I moved back permanently, I would need to find a permanent address so I could re-register on the NHS for medical care. Ditto I would need to register for dental care. The speed this is processed is dependent on the waiting lists of where you move to. For example Birmingham is likely to have a longer NHS waiting list than Forres in Scotland. I have heard of people buying a house in a rural area and getting straight on the NHS list and others who had to wait 10 months. You also need to think about your tax status https://www.gov.uk/tax-return-uk Please note the section that says If you return to the UK within 5 years of when you left

You may have to pay tax on certain income or gains made while you were non-resident. This doesn’t include wages or other employment income.

https://www.gov.uk/tax-foreign-income/residence Note the six month point is only the decider for tax residency - physical residence starts when you move into a permanent address and start paying household bills from there. When you put yourself back on the electoral roll and actually live there, registering for local services, NHS, rates etc. Whilst I don't use them and therefore am not not in a position to recommend this company, they have a neat checklist on their blog that might help you https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/moving-back-to-the-uk-from-abroad

Hope this helps

  • +1 for noting that the 6-month rule concerns only tax residency. Welcome!
    – phoog
    Sep 29, 2018 at 1:24

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