I am a Ukrainian national, holding an ILR UK visa. My husband of 10 years and our 2-year-old son are both British. We have lived and worked in Thailand since 2010.

My husband has already relocated back to the UK, setting up a new home for us and I am planning to follow next month with our son and two adopted dogs.

What sort of permit or visa, if any, would I require, as I have been away from the UK for more than 2 years? My ILR is in my old Ukrainian passport.

  • Unless your husband was working for the UK government or military, it doesn't look good. See here.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


Considering how much time has passed since you have left, I think your possibilities are going to be strained if you want to go to the UK next month. To be honest, it will be a bit enthusiastic to think you will be returning next month and actually allowed into the UK without a visa in hand. Your ILR has thoroughly lapsed.

There is the Returning Resident application, but the problems with this are:

  1. It is notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to get this visa. I've only seen one success story myself, and that was after an appeal of the initial refusal with a very good lawyer (and maybe a bit of luck and a judge who was in a liberal mood that day).
  2. It takes time to get this visa, easily weeks to months before a decision is reached, not to mention the time it takes to prepare the application and send it off. If it is not successful, which it most likely will not be, you will again be at square one unless you make an appeal that is likely to fail anyway.

You can apply for the Spouse Visa. Your husband has to provide certain minimum evidence of his ability to support you (son is excluded as he is BC) including meeting certain minimum financial qualifications. I'm assuming he qualifies, although concerned about the time he may have worked with his current employer as some minimum pay details require evidence. He may have a big fat bank account however, so won't go further into that. Therefore, your big issue again is just time. This visa is quicker and many cases have been sorted out in weeks (website says usually within 12 weeks), but it can take longer, even for 'straightforward' applications. Apply now, be ready to wait that full 12 weeks, and wait and wait....

  • What are the conditions for IRL lapsing? I wasn't able to find references for this earlier and I'm curious as to how long a person has to be away from the UK. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 15:45
  • 1
    @lafemmecosmique over 2 years absence (generally) unless accompanying a spouse or partner in UK governmental/military service.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 19:48

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