Can a Jamaican national enter the UK with a returning resident visa stating indefinite leave to enter, where that entry clearance has recently expired?

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It has been assumed for the purposes of this Q&A that the person in question never entered the UK during the period in which the entry clearance was valid.In order to answer this Q&A, it is first necessary to understand the Immigration Rules pertaining to returning residents. Under the Immigration Rules, Part 1, para 18, where a person is re-entering the UK, had indefinite leave to enter or remain when they last left, has not been away from the UK for more than two years, and did not receive assistance from public funds towards the costs of leaving the UK, they are entitled to resume their residence in the UK and do not need a visa to enter.

However, where a person with indefinite leave to enter or remain has been outside of the UK for more than two years, they must be granted a new entry clearance visa as a returning resident in order to re-enter the UK. Such a visa is granted under of the Immigration Rules, Part 1, para 19 which (as amended from 6 July 2018) states as follows:

‘19. A person who does not benefit from the preceding paragraph by reason only of having been absent from the United Kingdom for more than two consecutive years, must have applied for, and been granted indefinite leave to enter by way of entry clearance if, he can demonstrate he has strong ties to the United Kingdom and intends to make the United Kingdom his permanent home.’

A successful applicant for entry clearance as a returning resident will be granted a vignette in their passport which will be valid for six months from the date of decision. For further information, see Returning residents (GOV.UK) under the heading ‘Granting entry clearance’.

If a person who has been granted such a visa then does not enter the UK within the six months specified on the visa, they will not be eligible to enter the UK as a returning resident. Immigration Rules Part 1, para 24 confirms that non-visa nationals seeking to enter the UK for a purpose for which entry clearance is required (ie remaining indefinitely in the UK) must produce a valid passport endorsed with a UK entry clearance which is still in force.

As such, if the entry clearance as a returning resident has expired, it is no longer in force and the person would not be able to enter the UK using it.

As the person is a Jamaican citizen, their circumstances should be checked to determine whether the Windrush Scheme may apply to any further application they may make for entry clearance as a returning resident, eg a waiver of the application fee. For further information, see: Windrush scheme and information (GOV.UK).