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Returning to the UK after living abroad

Even if you love living overseas, there might come a time when you decide to move back to the UK. In the time you’ve been away, there might have been changes in the UK you need to prepare for.

Will I be allowed to move back to the UK?

If you’re a British national, you’ll be able to return to the UK to live, but it could take a few months to re-establish your rights to services such as benefits and housing. It’s best that you have a plan to support yourself during this time.

Before you decide to return to the UK permanently, think about these questions:

  • Will you still get the income you receive at present when you return to the UK?
  • How do prices and costs compare between countries?
  • How will exchange rates and inflation affect your pension and income?
  • Can you transfer income and assets to the UK?
  • Will your insurance policies remain valid or will you need new ones? For example, private medical insurance, life insurance

What will happen to my pension if I return to the UK?

The State Pension in the UK is based on National Insurance contributions. If you’ve paid contributions in more than one country, you might get separate pensions from each of them.

Are there any benefits I can claim if I move back?

You might qualify for benefits such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support (also known as Council Tax Reduction) when you return to the UK.

These benefits are means-tested, which means that your income and savings are taken into account when working out whether you qualify for this benefit.

Are you entitled to extra money?

Do you know what benefits you are entitled to? Our Benefits Calculator can help you, quickly and easily, to find out what you could be claiming.

Can I organise a care home before I move back?

To qualify for social care, a local authority must assess your needs for care and support and agree you have eligible needs.

Further, you must show you're 'ordinarily resident' in that local authority area in England. Provided you can demonstrate an intention to stay where you're living for a settled purpose, you can acquire ordinary residence immediately.

However, the local authority only has a duty to assess you for social care once you're there in person.

This means organising care when returning from abroad can take time. If you're planning ahead, it’s a good idea to have back-up arrangements in place.

For example, you could return and live in private care home accommodation temporarily to establish your ordinary residence immediately, and then request a care needs assessment from the local authority covering that area.

Find out more about care needs assessments

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Last updated: Nov 30 2023

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