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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.

For more information, contact the International Pension Centre.

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 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.

What extra money are you entitled to?

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, you have to show that you're 'ordinarily resident' in a particular area of the UK. This means you need to demonstrate that you're settled in that area and normally live there.

The local council only has a duty to assess you for social care once you're there in person.

Unless you can show you have the required connection to an area and you meet the local eligibility criteria, the council may conclude that it has no duty to provide long-term care for you.

This means that organising care in the UK from abroad can be complicated. If you're planning ahead, it’s a good idea to have back-up arrangements in place just in case.

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

More about care needs assessments

If you need a care needs assessment, we have information to help you know what to expect and how to prepare.

Find out more

We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 125 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Apr 13 2022

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