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Returning to the UK after living abroad

Even though you may love living overseas, you may eventually decide to move back to the UK. In the time you’ve been away there may be 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 UK state pension is based on National Insurance contributions. If you’ve paid contributions in more than one country, you may get separate pensions from the different countries.

Talk to the International Pension Centre for more information

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

You may qualify for financial assistance through benefits such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and/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.

Find out more about what benefits you may be entitled to

Am I able to organise a care home before I move back?

It can be difficult to organise care from abroad. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and have a back-up plan in place.

To receive social care you must be able to show that you are ‘ordinarily resident’ in a particular area in the UK. This means that you must be able to show that you normally reside and are settled in that part of the UK.

A local authority only has a duty to assess you once you are present in person and that they may not have a duty to provide long-term care services following this assessment.

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

Because of the uncertainties of establishing your rights to long-term care, it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

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

What should I do next?

Age NI Advice Service

Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Call freephone 0808 808 7575
Monday - Friday 9am – 5pm 


Last updated: May 05 2020

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