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Information for Returning British citizens

Information for Returning British citizens

Old Jul 10th 2005, 4:19 am
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Default Information for Returning British citizens

Originally posted by 'Mercedes'

Information for British citizens considering settling in the United Kingdom

British citizens are entitled to come and live and work in the UK. They should, however, be aware that British citizens coming to the United Kingdom after a long period overseas, during which they have made no National Insurance contributions and have not maintained their residence status in the United Kingdom, are not automatically entitled to state benefits, a state retirement pension or assistance with higher education fees. To be eligible for any of the above, a British citizen must meet certain residence requirements and/or make the appropriate National Insurance contributions.

If a British citizen wishes to move to the United Kingdom for the first time, they should make prior arrangements for accommodation before arrival and bring sufficient funds to support themselves until they have found employment. British citizens should bring with them evidence of any previous employment, education and of medical history. People from warmer countries will be surprised at the rigour of British winters, and should bring or be prepared to buy warm clothing.
British citizens seeking detailed guidance on their entitlements should speak to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in their nearest town on arrival.

1. Housing

Private sector housing can be bought, leased or rented through Estate Agents in the area in which you wish to live. Public sector housing (social housing) is provided by local housing authorities and by housing associations. Some housing associations accept direct applications but, generally, applications for social housing should be directed to the housing authority in the area where you wish to live. The addresses and telephone numbers of both local Estate Agents and local housing authorities can be found in local telephone directories or on the Internet. However, returning British citizens should be aware that in many areas, and particularly in London and the South East of England, waiting lists for social housing are long, and priority for lettings goes to those who are in greatest housing need and have been waiting the longest. Local housing authorities are required to secure accommodation for certain groups of people who are homeless through no fault of their own and who fall within a priority need group (e.g. families with dependent children and those vulnerable because of old age, disability etc.). However, housing applicants (whether homeless or not) must be habitually resident in the UK (or the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) in order to be eligible. British citizens arriving from overseas may not initially be considered to be habitually resident (see also Destitution below). Local housing authorities in England and Wales must ensure that housing advice is available free of charge to everyone in their district. Independent advice agencies (e.g. Citizens Advice Bureaux and Shelter Housing Advice) also provide housing advice and are available in many areas.

2. Employment

Those who intend to work in the United Kingdom should make arrangements to secure employment before leaving for the UK. Those who cannot do so should visit a Jobcentre Plus office in their local area or a private employment agency as soon as possible after their arrival in the United Kingdom or consider responding to advertisements in the media for jobs appropriate to their qualifications. The address and telephone number of local Jobcentre Plus offices can be found in local telephone directories or via the Department for Work and Pensions website at www.dwp.gov.uk

3. Health

a) National Health Service

Residents of the United Kingdom are entitled to register with a local National Health Service General Practitioner (Doctor), and must do so before they can qualify for any free medical treatment (other than emergency treatment) from the General Practitioner. British citizens from overseas who settle in the United Kingdom are considered "ordinarily resident" for this purpose and can register by contacting a General Practitioner’s surgery in their local area. General Practitioners are listed in local telephone directories. Some General Practitioners may not be able to accept new patients, as their lists may be full.

The Local Primary Care Trust, also listed in local telephone directories, can help find an alternative General Practitioner if necessary. A list of local NHS General Practitioners and further information on the NHS can be obtained by telephone from NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or on the National Health Service website at www.nhs.uk

People who are returning to the UK to take up permanent residence will be automatically entitled to hospital treatment free of charge. If a person is not returning on a permanent basis the cost of hospital treatment can be determined by the hospital in accordance with the relevant regulations. This may be regardless of whether or not a general practitioner has accepted the person as a NHS patient. More information is available on the Department of Health website at www.doh.gov.uk/overseasvisitors.

b) Dentists

British citizens are entitled to register with a local National Health Dentist. Dental treatment is only given free to a limited range of people, such as children under 18, pregnant mothers and those in receipt of certain state benefits. For people who work, standard NHS charges are applicable. For a list of local NHS Dentists and for further information, telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit the National Health Service website at www.nhs.uk

4. Education

State education is free in the United Kingdom for British citizens between the ages of 5 and 18. To qualify for ‘home’ tuition fees for a higher education course, a British citizen must have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for at least three years before the course starts. For further information, and a list of local State Schools, contact your Local Education Authority (the telephone number can be found in the local telephone directory) or visit the Department of Education and Skills website at www.dfes.gov.uk.

For Independent Schools (fee-paying), contact the Register of Educational Establishments on telephone no: 0207 871 9197 (the international dialling code for the UK is 44) .

5. State Benefits and Assistance

The following is a summary of the current rules for state benefits and assistance.

Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance

People arriving in the United Kingdom from abroad may make a claim for Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based), Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. People who claim these benefits within two years of coming to the UK must demonstrate that they are habitually resident in the United Kingdom.

The term "habitual residence" is not defined in UK social security legislation. This means each case is treated on its merits, in the light of the claimant’s individual circumstances. In considering whether a person is habitually resident, decision-makers will consider a wide variety of factors. These include the reasons for coming to the UK; the length of stay; any previous links with the country; the length and general nature of residence in another country; and the claimant’s future intentions once in the UK. A person with no previous links to the UK will need to prove an appreciable period of actual residence, together with a settled intention to establish habitual residence. What constitutes an "appreciable period" will depend on the facts of each individual case.

People who can satisfy the habitual residence test may be able to receive Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance. To be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, people aged between 18 and 60 must be available for and actively seeking work each week. People who are unfit for work because of illness or disability, who are aged 60 or over, who are lone parents, or who are looking after people who are unable to look after themselves may claim Income Support.

Entitlement to any of these benefits also involves satisfying a means test. In other words, the claimant’s income and capital must be below a certain level.

Claim forms for benefits are available at local Jobcentre Plus offices and Social Security Offices. The addresses and telephone numbers of these offices can be found in local telephone directories or on the Department for Work and Pensions website at www.dwp.gov.uk. Note – If you have applied for entry based on your UK Ancestry, you will not be able to claim benefits for yourself or your dependants.

Child Benefits

Child benefit may be claimed by British citizens moving to the United Kingdom with their children. But certain residence and presence conditions must be met, and both the applicant and children must be in the UK before child benefit can be paid. Child benefit is paid for any child up to the age of 16 or to the age of 19 if the child is still in full time non-advanced education (e.g. if they are still at school).

Before claiming child benefit both the applicant and the child or one of the child’s parents must have been in the United Kingdom for more than 26 weeks in the previous 52 weeks. However, child benefit may be claimed earlier if applicants can show that they intend to stay in the UK for more than six months and have begun to pay UK National Insurance contributions through working or becoming self-employed. You can get a child benefit claim pack from the Child Benefit Centre, Washington, PO Box 1 Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE88 1AA (telephone number: 0870 1555540; e-mail address: [email protected]

Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Invalid Care Allowances (from April 2003 Carer’s Allowance)

The conditions of entitlement for these benefits are complex. There is no need to have paid National Insurance contributions, but applicants must be normally resident in Great Britain and, at the time of making a claim, they must have been in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man or Guernsey for at least 26 of the preceding 52 weeks. This rule does not apply if they are terminally ill and expected to live no longer than 26 weeks. Claim forms for disability and carer benefits are available at local Jobcentre Plus and social security offices and from Disability Benefits Centres. Applicants can ask for help to complete forms.

Further information is available on the freephone Benefit Enquiry Line, telephone no: 0800 882200.

War Pension

You may be eligible for a War Disablement Pension if you were injured or disabled through Service in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. If you are a widow (er) you may be entitled to a War Widow (er)’s Pension. Further details on these and possible assistance from the Royal British Legion or Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – Forces Help is available through the Veterans Agency who can be contacted by Telephone on +44 1253 866043, by e-mail at [email protected] or via the Internet at www.veteransagency.mod.uk

6. Destitution

A destitute British citizen arriving at an UK port should immediately seek the assistance of the local authorities. The local authorities are best contacted through the police at the port or, in the case of Heathrow or Gatwick airports, through the ‘Travel Care’ offices. The local authorities will then assess each applicant before deciding what assistance, if any, they can offer. The level of assistance will depend very much on the personal circumstances of the applicant.

7. Citizens Advice Bureaux

Citizens Advice Bureaux are found throughout the United Kingdom. They give free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on a WIDE range of subjects, including state benefits, housing, legal matters and employment. Local branches have been briefed on the difficulties facing those considering relocating from Zimbabwe, and are able to offer appropriate advice. Citizens Advice Bureaux are open to everyone. The address and telephone number of a local Citizens Advice Bureau should be in the local telephone directory. Alternatively details can be obtained from the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, at Myddleton House, 115-123 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LZ (tel: 020 7833 2181, website: www.nacab.org.uk).
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Old Jul 10th 2005, 4:24 am
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

Some further information:

1. Entry Clearances.

Spouses and children who are not British citizens (or citizens of another EEA country or Switzerland) will generally require entry clearance before leaving for the UK.
http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk

You should normally obtain British passports for children who are British citizens by descent. Note that if they have another parent in the country concerned, you must ensure that you have the legal right to take them to the UK. Possession of a British passport does not override this.

If there is a particular problem with obtaining a British passport then it is possible (for a British citizen) to get a Right of Abode stamp placed in a foreign passport.

2. Social Security Agreements.

If a Social Security agreement exists with the country concerned this may allow overseas contributions to be taken into consideration in the UK. This is generally automatic for the EEA states and may exist with other countries.

Check with the social security authorities of the country concerned to see if any benefits or payments can be made to you in the UK.

3. Qualifications Recognition.

Information on recognition of overseas qualifications in the UK can be obtained from a number of sources including:
- NARIC http://www.naric.co.uk
- British universities
- the relevant British professional or trade bodies.

4. Your Status in the Overseas Country.

Before leaving the overseas country concerned, you should ensure that (if possible) you have a right to return there by obtaining the correct returning resident permit/visa. These may be difficult or impossible to obtain once you have departed.

If you are a citizen of the overseas country you will generally retain the right to return there but you should check what continuing obligations (if any) you may have to that country. For example, US citizens may still need to register for US tax and Selective Service when in the UK. You should also check if you are required to apply to retain your overseas citizenship if you intend to spend an extended period of time in the UK.

5. Taxation.

The UK tax year runs from 6 April to the following 5 April. A new resident of the UK is normally entitled to a full personal allowance and lower rate tax bands even if taking up residence partway through the year. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk

6. Drivers licence.

Ensure your overseas drivers licence is not expired as otherwise there may be difficulties in obtaining a British drivers licence.

7. Banking

Obtaining bank accounts and credit cards in the UK can be difficult for new residents. You should consider retaining your overseas bank accounts and credit cards for a while.

8. National Insurance number.

If you are a British citizen (and have a British citizen passport) you do not need a National Insurance number to work in the UK. Despite this, many employers will initially demand one and they should be referred to the following resource:
http://www.workingintheuk.gov.uk/in...stions_you.html

It is recommended to apply for a National Insurance number as soon as possible. If you have previously lived in the UK your old number (if you were issued one at age 16 or later) should still be valid.

Last edited by JAJ; Jul 10th 2005 at 6:05 am.
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Old Jul 10th 2005, 3:20 pm
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

This was great well-documented advice for anyone considering returning to the UK permanently, especially those with families. My circumstances were different in 2003, and changed whilst I was there, and I had to pass a habitual residence test, and although my youngest 14 year old son had no problems entering right into the local comprehensive school in York - though again, this fell under the area, and my first choice was denied which was my old school, but turns out the second school was excellent - the eldest son who had turned 19 whilst in the UK had major problems finding a college programme that would accept him. We are British Nationals who live in Canada, and they wanted to charge him International Student Fees because they said he did not meet the 3-year residence criteria for York College. But interestingly enough, I phoned around, and got on a train to Bradford, and had an interview in the college there, where students from all around the world study - and they were brilliant - helped us considerably and discovered this was not entirely true and circumstances could be treated differently -- they accepted him into a Sixth Form Programme to take his A-Levels, with the following year to apply for uni! Now if one college could do it, why not another? Why should he have to travel on a train to Bradford when we lived in York? I fought for two weeks without giving up to make my point, and I was told all manner of excuses - one being that they had to hold special places for asylum seekers - and that my British nationality and my son's British passports made no difference! I refused to give up, and Bradford college were behind me on this, fully supportive -- I finally got satisfaction from the Head of the college who saw the 'sense in what I was saying', and agreed the rules could not be different in the same programmes....she accepted my 19 yr old into the programme, but felt he should go into a Fast-track programme for 2yrs which was a pre-year for university for 19 yrs olds to adults returning to uni who had been out for a while. He fit right in, and was happy. But the point is, I had to fight for our rights as a British National, and I am not saying that automatically makes us have those rights, just that there do seem to be loopholes and the rules are not all set in stone, and it does seem to depend on the area you are moving back to. So ensure before you step on the plane, ticket in hand, all excited and raring to go --you do your homework thoroughly before leaving. I thought I had cleared all possibilities with the British High Commission here, who assured me there would be no problems whatsoever ---they were wrong! There were many, but they were not insurmountable! The worst part for me is after all of this, my youngest son became terribly homesick six months in, and due to a falling-out with my fiance, we returned to Canada ---I did not want to return myself personally, and neither did my eldest son. It took ages to resettle back into Canada, and the only one who seemed happy was my 14yr old. That was 2yrs ago and much water has passed under the proverbial bridge...I have never stopped feeling I want to go back home, and many things have changed in my life over here, as shortly after hopping on the plane back, I found out I had an aggressive breast cancer and am still fighting it --alone, far from family and friends and support with just my kids...who are now 16 and 21. My eldest is about to graduate and go to uni, and surprise is applying for a programme in London, UK, but it will have to be as an International student, as he does not meet the residency req. of 3 yrs. My 16-yr will just squeak in, and by the time he catches up, will have met his 3yr residency for college/uni...but if I wait until he gradates in Canada in 2008 and he wants to come back to the UK with me, and then head off to uni/college --we will run into the same problems all over again with International student fees due to not meeting the residency 3yr req. I am not taking this chance again...so we are returning to England in 2006 to be nearer my family, I miss them all and they miss us, and getting cancer has taught me so much --- it does not matter where you live --- but you do have to be happy there. My sons are more supportive of my needing to be home and oddly enough, the youngest within the last year has been realising how much fun it was in England...he is bored in Ottawa! The grass seemed greener when he was over there, but when he came back, once the initial excitement of seeing his buddies - who had gone on with their lives quite happily without him -- he became unsettled, misses his grandad, uncles and aunts, cousins and wants to return! Everyone's circumstances are different, but Good luck to anyone trying to make that decision...but if I can tell you anything from my recent experiences in the past two years --it is listen to your heart and follow it, but then once you have made the decision, do not second-guess yourself and bellyflop back and forth --go with the flow -- make every minute count in your new life and enjoy it. Is being with your family and friends and seeing their faces and the silly Yorkshire sheep (which I adore on the wild Yorkshire Moors) more or less important than the paycheque and benefits you get where you are now? Only you can answer that!
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Old Jul 10th 2005, 3:35 pm
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

A quick note to confirm about the BANKING situation....when we returned in 2003, we had a devil of a time establishing bank accounts and trekked from bank to bank in York. We finally were only accepted by the Yorkshire Bank and that only on the confirmed recommendation and long-time standing record of a close relative! This may vary from city to city, but in York, it was difficult to establish and interestingly enough they did not take into account my long-standing good status at the Toronto-Dominion --which has a headquarters down the road in Leeds!! As I said in the previous post, it was not insurmountable, but there were many unforeseen hiccups that were not expected --banking being one of them! Another was getting the National Insurance number for my 19 yr. old who decided to look for a part-time summer job --there were lots of available work for students - so heh, no problem right, and he had previous work experience?!! Again, hold your horses, because we ran into another dead-end wall.....my son rang up the Social Services Office, and asked for an appt. for a social insurance number. He was told to use the digits of his birth year and add them to another number she gave him as his temporary number, and that as a British National, he did not need an actual number anymore, so there was no need for an appointment to apply!! We were told this by more than one person there! He did as he was told, duly wrote the number she gave him and applied for work, and was turned away countless times for not having a valid Insurance number....eventually we got through to someone else there, and they told us another story -- of course he needed an appointment to apply for his valid number, but yes, meanwhile the places he was applying were meant to accept the 'other number'...only The Gap accepted it and him!! One of the reasons I believe for this was his Ethnic face, as he is half-Persian, half-British, but was born in Canada, and is a British passport Holder through me...his dad and I divorced years ago, and I have full custody since he was 4yrs old. That is another thing --- we did run into one or two racial situations with people staring at my children or calling them names, but in the larger cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester and Leeds, they were accepted for who they are --they are unaccustomed to this due to living in Canada...not to say it does not have hidden racism here, because it does, but it was the first time, they felt stared at --particuarly in York. We are moving to London in 2006 to resettle.
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Old Jul 11th 2005, 4:15 am
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

JAJ - Just wanted to thank you for the excellent info. It definitely covered all my bases.

Thanks again
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Old Jul 17th 2005, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

Great info as usual JAJ.

Re:
8. National Insurance number.

If you are a British citizen (and have a British citizen passport) you do not need a National Insurance number to work in the UK. Despite this, many employers will initially demand one and they should be referred to the following resource:
http://www.workingintheuk.gov.uk/in...stions_you.html

It is recommended to apply for a National Insurance number as soon as possible. If you have previously lived in the UK your old number (if you were issued one at age 16 or later) should still be valid.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>

One word of caution for foreign spouses of British Citizens returning to the UK & applying for a National Insurance Number. Despite the British Consulate in NY telling us that obtaining a NI # would be a formality once they issued my wife's "Spouse Settlement Visa". We are still fighting to get her a # 2 1/2 months into being home & ended up asking our local MP for assistance, he went to the local DHSS office & was virtually told to "piss off !". He then took our case to the Minister Of Labour in the House Of Commons who has contacted our local DHSS office in Cheltenham & given them a bollocking for not being trained properly. Thankfully my wife was given an interview this week & given a temporary number, which turns out to be a set of letters & numbers based on her birthdate. IE: TN 22 01 57 F.
The "TN" stands for Temporary Number & The "F" on the end stands for Female, insert "M" for a Male.

Many "online" job applications will not let you proceed without a NI number being entered & my wife witnessed some employers throwing her application in the waste basket because she didn't have that all important NI number, despite the fact that the law states you CAN work while in the process of applying for a NI number.

My American Born son (19) is entitled to a British Passport & residency but I was informed at my wife's interview that even HE would have to go through the same BS if he decided to come & live in England.

American spouses be warned!! There IS a lot of Anti-American Sentiment here in England.

Good Luck To All
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Old Aug 30th 2005, 5:22 am
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

.... I've been living in the USA for the last 25 years and have steadily contributed to Social Security and 401k funds. Does anyone know if I will either move these to the UK on return, or can I draw from these accounts while living in the UK?
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Old Aug 30th 2005, 6:18 am
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

Originally Posted by JAJ
To be eligible for any of the above, a British citizen must meet certain residence requirements and/or make the appropriate National Insurance contributions.
Any info on how we can go about making the appropriate NI contributions while we are here in Australia?
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Old Sep 27th 2005, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

Search the web for the UK pensions department. you can back dat for several years and depending on how many years you have already paid it can be the best investmnet you can make e.g. for an extra 11 years at about 100 GBP per year (just over 1000 GBP) my Uk pension will increas by over 25 GBP per week.

Wityh an average of say 12 years after 65 I'll get back about 12,000 GBP for an outlay of just over 1,000 GBP - jackpot!
Enjoy
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Old Sep 27th 2005, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

Originally Posted by cafa123
Search the web for the UK pensions department. you can back dat for several years and depending on how many years you have already paid it can be the best investmnet you can make e.g. for an extra 11 years at about 100 GBP per year (just over 1000 GBP) my Uk pension will increas by over 25 GBP per week.

Wityh an average of say 12 years after 65 I'll get back about 12,000 GBP for an outlay of just over 1,000 GBP - jackpot!
Enjoy
Colin
You have to do this within 8 years of leaving the UK, otherwise it's too late for you to make voluntary NI payments. You don't have to pay up to 8 years of backpayments in one go, but you have to initially make payments to your NI fund.
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Old Sep 27th 2005, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

I did it within 5 years - advise all to do it or at least check out the numbers
Colin.
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Old Oct 14th 2005, 11:40 pm
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

My daughter (19) and I are moving back from Canada to UK after just over a year. Prior to coming here I worked and paid NI for five years and my daughter for almost a year. Will we be able to get JSA until we can find jobs? Do you foresee any other problems? We don't have much money or a home of our own but will live with a friend until we get back 'on our feet'.

Thanks
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Old Nov 4th 2005, 5:41 am
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Default Re: Information for Returning British citizens

This thread has been closed as it's for reference rather than discussion. Please post questions or discussion points on a new thread.



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