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imaneggspurt

Returning To The Uk ,need Uk Visa Advice

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The reason I mentioned the possibility of the airline refusing to carry her dates back to an experience we had when checking in with Thai a couple of years ago.

I placed our passports on the counter, and my wife's Thai passport was on top. The check in clerk picked it up and leafed through it, then showed us the ILR stamp saying "Is this still valid? There's been no UK entry stamps for some time." Pointing out my wife's British passport solved the problem.

I agree that it is unlikely that check in staff will all be as clued up as that lady was; but people should be aware of the possibility.

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Out of the UK more than 2 years - your wife needs a new visa of some sort.

Which to get depends on your situation. If you intend to return to reside in the UK, then returning resident would appear the best option, as you effectively revert to having ILR (given indefinite leave to enter).

If you're just going for a visit, and will then leave the country for more than 2 years again - get a visit visa - it's a lot cheaper...

If you've been married long enough, your wife may simply be allowed to apply for ILE on that basis. (Admittedly, I couldn't find the application process for this via VFS' website.)

A new settlement visa application shouldn't be necessary. (Returning resident has the same application cost for the visa, but you'll save a bit now as returning residents don't need the TB tests (although VFS did mistakenly tell my wife she needed hers - the cost got refunded as they'd been mistaken), and you'll avoid having to go through the ILR process once in the UK.

Admittedly my wife was applying for returning resident because of the loss of her old passport with the ILR stamp, and she hadn't been out of the UK for two full years at any point, so you might want to double-check the returning resident restrictions.

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If you intend to return to reside in the UK, then returning resident would appear the best option
As already explained; one of the main criteria for a returning resident is that the applicant has been out of the UK for no more than two years. The OP's wife has been living outside the UK for 3.5. She may still qualify under Para 19 of the rules, but I'm not that confident.
If you've been married long enough, your wife may simply be allowed to apply for ILE on that basis
One doesn't apply for ILE, one applies for settlement. One is then granted a 27 month visa, ILE subject to KOL or ILE, whichever one qualifies for. See link provided earlier.
Returning resident has the same application cost for the visa,
Settlement application; 33488 baht. (Plus the cost of ILR, unless she has passed the LitUK test previously and does qualify for ILE. Returning resident application; 11960 baht. So obviously applying as a returning resident would be a lot cheaper; but if refused she would then have to apply again as a spouse. Up to the OP if he feels it's worth the gamble.

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Don't take the chance. The questioning process at Heathrow can be traumatic at the best of times and is to be avoided at all costs. Get it right so you go through uneventfully!

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