British Citizens Returning to Scotland

British citizens who have been living overseas can return to live and work in the United Kingdom at any time – they do not need a visa or any kind of advance permission to do so.


However, where a British Citizen wishes to return to the UK with family members who are non-British/non-Irish, it may be necessary for them to apply for a visa in advance.

Spouses/Civil Partners and Unmarried Partners of British Citizens

Those who are married to British Citizens may be eligible for a Family Visa. To qualify, such individuals will have to evidence that they:

  • Are in a civil partnership or marriage with a British Citizen that’s recognised in the UK; or
  • Have been living together in a relationship with a British Citizen for at least 2 years when they apply; and
  • Meet the Financial Requirements and evidence the relevant income or savings thresholds (which vary depending on your circumstances and the number of dependants traveling to the UK).

For full details on eligibility please see here.

Family Visas for qualifying spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners are usually granted for an initial period of 2 years and 9 months, after which an extension will have to be applied for.

Fiancés or Fiancées of British Citizens can also apply for a visa to enter the UK, but this is usually granted for an initial period of 6 months to facilitate the wedding or civil partnership (after which the spouse will need to switch in the spousal branch of the Family Visa). It is not usually possible for the fiancé or fiancée to work while they are in the UK on this type of visa.

Children of British Citizens

Children of British Citizens born overseas are in some cases, automatically British Citizens. This means that they would not require a visa to return to the UK, but they may need to register as a British Citizen before travelling. Further details can be found here.

Children who are not British Citizens but will be travelling to the UK with a British parent may be eligible for a Family Visa. This visa route is only for children under the age of 18, or who are not living an 'independent life' and the Financial Requirement must be met.

Further details and eligibility can be found here.