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How long can I say and how often can I return??

OK...so I'm hoping, in the near future, to head to England for an extended stay. I have no "valid" reason to be there - I love it and want to be there as long as possible. I read on their gov't website that, as a U.S. citizen, I can stay for up to 6 months. What I can't seem to find is information about the rule for the amount of time that has to pass between when I leave and when I can return. Does anyone have or know where I can find this information? I'm sure it's out there......just haven't found the right place yet.
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
4747 posts

Only the Embassy can really tell you. Any answer on this board (including mine) is either anecdotal or speculative.

However, one could assume that if you are spending more than 6 months of the year in the U.K., you've crossed the line from "visitor" to "resident".

From personal experience, I can tell you that when I lived in the U.K. (with a valid work and residence visa), I got questioned every single time that I came through U.K. immigration. Now, I typically only visit the U.K. once a year for short visits and I still think I get more questions than the average visitor.

Posted by
4741 posts

The key phrase is 41.ii:
The requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom as a general visitor are that he:
...
intends to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the period of the visit as stated by him; and does not intend to live for extended periods in the United Kingdom through frequent or successive visits;

A rule of thumb is no more than 6 months in 12, but this is not a fixed regulation; it is down to the officer. Short trips to nearby countries can raise particular suspicion.

Posted by
5669 posts

I know that this gets tricky in both directions. An interesting thing that I learned is that the our managing director who is UK based has to watch how many days he spends in the US. If he spend too many days here, he has to pay the IRS! I know that too it gets tricky with US employee visits to the UK. So, it's not just the tourist visits that have the potential for complications.

Pam