I lived in the UK for 1 year on a student visa, and then for 3 years on a Tier 2 dependent (spouse) visa. That visa expires shortly and I am not planning to stay in UK, although I will have to go back there for a few weeks.

Can I go back as a tourist? I have an Israeli passport and normally would not require a visa. I read that, in such cases, an immigration officer might not let you in.

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    Is the "will have to come back to the UK" for a purpose that is permitted for a tourist, and that obviously will only take a few weeks? – Patricia Shanahan Sep 11 '17 at 15:23

AIUI it basically comes down to whether you can convince the border officer you are a legitimate visitor and not a resident pretending to be a visitor. Formally everyone has to do that but people who were recently on a longer term visa in the UK are going to be under significantly more scrutiny than usual.

So you should bring as much evidence as possible that you have finished living/working in the UK and are setting up a new life somewhere else.


An excellent answer has been posted to a very similar question by Gayot Fow, who is an experienced immigration lawyer in the UK:

The answer to this question is indeterminate. What you want to do is legal, and there are no required intervals or cooling-off periods between visits. But on the other hand, the IO always has the option of refusing entry and having you removed. Moreover, the outcome of any interaction between a traveller and an Immigration Officer is wholly dependent on personal impact and articulation skills. You didn't give enough information about your personal impact to make a good guess (and we don't want all that information anyway). If you want you can hire an experienced practitioner (like a retired IO) to give you mock interviews.

BUT... BUT... The 'golden' solution for someone in your situation is to apply for entry clearance before travelling. Even though you do not need one, having one means your landing interview is much simpler and much more like a formality. It happens this way because a British consulate will have already checked you out and concluded that you are 'cleared' for entry.

Our laws say that an entry clearance must be respected by an Immigration Officer at a port (Paragraphs 25 and 25A). People who use them (but do not HAVE to have one) do so because it eases the transit of UK immigration controls and avoids wasted airfares and the distress of removal from port. Hence it's the 'golden' solution for anyone who is worried about what will happen in their landing interview.

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