I am a US citizen and have been working in the UK on a Tier 2 visa for a number of years. My contract with my employer has the same end date as my residence permit's "valid until" date. As the expiry date approached my employer offered to extend my contract and sponsor a visa extension. I preferred to look for a more permanent job and ended up finding one back in the US. The new job will start in a few months, but I don't yet have a formal offer or contract with them.
My situation is difficult in that I have to be in the UK to work my last day but then have to be gone by midnight when my leave to remain expires. In particular, I won't have time to arrange movers to take my things back to the US and clear out things I've stored here. I would like to be able to have a little extra time to "wrap up".
My plan is to take a trip to Europe on my last day of work (same as last day of visa) and then return to the UK a few days later and enter as a visitor in order to wrap up everything and move my stuff out.
As far as I can interpret the rules, this is a perfectly allowable purpose for entering as a visitor. My concern is how I give evidence of this to convince the border officer.
I think from the officer's perspective my situation "doesn't look good":
- have lived in the UK for years
- do not yet have a permanent accommodation back in the US
- only have an informal job offer from US and may not get official offer by the time I try to enter the UK as a visitor
Does anyone have advice on what kind of evidence I could provide that I am indeed entering the UK for legitimate purposes (to arrange movers and spend time with friends while I work out other specifics of my permanent relocation back to the US)? I have no intention of staying in the UK to look for work or other way to live here.
UPDATE: Thank you to all who commented and answered. I ended up booking a consultation with an immigration lawyer. I was told that there was virtually nothing to worry about. First, as a US citizen I would use the e-gates and in all likelihood would pass right through and never speak to a human at all. Second, if redirected to a border agent the key/only thing is to show you have a genuine intention to leave the country. The lawyer thought a booked plane ticket back to the US and the email from my future employer would be enough to show that. I therefore accepted JonathanReez's answer as it mirrors that advice.
Unfortunately I never got to actually test the advice. The lawyer also pointed out that I was eligible for ILR so I went that route instead and now (hopefully) don't have to worry about UK visas again.