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Topic: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”  (Read 391 times)

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Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« on: January 07, 2022, 03:51:00 AM »
Hey guys. My situation is that I will be retiring quite a few years before my spouse will.

We already live somewhere warm and sunny, I’m a bit of an Anglophile and am obsessed with Premier League football. So I would love to spend a lot of time going to footy matches, escaping the harsh summers here, hanging in the pubs, researching my heritage and exploring the less touristy side of the UK a few months a year until my wife is ready to retire in maybe 6 years. I would like to buy a flat or small cottage in a village with good trains to London as I can afford it, like having my own place, and see it as an investment rather than a travel expense.

I know the UK no longer has a retired persons visa or a property owners visa, but I always thought the general tourist Visa would be fine for what I want—at least until my wife retires. But now that I’m researching it more, I’m finding that the frequency and duration of my travels to the UK might raise a flag that I’m “residing” illegally or whatever given the home ownership.

Can anyone speak to the practical limits of the tourist visa re owning a house in The UK and with maybe 12 weeks stay per year at maybe 3-4 trips per year?

By the time my spouse retires, I can probably go after the investors Visa if needed, but not sure I want that much of my wealth in British stocks/bonds on top of the real estate purchase.

Any and all advice welcome.


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2022, 08:40:57 AM »
If buying your own place doesn't work out, there are advantages to doing short term rentals.  The most obvious will be that you can try out all the different places and villages.  Different regions of the UK are pretty different and you should try them all.   


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2022, 09:44:01 AM »
Can anyone speak to the practical limits of the tourist visa re owning a house in The UK and with maybe 12 weeks stay per year at maybe 3-4 trips per year?

Buildiing and contents insurance might be a problem. My insurance policy states the property cannot be empty for more that 60 days a year.

A visitor cannot live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home but that tends to mean that in any rolling 12 months, you don't spend more time in the UK than oustide the UK. A normal visit is a few weeks here and there.
There have been cases of where there has been a refusal of entry (and visitor visa cancelled) from those who spent 5 months in the UK, leave for 6 months, return for 5 months. Those who claim they are only visiting for say a month but then stay for much longer, can find it a problem to get back into the UK.

Having more than a £500 debt to the NHS, is another thing that will prevent entry to the UK.

As long as you are a genuine visitor, not working while in the UK (including no self employment) and staying for a week or two here and there. it shouldn't cause a problem.
https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 10:31:44 AM by Sirius »


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2022, 11:24:46 AM »
Is your spouse British?


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2022, 11:34:38 AM »
If buying your own place doesn't work out, there are advantages to doing short term rentals.  The most obvious will be that you can try out all the different places and villages.  Different regions of the UK are pretty different and you should try them all.

I will do that at first I’m sure. But the end goal is to own a place that I can share with friends and family, host holidays, etc. I’m interested in a retreat. I have hobbies like cooking and will want to have a nice setup that a typical vacation rental just will not satisfy.
Buildiing and contents insurance might be a problem. My insurance policy states the property cannot be empty for more that 60 days a year.

A visitor cannot live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home but that tends to mean that in any rolling 12 months, you don't spend more time in the UK than oustide the UK. A normal visit is a few weeks here and there.
There have been cases of where there has been a refusal of entry (and visitor visa cancelled) from those who spent 5 months in the UK, leave for 6 months, return for 5 months. Those who claim they are only visiting for say a month but then stay for much longer, can find it a problem to get back into the UK.

Having more than a £500 debt to the NHS, is another thing that will prevent entry to the UK.

As long as you are a genuine visitor, not working while in the UK (including no self employment) and staying for a week or two here and there. it shouldn't cause a problem.
newcomer link: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor [nonactive]

If I own the place with no mortgage, will insurance be an issue? Is there a requirement for certain insurance coverage that will stipulate occupancy?

And I guess I could have a property manager look after it while I’m away.
Is your spouse British?

No, that would be a more straightforward situation.  What’s funny is that recently I’ve been able to trace 13/16 great-great grandparents to England—mostly to the Northamtonshire and Cambridgeshire area, but they all left in the 16/1700s. I’m really interested in spending some time there hunting down some lost relatives and seeing how my spirit “feels” to be in the area.

Thanks all for your comments.

Does anyone have a picture on how the political climate in the UK may change post Brexit?  UK probably going to see population decline due to aged people dying off. Any suggestions they might try to attract some passive income residents that won’t be on government support like digital nomads and foreign pensioners with private health insurance? Maybe real estate investors in low population areas to help some of the dying villages.


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2022, 11:46:13 AM »
If I own the place with no mortgage, will insurance be an issue? Is there a requirement for certain insurance coverage that will stipulate occupancy?

I don’t think it matters whether you have a mortgage or own outright - it’s about whether or not someone is physically living in the property, whether that person is the owner or a renter.

Regular insurance policies require that the property is not left unoccupied for more than 28 days or possibly up to 60 days at a time.

I deploy overseas a lot for between 2 and 6 months at a time, and when I bought my house (with a mortgage), the insurance I initially had stipulated that someone must sleep overnight in the property either 1 night every single week or a certain number of nights every month (I can’t remember the exact terms).

As a result, I had to take out a special insurance policy whereby I was allowed leave the property unoccupied for several months at a time and still remain insured.


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2022, 02:08:16 PM »
So far, post Brexit has led to skyrocketing house prices.  A friend bought a house for £900k 18 months ago and it’s selling for £1.25M now. Not bad for an 18 month investment!

I’ll be honest, as someone who works in finance, I’ve not heard of someone being a homeowner and not having insurance. Renters do it all the time. Owners typically want to protect their investment and also have the liability/legal cover that is part of the umbrella.

Yes, the U.K. will happily allow you to buy a home here. They will take your money ALL DAY LONG with no questions. Doesn’t mean they’ll let you in to sleep in the home without the proper visa in place. 

You mention the investor visa. I say come to the U.K. in a long term Airbnb for 3 months and see how you like it. (And trust me, I’ve stayed in some ultra luxurious places. You won’t have any limits. Indoor pool?  Chefs kitchen? You can have all of that in a rental). If you genuinely want to buy here, invest £2M, get the golden visa and just enjoy life. It’s so much easier to do things the proper way than to try to tow the line. 


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2022, 06:40:25 PM »
So far, post Brexit has led to skyrocketing house prices.  A friend bought a house for £900k 18 months ago and it’s selling for £1.25M now. Not bad for an 18 month investment!

I’ll be honest, as someone who works in finance, I’ve not heard of someone being a homeowner and not having insurance. Renters do it all the time. Owners typically want to protect their investment and also have the liability/legal cover that is part of the umbrella.

Yes, the U.K. will happily allow you to buy a home here. They will take your money ALL DAY LONG with no questions. Doesn’t mean they’ll let you in to sleep in the home without the proper visa in place. 

You mention the investor visa. I say come to the U.K. in a long term Airbnb for 3 months and see how you like it. (And trust me, I’ve stayed in some ultra luxurious places. You won’t have any limits. Indoor pool?  Chefs kitchen? You can have all of that in a rental). If you genuinely want to buy here, invest £2M, get the golden visa and just enjoy life. It’s so much easier to do things the proper way than to try to tow the line.

Thanks.  Yes, I will do short term rentals for a while. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the UK over the years, but of course It will take some time to find the right property to buy.

In the states it’s pretty common for rural, non mortgaged properties not to carry insurance. Owners can have separate coverage for liability and such if wanted. I was just curious is it was compulsory coverage/clauses and how those that might be deployed (maybe military, diplomatic or whatever) deal with such clauses. Not a big deal, just curious.

My question was just for more anecdotal situations that some here may have experienced. I do not intend to “toe the line” but the line seems very unclear when it comes to patterns of travel over multi years and such. I will genuinely be a visitor to watch footy, visit museums, escape the sweltering summers back home and use the property as a hub for travel to mainland Europe.

While investor visa might be possible at that time, it will represent a cost (opportunity) and risk that I don’t really want to incur unnecessarily.



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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2022, 03:11:05 PM »
Does anyone have a picture on how the political climate in the UK may change post Brexit? 

The house prices may drop?
. The UK never had enough homes for the millions of EEA citizens and non-EEA citizens moving to the UK under the EU's Free Movement and could never build as fast as the numbers arriving. The UK government went to the EU to ask to be able to put a limit on the numbers arriving as the UK was very popular, but the EU would not allow that.
. The UK is the land of boom and bust for house prices, but the low interest rates held for years due to the finacial crisis and then the recent incentives and payments due to the pandmic, might have have held the prices high. The historic interest average for interest rates is 8%. Those who haven't cleared their mortages during these low rate times, could find themselves in trouble as interest rates rise and their fixes come to an end. There is no help from welfare benefits for homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages. Even those who rent and who claim welfare benefits, rarely get all their rent paid by the state.

UK probably going to see population decline due to aged people dying off. Any suggestions they might try to attract some passive income residents that won’t be on government support like digital nomads and foreign pensioners with private health insurance?

Thats what the Investor visa is used for. These elderly will not use the NHS for their healthcare. If they have children, will pay for private schools instead of using state schools. These spend their wealth in the UK.

There doesn't seem to be a problem in numbers wanting to come to the UK to work. EEA citizens can still move to the UK, but now they need to have the skills to get a work visa, but they can no longer be self employed and now have to pay a visa, must now pay to use the NHS, can no longer have UK public funds etc. The new skills worker visa has made it very easy for skilled non-EEA citizens to move to the UK.

Maybe real estate investors in low population areas to help some of the dying villages.

The UK has been making it uncomfortable for those landlords who only own a few properties, by briging in new housing and immigration laws and new requirements.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2022, 03:39:47 PM by Sirius »


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Re: Visitor Visa enough for part time “retirement”
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2022, 03:31:31 PM »
Just some advice of the anecdotal variety:
During one of my visits to the UK, I stopped in at a new housing development
and discussed purchasing a unit.  When I mentioned visa requirements for US
citizens, none of the sales staff had any idea that Americans couldn't just move in
to England. They would have happily sold me a house on the spot without any idea
of the hoops through which a non-citizen would have to jump. YMMV
George


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