Repatriation to the UK: A guide


As much as you may enjoy living abroad, there may come a time when you decide to return to Britain.

However, UK repatriation isn’t as simple as booking a flight, grabbing your passport, and taking to the skies, especially when family members, money, and other assets are involved. moneycorp's guide to returning to the UK after living abroad can help you to prepare for the big move.

Requirements for returning to the UK

As a British national, you can return to the UK to live and work. However, it can take some time to re-establish your rights to benefits, housing, and other services (if applicable). It’s best to familiarise yourself with all the legal requirements British citizens returning to the UK must adhere to when repatriating.

The most important aspects of your repatriation include sorting your finances (such as bank accounts, returning to the UK tax, and pension), navigating the legal and logistical impacts of Brexit, re-establishing your right to access healthcare, and understanding the impact on your benefits and entitlements. You can find out more about specific requirements by reading the government’s guidelines.


How to move your personal belongings back to the UK

The best way to move your personal belongings back to the UK is to contact a reputable shipping company and have them shipped. That said, you will have customs and tax responsibilities when moving your belongings back to the country.

The rules for UK repatriation cover banned and restricted goods, vehicles and boats, animals, food, and plants, goods sent by courier or post, and arriving with cash or goods. Excise duty will be applied if you ship tobacco or alcohol.

If you are a Brit returning to the UK from outside the EU, you may be able to claim tax and duty relief. Your shipping company should be able to provide you with more information on this.


How to sell property overseas

If you own property overseas, you might want to sell it when returning to the UK after living abroad. The best thing to do is to work with a local estate agent with knowledge and experience in selling to local and international buyers.

If the price will be set in the local currency, you will need to take the extra cost of currency conversion into account. This is an important aspect of setting your expectations with regard to exchange rate fluctuations.


Retiring back to the UK

If your UK repatriation is because you want to retire, you will need to keep a few things in mind. As mentioned, it can take some time to re-establish your rights to various services.

You also need to take into account that the UK state pension is based on National Insurance contributions. If you’ve paid contributions in the UK and the country in which you live, you might receive separate pensions.

Depending on your income and savings, you may qualify for housing benefit, pension credit, and/or council tax reduction on your return to the UK.


How to transfer your money back to the UK

Moneycorp can offer you guidance on the market as well as the various tools you can use to transfer your money when you make your UK repatriation. You can learn about exchange rates, how fluctuations can impact you, fees you could incur, and products that offer some protection against exchange rate fluctuations by getting in contact with and speaking to one our team.


Additional costs when repatriating to the UK

The return journey, shipping, and customs are not the only costs to consider when returning to the UK after living abroad. There are several additional costs, such as currency exchange, tax, pension, and healthcare.


Currency exchange

One of the most important considerations in your UK repatriation is working out how much value you will receive when transferring money from overseas. The exchange rate is a key factor here, and that rate can and does fluctuate.

While you cannot control the outcome, you can take plan for different outcomes. Moneycorp offers various products that can help you do this.



Once you are back in the UK, you will be eligible to pay tax just as other UK residents do. You will need to pay tax on your UK income and gains, and you will need to register for self-assessment if you continue to receive an income from overseas. Speak to a financial specialist when you return to ensure you meet all the requirements.



There are several factors to consider if you claim a pension and are making your UK repatriation, one of them being the source of the pension. If you receive an income from overseas, you will need to convert it into Pounds. If you receive a private pension from the UK, there’s less red tape to consider. If you’re eligible for a UK pension, it will be based on National Insurance contributions.



If you need healthcare after returning to the UK after living abroad, you may need to make in-person visits before you can re-establish your right to access that care. Having copies of up-to-date medical records can speed up the process.

You may need proof that you are ordinarily resident in the UK to access social care. Proof can include a rental agreement or a property purchase. Try to arrange for that in advance to speed up and streamline the process.


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