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UK Visa Expiry Rules

Last update: 29 September 2022

If your current UK visa is due to expire, you will normally have 30 days to leave the country. You will be classified by the Home Office as an overstayer if you do not leave within the given time period. This may lead to you receiving a re-entry ban and a refusal of visas in the future. For this reason, it is essential to have a plan in place and in good time before your visa comes to an end. This may include applying for an extension, switching to a different type of visa, or leaving the country.

If you are unsure how long you can stay after your visa expires, it is important to check rather than risk staying beyond the permitted time. If you decide to extend your visa or switch to another, you will be able to remain in the UK while waiting for a decision from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). It is also important to bear in mind that the Home Office will not remind you that your visa is due to expire, hence if you do overstay, you cannot rely on the argument that you were not reminded. As such, it is your responsibility to take the appropriate action when your visa is due to expire.

In this article, we will answer some of the common questions we receive around UK visa expiry rules, including whether you can stay in the UK and travel with an expiring visa.

Can I travel if my UK visa is about to expire

We are often asked, “can I travel to the UK if my visa expires in 1 month or less”. You should be able to leave the UK and re-enter the UK while your visa remains valid. But the risk for those who leave the UK, even for a very short period, is that if their visa has expired while they are away, they may be refused re-entry here. For this reason, it is important to check that your visa will remain valid for your trip outside of the UK before you travel.

How long before my UK visa expires can I renew it?

If your UK visa is due to expire, you will be able to apply for a renewal within a number of days before the expiry date. The exact number of days you can apply to renew before your current visa expires will depend on the type of visa you hold, for example:

  • Skilled Worker visa: you can apply to renew no more than three months after being issued a new Certificate of Sponsorship and up to 60 days before your current UK Skilled Worker visa expires.
  • Student visa: you can apply to renew up to 3 months before your current study visa expires (i.e., June if your new course starts in September)
  • Spouse Visa: the earliest spouse visa renewal application can be submitted is 28 days before the expiry date of the current visa. Check our Spouse Visa renewal page for more guidance.

It is important to check whether your visa can be extended, as not all can. For example, the UK start-up visa cannot be extended, but you can apply for an Innovator visa to continue running your new business in the UK. Likewise, if you hold a UK visitor visa, you may be able to extend your stay as long as it does not exceed the maximum period permitted of 6 months (unless in very limited circumstances1).

If you hold a valid visa that can be extended, you can apply to renew from within the UK. If your visa expires while waiting for another one in the UK, you can be assured that as long as you submit your application before your visa expires, you can remain in the UK while awaiting a decision.

You can also consider switching to another visa before your current visa expired. However, not all visas can be switched to another within the UK. Please check our blog switching visas within the UK for more information.

Can I renew my UK visa after it expires?

In some cases, it may be possible to apply to renew your UK visa even if it has expired. The Home Office rules for overstayers explain that overstaying will be disregarded by UKVI when processing an application if the Secretary of State considers there was a good reason outside the control of the applicant. The application must be made no more than 14 days after the visa expiry date, and the reason for the delay must be explained in the application. Some valid reasons accepted by UKVI may include:

  • Admission to hospital for emergency treatment
  • Bereavement of a close family member
  • Delays caused by an educational institution when issuing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards is a leading immigration law firm based in Central London and can efficiently and effectively handle any matter relating to your UK immigration, including:

  • Explaining your immigration options for before your UK visa expires
  • Applying on your behalf for a UK visa extension
  • Switching to another visa in the UK

For assistance with your UK immigration and visas, please speak to our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

References:

1 GOV.UK: Extending your stay

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