It can be very easy, when you've been in the UK for many years on a visa, to forget when it expires. This is just one of the many reasons why people overstay their visa in the UK. Whatever the reason, visa overstaying is a serious issue and should not be ignored. If you are in this position, this article will help you to understand your rights and responsibilities at the end of your visa period. We will let you know the rules as they stand and offer you practical advice to help make the best of your situation if your visa has expired and you are still in the UK.
Once your visa has ended, you have 30 days to leave the country (unless you are using the 14-day "good reason" option). While there are many, often understandable reasons for overstaying, there is little the UK Visas and Immigration will do to help in this situation. One thing you must do is ensure you try to do something about the situation. As long as you do not overstay past the 30 days allowed, you will be able to apply for a new visa once you have returned to your country of origin. If you leave after this, it is likely to damage your ability to return to the UK at a later date.
It is always best to ensure you stay within the boundaries of your visa, which is especially true if you wish to make the UK your home in the long-term. While it may be tempting to try and remain in the country after your visa has expired, if you wish to stay in the UK in the future, this period of overstaying will certainly count against you.So, do not take the risk!
While there are few good reasons for overstaying your visa, UK Visas and Immigration does offer the option to apply for a new visa up to 14 days after your current visa has expired. To apply for a visa in this 14-day window, you will need to be able to prove you have a good reason for overstaying your current visa. The scope of these reasons is laid out in the visa guidance and encompasses issues such as emergency medical treatment, family bereavement or receiving a late reply from an educational institution.
While there are a few good reasons for overstaying your visa, the vast majority of reasons will not be accepted. Forgetting the date of your visa end or being too busy, for example, are not acceptable reasons. As well as having a good reason, you will also need to prove it. In the event of a medical emergency, you will need to provide a letter of proof. You will also need to provide documentation in the case of a family bereavement. These are some of the few cases where you should be able to sufficiently convince a UK Visas and Immigration official your reason for overstaying your visa is valid.
While you are able to remain in the UK while waiting for a visa decision, you may not continue to enjoy its other benefits. For instance, If you are extending a visa (such as a Tier 2 General Visa) and it expires while you are waiting for a decision, you are not permitted to continue working while awaiting the decision. While this may seem unfair, you would be taking a risk by illegally continuing to work without a visa.
If you choose to continue to work in the UK after your visa has expired, it is not only you who is committing a criminal offence - if you continue to work in the UK while awaiting a new visa, your employer may also be breaking the law. For this reason, it is important you stay on top of your visa and avoid overstaying at all costs.
As long as you have made a new visa application before your current visa expires, you will have 14 days after a refusal to lodge a new application (as long as this is allowed - you will be informed of this in your rejection letter). If you fail to make a new application or are no longer allowed to apply further, you will need to leave the country to avoid becoming a visa overstayer. If you plan on coming back to the UK later, you should avoid overstaying at all costs due to the potential damage it can incur, as your records will show all previous infractions.
If you need more help with overstaying your visa, then please get in touch. Our experienced team of specialists can help ensure you avoid overstaying while also gaining the best chance of staying in the UK for the long-term. Do not wait until it is too late, call today and speak to one of our solicitors about your specific situation.
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