If you have already overstayed your visa or are getting close to the point where you may, then you will no doubt be wondering where you stand as far as the law is concerned. In this article we look at the wider issue of overstaying visas in the UK and the likely backlash of doing so. We also investigate your rights and responsibilities in the period after your visa has come to an end and talk about some practical solutions and ways in which you can, at the very least, minimise the damage that will be caused by overstaying your visa in the UK.
The most important thing now is going to be how much you've overstayed your visa by, you have a short window of time which is usually 14 days in which to make an application to extend your visa after it has expired. Of course this is far from Ideal but the British Government does understand that there are some requirements for flexibility and the 14 days it feels are sufficient for an extension application to be made. At this point it may be beneficial to go and make the application in person so that it can be processed quicker than a postal or online application may be.
If you've exceeded the 14 days then you have 30 days to leave the country, you should take this advice and indeed leave the country. If you wish to return to the country at any point in the future then you should return to your country of origin and make an application for a new visa, if you overstay this is only going to make your situation worse if you come to apply again in the future.
The punishment will depend largely upon how much you have overstayed by, if it is very short then file notes will be created but you may not be severely punished. If however you've overstayed by a significant period of time then the punishments are likely to be significantly more severe this is why you should always stick to the rules of your visa - especially if you plan on having the ability to ever return to the UK in the future.
So many people plan to either extend their visa or to come back in the future, if this is the case for you then you need to bear this in mind as any notes made against your record will likely be used as part of any future application for a visa to the UK. The Home Office take people's immigration history very seriously when deciding their future and you should bear this in mind whenever you do anything that may contravene your visa. The Home Office have made significant strides in record keeping and your past will almost certainly catch up to you if you have overstayed in the past.
Your rights will I depend upon who is with you in the country. If you are with your family then you may have some option to remain in the country but is very important that you speak to us and also the Home Office at the earliest possible opportunity. Waiting after you've overstayed is not going to help the situation whatsoever, it is often far easier to help people whose visas are close to ending as opposed the ones who already have - please always bear this in mind it's very very very important.
You will still have some basic rights such as being able to take your children to school until they are the age of 16 and being able to use the emergency services but your options will be reasonably limited as you no longer retain the right to live in the country and you will most likely have to constantly look over your shoulder. This is obviously far from Ideal and it is best to talk to specialists such as us to try and rectify the situation as soon as you possibly can.
In the situation where you can't for whatever reason extend your visa then you will generally have the option to switch to another. The usual example of switching visa routes would be switching from a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Tier 2 General Visa. The Tier 2 General Visa route allows students to transfer from full-time students into the work place to work for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder, they will need a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from the employer to be able to work, but the process is relatively straightforward and the Tier 2 General Visa offers an excellent opportunity for those who are looking to switch from an alternative visa route or are coming to an end on their current visa.
The Tier 2 General Visa is an excellent route to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK and should be considered as the "Go-To" route for those who are looking to switch. This route is so good due to the vast number of Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holding companies in the UK and the relative ease getting a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS).
If you get in touch today with our immigration solicitors then we can help to look at your case. Indeed, if you have already overstayed your visa then you should call us urgently to see if we can do anything to help you - this may not always be possible but please get in touch at the earliest possibility as this will certainly enhance our ability to help you.
So for help and advice with any immigration matter then please get in touch with our immigration specialist today and we will be happy to take a look at your case for you.