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Next Steps for Visa Curtailment

Visa curtailment occurs if UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) makes the decision to cancel a visa before its stated expiry date. The term ‘cancellation’ was introduced by UKVI on 1st December 2020 within the immigration rules and is widely (but not exclusively) used in place of the term ‘curtailment’. Visa cancellation or curtailment can occur for many reasons, including where:

  • A UK Spouse visa holder separates from their partner
  • A Dependant visa holder loses their right to stay in the UK as a family member of a person with a work or business visa
  • A Skilled Worker visa holder loses their work sponsor, e.g. if a UK employer has had their sponsor licence revoked
  • A visa holder breaches the conditions of their leave in the UK
  • A Student visa holder loses their right to remain due to a lack of engagement or withdraws from their course of study
  • It is discovered that a visa holder provided false information or documents during the application process
  • A visa holder has been convicted of a serious criminal offence or is a persistent offender
  • A migrant’s presence in the UK is deemed “not conducive to the public good” due to concerns regarding their conduct, character, or associations

This list of reasons why a person may have their visa curtailed is by no means exhaustive. If you have been advised of the curtailment of your leave, it is important to seek guidance from an immigration solicitor who can determine the options available to you.

Visa curtailment letter from the Home Office

If UKVI has made a final decision to curtail your visa, they will send you a letter of curtailment. A letter of curtailment explains the reason why UKVI have decided to cancel or shorten your leave and when you must leave the UK. This may be immediate, or you may be given a fixed number of days to leave the UK. In most cases, a person who receives a letter of curtailment will have 60 days to leave the UK. However, UKVI can use discretion to provide more time, such as in the case of bereavement.

If UKVI is considering cancelling your visa, you may receive a ‘minded to curtail’ notification letter. A ‘minded to curtail’ letter provides reasons why curtailment is being considered by UKVI and provides time for the receiver to explain why their leave should not be curtailed.

Depending on the situation, UKVI may be required to cancel your leave automatically, or they may be able to use their discretion to decide whether this is an appropriate course of action. Where UKVI has discretion (i.e. if there is no mandatory need to curtail leave), they must weigh up all of the factors and information available before making a decision.

A visa curtailment letter is normally sent by email and post to ensure it is received. If you have not received a letter of curtailment that has been issued by UKVI (perhaps due to a change of address), it is important to speak to an immigration solicitor who can liaise with the Home Office on your behalf. This is because it may be argued that the period of notice does not apply as you have not received the letter.

If your visa is curtailed, the amount of leave you have remaining will apply from the date of the letter. The actual expiry date of your visa will be provided in your letter of curtailment.

Where a person does not leave the UK or take appropriate action by the deadline provided in their curtailment letter, they may be classed as an overstayer. Overstaying your visa may then lead to a future UK re-entry ban or refusal of a future visa application.

What happens after visa curtailment?

Where a person has been advised that their leave has been curtailed and they have 60 days to leave the country, there may be a number of available options if they wish to remain in the UK, including:

Submitting an ‘error correction request’

It might be possible to submit an error correction request to UKVI if they made a mistake when curtailing your visa. Your error correct request must include:

  • The name, date of birth, and nationality of the recipient
  • The Home Office reference number
  • An explanation of why the decision was incorrect

This must be sent within 14 calendar days.

Even if you do not have grounds to remain in the UK, you may be able to ask for more time if there are exceptional or compassionate circumstances, such as a serious medical condition.

Appeal

In most cases, a person who receives a letter of curtailment will not have a right of appeal. Your curtailment letter will explain if you have a right of appeal and, if so, how to appeal. This is more likely to be the case where the leave relates to leave under the EU Settlement Scheme, S2 Healthcare Visitors, and for Service Providers from Switzerland.

Apply to switch to another visa while in the UK

If you have been given a period of notice to leave the UK, you may be able to apply to switch to a new visa in the UK as long as you meet the relevant visa requirements. For example:

  • If you have received a spouse visa curtailment letter, you may be able to apply as a parent of a child born in the UK, for ILR in your own right, for ILR under domestic violence, or on the basis of your private life in the UK.
  • If you have received a Skilled Worker visa or Tier 2 visa curtailment letter (i.e. tier 2 visa curtailment of leave), you may have the option to reapply for a Skilled Worker visa or an alternative work or business visa.
  • If you have received a UK visa curtailment letter for a Tier 4 or Student visa, you may be able to switch to a family visa – e.g. as a spouse of a UK citizen or a migrant who has settled in the UK. If your student visa curtailment was for reasons outside of your control (e.g. your education provider lost their sponsorship licence), you may be able to apply for another student visa.

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