UK Visitor Visa Extension
UK Visitor Visas allow individuals from around the world to come to the UK for a short period of up to 6 months for a wide range of reasons, including business, leisure, study, to receive medical treatment (including donating organs), or visit family/friends. In this article, we will explain how to extend a UK Standard Visitor Visa up to or beyond the initial 6-month period.
Can I extend my visitor visa in the UK?
You can extend your Standard Visitor Visa if you have been in the UK for less than the maximum 6-month period. For example, if your Visitor Visa was granted for 3 months, you will be able to extend this for a further 3 months.
If you have already been in the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa for 6 months or more, it might be possible to extend your stay but only for certain reasons. To stay beyond 6 months on a Visitor Visa, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.
It is essential that anyone in the UK on a Visitor Visa takes action before their visa expires. Staying in the UK past the expiry date of your visa will mean you will be classed as an ‘overstayer’. Overstayers in the UK are required to leave the UK immediately, and there is a much higher chance of being refused future entry or visa permission by the Home Office.
UK visitor visa extension eligibility requirements
It is possible to extend your stay as a Visitor Visa holder if you can prove:
- That you will leave the UK at the end of your visit
- That you have sufficient funds for your extended stay in the UK (including for your dependants)
- Why you need to extend your stay in the UK
The following are additional rules if you wish to stay beyond 6 months on a Visitor Visa:
Extending up to the maximum stay of 6 months
To extend your Visitor Visa up to the maximum stay of 6 months, the following rules apply:
- Your current Visitor Visa must not have expired
- Your current Visitor Visa must have been granted for less than 6 months
- You can only extend your Visitor Visa for a maximum overall stay of 6 months
- You must intend to leave the UK following your treatment or when your visa expires
Extending visitor visa beyond 6 months
You may be able to extend your Visitor Visa for longer than 6 months in very limited circumstances, including if you are:
- a patient receiving medical treatment
- an academic
- a graduate, and you need to retake your Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test, or you are undertaking a clinical attachment
It is important to note that if you know, you will need a longer Visitor Visa, you can apply for a longer stay before you come to the UK, or you can extend while you are here. Applying before you come to the UK is much cheaper, e.g., a Standard Visitor Visa for medical reasons and for an academic is £200, whereas to extend a Visitor Visa is £1,000.
Requirements for a patient receiving medical treatment
For an extended Visitor Visa as a person receiving medical treatment, you will have to prove you:
- have a medical condition, and you require private consultation or treatment from a physician in the UK
- have made the necessary arrangements for consultations or treatment
- have sufficient funds to pay for your treatment
- will leave the UK following your treatment or when your visa expires
- do not pose a risk to public health (e.g., you do not have an infectious disease such as leprosy)
You may also be able to extend your Visitor Visa if you will be donating organs to:
- a family member who you are related to genetically, e.g., sibling or parent
- someone you have a close personal relationship with, e.g., partner or friend
Requirements for an academic
For an extended Visitor Visa as an academic, you will have to prove you:
- are highly qualified in your specialist field of expertise – you will typically need to show you have a Ph.D. or higher
- are currently working in your field of expertise at an overseas academic institution
- are not filling a permanent teaching post
What documents are needed for a visitor visa extension UK?
To extend your Visitor Visa, you may be asked to provide some of the following documents:
- Travel tickets showing when you will leave the UK
- Bank statements showing you can support yourself financially in the UK
- Details of where you will be staying during the remainder of your visit
- A certificate proving that you have had tuberculosis (TB) test
- If extending for medical reasons:
- A letter from your medical practitioner or NHS consultant with details of your medical condition that requires further treatment.
- For those having treatment at an NHS hospital under a reciprocal healthcare arrangement, an authorisation form from your home country confirming they will pay for the treatment.
- If extending as an academic:
- Evidence you are highly qualified, e.g., Ph.D. or higher.
- A letter from your employer confirming you were working in your field of expertise at an academic institution overseas before you came to the UK.
- Evidence you will not be filling a permanent teaching post in the UK.
- If extending to retake the PLAB test
- A letter from the General Medical Council confirming you are retaking the test.
UK visitor visa extension fees
The Visitor Visa extension UK fees are as follows:
Reason to extend Visitor Visa UK
Fee per person
Standard Visitor visa for academics
All other reasons
You can also pay an additional fee of £800 to use the Super Priority processing service for a decision by the end of the next working day.
Other UK visas to consider
In some circumstances, it may be more advantageous to apply for a different type of visa rather than extending your existing Visitor Visa. These options may include the following:
- Family Visa includes partner visa, parent visa, child visa, or relative requiring care visa.
- Global Talent Visa is for leaders or potential leaders in the areas of the arts, science, or digital technology.
- Global Business Mobility scheme is for those who work for an overseas company with interests in the UK. This includes the following:
- Senior or Specialist Worker pathway - for overseas senior managers and employees with specialist skills and experience who want to do temporary work in the UK.
- Graduate Trainee pathway - for overseas workers who want to transfer for a work placement in the UK as part of a graduate training program.
- UK Expansion Worker pathway - replaces the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa and enables workers of overseas businesses to send a senior manager to expand their presence in the UK.
- Secondment Worker Visa - enables overseas employers to send workers to the UK as part of a high-value contract or investment with the UK sponsoring business.
- Service Supplier Visa - allows employers of an overseas service supplier to come to the UK for a temporary work assignment under an international trade commitment.
- Innovator Visa is for those with an innovative idea who wish to establish a new business in the UK.
- Skilled Worker Visa is for those with suitable skills who wish to work for an employer in the UK with a sponsor licence and should apply for a Skilled Worker Visa (this is the most common work visa route in the UK).
How can Reiss Edwards help?
Reiss Edwards specialises in all areas of immigration law, including Visitor Visa application and extension applications. Our immigration lawyers can:
- Advice on any other visa routes available to you and your dependants
- Prepare and submit your Visitor Visa application and extension application on your behalf and of your family members
- Collate, check, and upload all documents required to support your Visitor Visa extension application
- Handle any questions raised by the Home Office
- Handle a refusal of a Visitor Visa extension UK application