Despite the fact that there are many viable routes or options available to stay lawfully in the UK, many people still overstay on their UK Visas. The implication of overstaying can have far-reaching implications. In this regard it important to keep in mind that one has to apply for the extension of the UK Visa, or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), before the expiry of the current UK Visa. It is better to save yourself the emotional stress of getting caught, not to mention the high risk of overstaying on your UK Visa.
Extension of your UK Visa
Clients need to keep in mind that they have to apply for an extension of their UK Visa, or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) before the expiry of their current UK Visa.
If a person overstays on their current UK Visa, for more than 28 days, they would need to leave the UK and make a new application from their home country.
The implication of this would be that a person would also lose the qualifying period spent on the UK Visa that would have counted towards, for example, Indefinite Leave to Remain. BIC has had unfortunate cases where persons contacted us, after overstaying on their UK Ancestral Visa. Where they should have been able to apply for indefinite leave to remain, they had to re-apply for the UK Ancestry Visa and re-start the qualifying period towards Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
Fortunately, if the person can proof that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented them from applying within the 28 days, it will be taken into consideration.
Exceptional circumstances among other things include;
• Serious illness that prevented the applicant from submitting the application in time,
• The loss of documents due to fire or theft,
• Travel or postal delays which meant that the applicant or representative were unable to submit the application on time, etc.
Note that you will have to proof such ‘exceptional circumstances’ and it will depend on the individual circumstances.
Administrative Removal, Deportation and Automatic Bans
Should the UK Home Office become aware of the fact that you have overstayed on your UK visa, they will send you a written notice of Administrative removal. This will require you to leave the UK without any further delay. In cases where you refuse to leave the UK voluntarily, you may be removed via deportation. There are different bans for the different types of removals and length of overstaying your visa.
The Basic Rules regarding Overstaying, among other things, include;
• If you overstayed for less than 90 days and left the UK voluntarily, not at the expense of the Secretary of State, you will be able to apply for a UK visa without any additional delays.
• If you overstayed in the UK for more than 90 days, and left the UK voluntarily, not at the expense of the Secretary of State, you will face a ban for one year.
• If you overstayed and were removed at the expense of the Secretary of State, and the date that you were removed was less than 6 months after the date on which you were given notice of the removal decision (or no more than 6 months after the date of which you no longer had a pending appeal) – You will face a ban for two years.
• Where the above stated two-year ban does not apply, but you have overstayed in the UK for a period exceeding 90 days, and left voluntarily, at the expense of the Secretary of State, you will face a ban for five years.
• If you were removed or deported, you would face a ban for ten years.
Please note that there are always exceptions to the rules, and you will be well advised to seek advice in your unique circumstances. If you are overstaying on your UK visa, don’t delay, contact BIC without further delay.