What will happen if I overstay in the UK?

One cannot help to be surprised by the large number of persons who overstay on their visas in the UK, whilst there are often a number of other viable routes or options available to stay lawfully in the UK. Furthermore, the implications of overstaying on one’s visa could have far-reaching implications. It is simply not worth the risk, not to mention the emotional stress of getting caught, to overstay on a visa.

Extension of your UK Visa

It is very important to keep in mind that you need to apply for an extension of your visa, or indefinite leave to remain before the expiry of your current visa.

If a person overstay on their current 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 visa that would have counted towards example indefinite leave to remain. BIC has had unfortunate cases where persons contacted us, after overstaying on their Ancestral Visa, and where they should have been able to apply for indefinite leave to remain, they had to re-apply for the Ancestral visa and re-start the qualifying period towards indefinite leave to remain.

However, if the person can proof that there were exceptional circumstances which prevented them from applying within the 28 days, it will be taken into consideration.

Exceptional circumstances will inter alia 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. It is however important to note that proof will be required of 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 basically 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 on your visa.

The basic rules regarding overstaying inter alia 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.
  • 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 in the UK, and was removed at the expense of the Secretary of State, and the date that you was 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.
  • If you overstayed in the UK, 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 will face a ban for 10 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.