Home > UK Visitors > UK Immigration Rules: Visas and Overstayers

UK Immigration Rules: Visas and Overstayers

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 23 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Immigration Visa Overstayer Offence

When considering applying for a UK visa, it is really important to consider what you want to do whilst you are here. In particular:

  • How long do you want to stay in the UK?
  • Do you want to work whilst in the UK?

There are several types of visa / leave to enter or remain for which you can apply:

Indefinite leave to remain

This allows successful applicants permission to live and work in the UK permanently. It will essentially allow you to permanently reside, work and build a life in the UK. You will not however have the full rights of a UK citizen (such as the right to vote in local government elections).

As 1: Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Migrant

This route is for extremely talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering and the arts who wish to work in the UK. Individuals are expected to be already recognised as world leaders in their fields, or who have demonstrated exceptional talent and are likely to become future world leaders in their particular field.

Entry will be granted to successful applicants for a period of up to 3 years and 4 months, subject to the following conditions:

  • You will not be entitled to benefits paid by the UK government such as job seekers allowance
  • You may be required to register your accommodation address with the UK police and keep this updated
  • You must not be employed as a doctor or dentist in training, or a professional sports person
Applicants must not fall foul of the general grounds for refusal (discussed below).

As 2: Tier 1 (General) Migrant

This route is for highly skilled migrants who wish to work or become self-employed in the UK. This is particularly targeted at those with particular skills that are desired to aid the UK economy such as writers, composers, artists and lawyers. Generally the applicant must have spent a continuous period of at least 5 years lawfully in the UK prior to application.

Entry will be granted for a period of 2 to 3 years with similar conditions to the above. Applicants must not fall foul of the general grounds for refusal (discussed below). In addition, the applicant must not be in the UK in breach of immigration laws, with the exception that a period of overstaying of up to 28 days will be disregarded.

Visitors visas

If you wish to stay in the UK for a shorter period, visitors visas are available. This will allow you to remain in the UK for a maximum of 6 months (or 12 months for a person accompanying an academic visitor as their child, spouse or partner). You must however meet certain conditions, including but not limited to:
  • You must not take employment in the UK.
  • You must not be coming to the UK with your main purpose being to undertake a course of study
  • You must have enough money to maintain and accommodate yourself, or demonstrate that your friends or family are able and intend to do so
  • You can meet the cost of your outward journey
  • You are age 18 or over
  • You do not intend during your visit to marry or form a civil partnership
  • You do not intend to receive private medical treatment during your visit to the UK

If you wish to visit the UK to marry, form a civil partnership, study, receive private medical treatment or work, you will need a visa which specifically allows you to undertake that activity.

Overstayers

We all know that there can be serious consequences for those entering the UK illegally, including deportation. However there can be equally serious cases for those who enter the UK legally but stay in the UK beyond their period of authorised stay. This group of people are commonly referred to as "overstayers".

It is a criminal offence (under Section 24 Immigration Act 1971) to overstay your period of authorised stay in the UK or fail to comply with the conditions imposed upon your admission into the UK without reasonable excuse. It is also an offence (under Section 25 Immigration Act 1971) to do anything to facilitate another person's illegal entry, transit or stay in the UK. This includes assisting an asylum seeker if done knowingly and for your own gain; there are exceptions for asylum charities.

'I am an overstayer and have been for a couple of years. I have a child, wife and a job in the UK. I'm scared that I'll get found out and get my employer into trouble'.

You are committing a criminal offence by staying in the UK beyond your period of authorised stay. So are your employers if they are aware that you are an overstayer. The offence can be tried within 3 years of commission (which it sounds here is ongoing). The maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment and a fine. It is recommended that you speak to a lawyer if you are concerned that you may be currently committing a criminal offence.

'I have a student visa which expired recently. I am unsure about the extension process but only want to stay another 6 months. I'm thinking it would be easier to just overstay, but will that have an impact on ability to apply for a visa in the future if I want to come back?

As you have seen from the above conditions, a general migrant's application may be denied if they are a previous overstayer. Further this is a general ground for refusal of leave to enter or remain in the UK. If you overstay your authorised period of leave, you may therefore jeopardise your ability to apply for an extension or apply for a further period of stay in the UK in future.

Other general grounds for refusal include:

  • The applicant is currently subject to a deportation order
  • The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced for a period of imprisonment of at least 4 years
  • The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced for a period of 1 to 4 years, unless a period of 10 years have passed since the end of the sentence
  • The applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced for a period of up to 12 months, unless a period of 5 years have passed since the end of the sentence

If you are unsure about immigration applications to the UK and would like further assistance, you can obtain free advice from your local . Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)You can also obtain more detailed immigration advice from an immigration specialist. All immigration advisors must be registered with the Office of Immigration Commissioner (OISC) unless they are an exempt organisation such as CAB. OISC can be contacted on: 0845 000 0046 info@oisc.gov.uk

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[Add a Comment]
Kumar - Your Question:
Can I get visa for my medical treatment I m overstayed in uk last 4 years

Our Response:
Much depends upon what the treatment is for. If it is an emergency the NHS will not turn you away. However, as an illegal immigrant you have no recourse to public funds and therefore you are not eligible for medical treatment on the NHS.
AboutImmigration - 24-Feb-17 @ 11:29 AM
Can I get visa for my medical treatment I m overstayed in uk last 4 years
Kumar - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:43 PM
BOB - Your Question:
Hi,My partner entered the UK in April 2016 on a marriage visa. Following a few complications we were legally married in the UK on 3rd September. Our daughter was then born in the UK on 24th September (how close?).My issue is that although my wife's marriage visa expired on 10th October 2016, she has remained in the UK until the baby was settled and various mother/baby (gestational diabetes) appointments were met.We're now looking to "confess to the immigration" authorities and I'm concerned as to the process.Tried researching the subject on line and found it very confusingAny advice ????

Our Response:
Yes. I'm afraid that if your partner has overstayed her visa expiry by more than 90 days without applying for a new visa, she is likely to be deported back to her home country, please see CAB link here. If she is deported back to her home country, she will face a mandatory ban on re-entering the UK. Therefore, I suggest you seek some specialist immigration advice regarding what is your best course of action.
AboutImmigration - 23-Feb-17 @ 12:39 PM
Hi, My partner entered the UK in April 2016 on a marriage visa. Following a few complications we were legally married in the UK on 3rd September. Our daughter was then born in the UK on 24th September (how close?). My issue is that although my wife's marriage visa expired on 10th October 2016, she has remained in the UK until the baby was settled and various mother/baby (gestational diabetes) appointments were met. We're now looking to "confess to the immigration" authorities and I'm concerned as to the process. Tried researching the subject on line and found it very confusing Any advice ????
BOB - 22-Feb-17 @ 8:04 PM
Hello, I'm a British Citizen and married to an American. We married in December 2015 in the UK while he was here doing his MBA, but when that expired I did not meet the financial requirements for the spouse visa (I was in Law School at the time). He therefore went back to America before his visa expired and has worked there while I finished all my exams. We've managed by visiting each other whenever poss. I am now working and meeting the financial threshold, however I have not been working for six months. Is it me as the British Citizen who needs to meet the financial threshold, or my husband as the applicant? The 6 months employment criteria is the issue: my husband has been working for over a year (albeit in California) so we could apply now if they only look at him, or do we have to wait until I have been at my current job over 6 months? Many thanks for any help!!
nkw - 18-Feb-17 @ 4:18 PM
hi sombody told me.that some new.rules coming in april 2017. like legacy or stay ?
aftab khan - 17-Feb-17 @ 11:51 PM
Sid - Your Question:
Hi. I married a visitor when she was in the UK during her visit visa period. After a while we were so in love we decided to live life in the UK as my work and business are all here. I earn above 24k annually. We made an application for her to stay with me. But it was refused after 9 months including an appeal and court which took a long time. all failed. They said for her to return and apply from Bangladesh. They sent letter for her to say her time is exhausted and she should make plans to leave. She voluntarily departed. After applying 2 times from Bangladesh, and both spouse visa refused because of same reason of overstaying, I don't understand. I am told to apply this way but it gets refused? total costs of £12,000 spent.( Lawyers and accountants and applications) I don't think she can ever come back. I'm scared and in shock. I am already missing my wife for 8 months now. Please help with some advice.

Our Response:
If your wife had overstayed in the UK beyond her visa dates then regardless of whether she departed voluntarily or not, she will be subjected to a mandatory re-entry ban, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 13-Feb-17 @ 2:51 PM
Hi.I married a visitor when she was in the UK during her visit visa period. After a while we were so in love we decided to live life in the UK as my work and business are all here. I earn above 24k annually. We made an application for her to stay with me. But it was refused after 9 months including an appeal and court which took a long time . all failed. They said for her to return and apply from Bangladesh. They sent letter for her to say her time is exhausted and she should make plans to leave. She voluntarily departed.After applying 2 times fromBangladesh, and both spouse visa refused because of same reason of overstaying, I don't understand.I am told to apply this way but it gets refused? total costs of £12,000 spent.( Lawyers and accountants and applications)I don't think she can evercome back.I'm scared and in shock. I am already missing my wife for 8 months now.Please help with some advice.
Sid - 12-Feb-17 @ 5:47 PM
tunz - Your Question:
Pls I overstayed my uk work visa, but now i've a partner that's a british citizen and we have a 3month old baby together, I would like to know, how can I apply for my own britih stay pls?

Our Response:
You can see more via the CAB link here which will further tell you what you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 10-Feb-17 @ 2:07 PM
Pls i overstayed my uk work visa, but now i've a partner that's a british citizen and we have a 3month old baby together, i would like to know, how can i apply for my own britih stay pls?.
tunz - 10-Feb-17 @ 6:29 AM
Hi, i want to know if i can still working after my discretionary leave to remain expired, i sent my application 2 days after my visa expired, i have had that visa for 7 years, i already sent the bio metrics but i need to start working ASAP because my family, Thank you
milo - 7-Feb-17 @ 11:30 AM
I have been overstayed 1.5 years,after my student visa extend refused . As I had many reasonnot to go back. But now I really want to go back to my country . If I pay for my travelling tickets and informed to home office that I'm leaving voluntarily , will there anything happened in airport or will hey banned my passport ? Need advice Regard
SAS - 3-Feb-17 @ 12:17 PM
hiamAlgeriancometotheukinjunuray 2002 apply for asylumbutmyasylum faild andkeeplivingintheuk tillnow in2010 Iapplied underthelegacyprogramme wichevery onegotgranted butIwasoneofftheoneswhodidn'tgetresponsedon'tknowwhy in2012theyaskmeforfurthersubmittion wichIsubmit butstillgotrefused andwasreporting onceamonth tillnowamindetentioncenter in dorsetdon'tknowwhattodoneedhelp mynumber is 07529909228
mojo - 27-Jan-17 @ 2:32 PM
@heman=it doesnt say anything about my visa application bn refused? Plus it came along side with my biometric , and i did further research most people say they also recieve such letter and its got nothing to do with refusal
Okon - 26-Jan-17 @ 3:02 PM
@Okon = it means your application has been refused and means you will continue to be classed as an overstayer, until the Home Office sees fit to deport you or you can apply via another route, I think. Can anyone else give their view? Issac
HeMan - 26-Jan-17 @ 2:06 PM
Hello ... I moved over to England when I was 17years with a visiting visa and I was promise to study as a young boy ... but after I got to England things do not go according to plans ... I have over stayed my visiting visa for 10years plus ... I was married once .. which wasn't successful and now I have engaged partner with 2 and half years old son together ... we put in an application for flr fp .. around late June 2016 ... we received the acknowledgement letter .. we paid the NHS surcharge and the biometrics finger prints ... according to homeoffice .. the set timeline for the very application is 8weeks but now we have to wait for 7months ... is there anything you could advise us to do ...
Jbas - 26-Jan-17 @ 11:38 AM
Hello , I would like to make an enquiry, i made an application based on flr fp partner route, have a british partner and daughter and we meet other requirement , but am an overstayer of 2 years, i recieved a letter stating the following "Your application raises issues relating to the European Convention on Human Rights which are complex in nature. As such, it falls outside our normal service standards for deciding leave to remain applications." What does this mean? Thanks
Okon - 25-Jan-17 @ 2:28 PM
Fears - Your Question:
Hello,I would kindly like to know if I stand a chance in legalising my stay and visa, I am an overstayer (1.5years) , I have been cohabiting with my partner who is british and also have a son who is also british my name is on his birth certificate and he has his passport, my partner meets the 18600 pounds requirement, and she is due to have another baby next week or 2 , please kindly tell me what my chances are and how I should go about it. Thanks your response would be really appreciated.

Our Response:
As a rule the Home Office now deals with overstayers through a 'deport first - appeal later' policy, regardless of family life. it specifies that migrants who have overstayed their leave by more than 28 days and then apply for further leave in the UK will be automatically refused. This rule change sits alongside enforcement work being undertaken by the UK Border Agency to target overstayers and crackdown on students and other migrants staying in the UK longer than permitted. Therefore, regardless of your partner's earnings and your children, you would still not qualify. You would have to seek specialist immigration advice to see if you have any options, but as a general rule I'm afraid you do not
AboutImmigration - 25-Jan-17 @ 12:17 PM
Hello, I would kindly like to know if i stand a chance in legalising my stay and visa, i am an overstayer (1.5years) , i have been cohabiting with my partner who is british and also have a son who is also british my name is on his birth certificate and he has his passport, my partner meets the 18600 pounds requirement, and she is due to have another baby next week or 2 , please kindly tell me what my chances are and how i should go about it. Thanks your response would be really appreciated.
Fears - 24-Jan-17 @ 5:47 PM
Cecil - Your Question:
Hi I would like to know how to settle my status and my chances are, I have overstayed my visa by almost a 11 years, got a british partner and a 3 yr old.son how can I rectify my legal status in the uk?thanks in advance

Our Response:
For cases such as yours, you would have to seek independent immigration advice, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 24-Jan-17 @ 2:12 PM
i came new another 3 years. Along the way, my husband died in 2014.We still have another one year on our visa. I put another application in as my hus was the main applicant. However, the application was refused and my lawyertry to put another application in baking it up with a report from a social worker supporting us to stay in UK. Please can i still have the right to work as i have two boys to look after.
funkii - 23-Jan-17 @ 10:54 PM
Hi I would like to know how to settle my status and my chances are, i have overstayed my visa by almost a 11 years, got a british partner and a 3 yr old.son how can i rectify my legal status in the uk?thanks in advance
Cecil - 23-Jan-17 @ 10:46 PM
Mali - Your Question:
Hi there,i have been overstay 15 month and deport from uk.Shall I come back as dependent?

Our Response:
You cannot apply to come back as a dependent until your mandatory re-entry ban from the UK has expired. Please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 23-Jan-17 @ 2:36 PM
I entered into the uk with a student visa and my school licence was taken from them and i wasn't able to finish my course with them and they didn't return money back and all my aim for coming to the UK is to be a graduate and go back home and get my job since my parent are read and my inheritance i got is what i have used to process coming to the UK to study now i wasn't able to so that got me in a really messed up situation thought it's not a excuse of for UK boader force to solve but i was young and didn't act right or think going back is safe so i stayed back for another 5 years till now cause i couldn't go back to nigeria cause there's no life for me there and no one left for me. my dad family don't want anything to do with me and my mum family cause my father gave me all the inheritance and living in the uk and trying study etc took all with rent, bills and lifestyle.. what can i do please it's killing me right now and am beginning to loose it and dangerous to myself.
fmind - 23-Jan-17 @ 1:04 AM
hi there,i have been overstay 15 month and deport from uk.Shall i come back as dependent?
Mali - 22-Jan-17 @ 7:14 PM
Sonia - Your Question:
HiIf a person comes to the UK as a student visa than he gets married to UK citizen but soon after there divorced.he,s a over stayed Than he,s interested in another woman who's UK citizens and want to marry her.can he apply the spouse visa if he marries her and could he get permanant stay?

Our Response:
If the person overstays more than 28 days past their visa expiry date, then they will be automatically deported. It also means the individual cannot apply for further leave to stay in the UK, regardless of their circumstances.
AboutImmigration - 16-Jan-17 @ 3:10 PM
Hi If a person comes to the UK as a student visa than he gets married to UK citizen but soon after there divorced .he,s a over stayed Than he,s interested in another woman who's UK citizens and want to marry her .can he apply the spouse visa if he marries her and could he get permanant stay?
Sonia - 14-Jan-17 @ 9:48 PM
Hello I am EU national met someone from outside the EU and we want to get married,what kind of documents I have to have to be able to do that and do I have to have full time job contract and so on? Thank you Looking forward to hear from you soon
Gab - 12-Jan-17 @ 8:07 PM
Hi My wife was granted 6 months UK visit visa and we have a British child together. She decided to remain in the UK and her visa expired in Nov 25th 2016. What are her chances ?? Her laywers claim they can as she is going through the process but I think they wana eat her money. Is there anything I can do to sabotage the process as I feel like she is using the child and used me
A85 - 9-Jan-17 @ 5:13 PM
I m overstayed..but I m unmarried partner of eu citizen who is living n working here from last 5 years..I have one daughter...I will be able to get residence card or not
nav - 25-Dec-16 @ 4:25 PM
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