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

UK Immigration Rules: Visas and Overstayers

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 17 Aug 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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Hi, My 5 years UK ancestry visa expires on the 10/09/17 and my husband and I have booked our flights to leave the country on 13/09/17 so we can wrap up our lives after we finish work (08/09/17). We both can get a 6 months tourist visa (no work rights of course) so at the time we booked flights we didn't think these 3 days would be a problem, we could be tourists after the 10th... Are these 3 days considered overstay or could we automatically be classified as tourists since we will have stopped working? Should we book a weekend trip so we can leave and re enter the country as tourists to pick up our bags and fly out on the 13/09/17? Your assistance is highly appreciated!! Best wishes
LMA - 17-Aug-17 @ 2:27 PM
Hi, I am from India & am planning a holiday to the UK. The issue is my flight is booked for the 30th of October from London but my Visa expires on 28th. Is there a grace period of sorts for my Visa or should I just change my flight. Also, if my visa expires on 28th october, I can still leave on the 28th october right? Thanks in advance for any help.
R - 17-Aug-17 @ 1:17 PM
Hello, I am a Portuguese national, living in the UK for the pmore than 13 years. My question is regarding my fiancé who is from Holland. She migrated to Holland from Iraq as an asylum seeker at the age of 3, and has lived there ffor the past 19 years. She does not have any passport, and holds only a family residency card which she renews every 5 years. I want for her to come and live with me in the UK. What are her options to be able to enter the UK? Many thanks in advance
Ricardo - 17-Aug-17 @ 7:33 AM
hi i am from india want to marry a guy whos in England ...i want to marry him in England ..ehat is the procedure n visa type to be applied..please suggest me..
Al - 16-Aug-17 @ 8:52 AM
Hi my question is ..i want to marry a guy whos in England can i marry in Engalnd what would be the visa type i should apply for ..will i be able to live wilh my patner in England with out any hassels and for how long and when i he conver my visa to a spouse visa...please clarify..
Al - 16-Aug-17 @ 8:48 AM
Hi, My 5 year work visa expires on 15th August 17 but I need to stay in london until the 16th to complete some formalities. So need to stay for one day extra. I need to know if there will be an issue of overstay or a remark incase I ever apply for a visa to enter the UK? What will the implications be? Prompt reply would be appreciated.,
Lavnik - 14-Aug-17 @ 2:36 PM
Can you clarify please:-multi entry type c 180 day visa.Know its 6 months from date of entry but,..do they also check at uk immigration how many days in the last 12 months you've spent in the uk already to work out when the 6 month maximum date will be?getting conflicting answers from immigration....
Confused lady - 11-Aug-17 @ 4:46 PM
Hi, I have been working in UK since June 2015, and have been made redundant from the company due to economic crisis ( oil and gas). I was told by the employer that I will get a curtailment letter, the day you receive the letter you will have have two months time to leave the country. I have not got any letter, and stayed in UK until June 2016. After reaching my home country, when going through my email junk box, I identified the curtailment letter, and it stated that I had to leave by Feb 2016. I was expecting to get a letter by post, but this was totally different. Now in 2017 Sep, I have got opportunity to come back to UK in work visa tier2. When I read through the curtailment letter there were 3 conditions mentioned in last, First: those who make overstay and leave the country voluntarily will able to come back or apply for visa after 12 months time. Second : uses the public fund to return to home country will have 3 year ban Third: deportation, 10 year ban. From my situation I am aligned to the first condition. Is that true. As I have done overstay ( for 6 month), left the country voluntary and now I have been out of UK for more than 12 months. Will the UKVI still reject my visa. Pleas advice.
Babu - 11-Aug-17 @ 1:00 PM
Baby - Your Question:
Sir/madam I am an Indian entered in to this country ( UK ) on a on a tourist visa in the year 2002 I have not claimed any asylum I am still oon overstay is there any possible for me to apply for ILR pls advice mme tks

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here which will tell you whether you are eligible to apply. However, if you have overstayed your visa, you could also face deportation. Therefore, an immigration adviser would be helpful to you, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 10-Aug-17 @ 12:21 PM
Sir/madam I am an Indian entered in to this country ( UK ) on a on a tourist visain the year 2002 I have not claimed any asylum I am still oon overstayis there any possible for me to apply for ILR pls advice mme tks
Baby - 9-Aug-17 @ 12:09 PM
Demmy - Your Question:
Hi am on student visa which expired 2 months ago. I had an accident 12 days before my visa expires. I had fracture in my right hand thumb. I have overstayed for 2months now. My hand is still pain. I don't knowwether to return home. Because my family is going through a lot of financial crisis. My daddy can't work cause he has stroke. I can't afford money for my tickets spent all my savings when I had cast on my right hand and couldn't work. Please can you advise thanks

Our Response:
You can see via the link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 31-Jul-17 @ 12:48 PM
Hi am on student visa which expired 2 months ago. I had an accident 12 days before my visa expires. I had fracture in my right hand thumb. I have overstayed for 2months now. My hand is still pain. I don't knowwether to return home. Because my family is going through a lot of financial crisis. My daddy can't work cause he has stroke. I can't afford money for my tickets spent all my savings when I had cast on my right hand and couldn't work. Please can you advise thanks
Demmy - 29-Jul-17 @ 12:22 AM
Jonu - Your Question:
Hi I was on a dependant visa form 2009 til 5/5/2011.I delivered a child during my stay in the UK,during that time I had medical issue with both my hands.Had stiff hands and I was not in a position to hold a glass of water too.it was so pain full ad I struggled to lift my kid too.I was taking treatment from NHS and have appointment letter too with date's regarding the treatment. And my last appointment was on 22/6/2011We returned India 26/6/2011.We overstayed 1 month and 15 days.Now I have applied to study in the UK for September 2017 in take for a BA hospitality management course. I will provide my medical paper during the time of visa in the 1st week of August 2017.will it affect my Visa ,please do guide me.

Our Response:
From October 2012, if an individual has overstayed their leave or permission to stay in the UK by more than 28 days, any application for further leave is automatically refused. I cannot say whether this will apply to you personally - but please keep it in mind that this may be an issue.
AboutImmigration - 28-Jul-17 @ 11:32 AM
Hi i am from Pakistan i came to uk in 2014 as student for master which i completed in one year and my visa expired mid of next year until then i am overstaying in the uk for 2 year and above.I want to take the safe side before some thing bad happen with me so i need suggestion what to do in this situation? and does this stay will affect on my application to any other country(canada/australia/US/UAE) as a student or tourist? and if i go voluntarily back to my country how long they gonna ban on me? i am not sure they will get me visa after that ban but just need some suggestion and guidance. waiting for answers Thanks
Khan - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:08 AM
Cheeky - Your Question:
Hi my fiance only got a 2 month visiting visa but no way can we be separated I will be serous ill if he goes back what will happen if he over stays I. Disabled and we want to marry live in the UK forever if he overstay for 2 year and apply for he's percent visa would he get it

Our Response:
Your fiance must keep to the terms of his visa as otherwise he will be committing a criminal offence and be liable for deportation. The current rule is to 'deport first - appeal later' as overstayers are classed as being 'in breach of the immigration laws' and, as such, do not meet the residence requirement for naturalisation in paragraph 1(2)(d) of Schedule 1 to the British Nationality Act 1981 (see Annex C to Chapter 18). If your fiance overstays his visa and you apply for documentation after two years, he will be automatically deported and face a mandatory re-entry ban into the UK. His best option is to either apply to extend his visa or return home and apply for a fresh visa to re-enter the UK. You may wish to seek independent immigration advice.
AboutImmigration - 27-Jul-17 @ 12:47 PM
Hi I was on a dependant visa form 2009 til 5/5/2011. I delivered a child during my stay in the UK,during that time I had medical issue with both my hands.Had stiff hands and I was not in a position to hold a glass of water too.it was so pain full ad I struggled to lift my kid too. I was taking treatment from NHS and have appointment letter too with date's regarding the treatment. And my last appointment was on 22/6/2011 We returned India 26/6/2011. We overstayed 1 month and 15 days. Now I have applied to study in the UK for September 2017 in take for a BA hospitality management course. I will provide my medical paper during the time of visa in the 1st week of August 2017.will it affect my Visa ,please do guide me.
Jonu - 26-Jul-17 @ 9:25 PM
Hi my fiance only got a 2 month visiting visa but no way can we be separated I will be serous ill if he goes back what will happen if he over stays I. Disabled and we want to marry live in the UK forever if heoverstay for 2year and apply for he's percent visa would he get it
Cheeky - 25-Jul-17 @ 9:57 PM
Hi can any one abvice me i have british overseas citizen passport without whrite of aboide in uk what can i do to get indefinite leave to remain i visite uk once in 2016 please any one advise me
Mahmud - 25-Jun-17 @ 5:29 AM
IF someone from Georgia (outside EU) has a permanent Spanish Residency Permit, are they allowed to come and work in the UK indefinately ?
Val - 14-Jun-17 @ 12:25 PM
Hi There a mistake was made in my visa and instead of lasting 12 months, itis good for 11 month and 7 days(??) . I plan to overstay about 25 days. My Certificate of Sponsorship is good for those remaining 25 days.How bad is my situation? i`m I likely to be blacklisted? What I`m I facing here? Cheers
overstaying person - 13-Jun-17 @ 5:22 PM
I have spouse visa and end at 11july and my husband had holland Dutch passport I want to apply idefent and remain the proplem is we job seeker allownse for 6month 2013but is working befit and now I want to know my visa is refused if applying
Miho - 13-Jun-17 @ 1:10 PM
Hi, I have been living in uk for 11 years now as asylum seeker, my asylum seeker has been refused in 2009 , since then am doing my signing at imgration reporting center, evry month , I have no any offence and criminals , I respct all the rules in this cantry , so what I have to do toto stay in uk And remain .
Soran - 12-Jun-17 @ 11:07 PM
Hi , I have been living in London for almost 11 years as asylum seeker, my asylum application has been refused in 2009 , am doing signing in reporting center evry month since I get refuse and I don't have any criminal policeor offence, what I have to do now please help
Soran - 12-Jun-17 @ 10:50 PM
HI, If anyone can help or point me in the right direction. My daughter was given an indefinite leave to remain last June 2010. She only spent 2 months here in the UK, when Idecided to send her back as my previous civil partner back then, didnt get on with her very well and my daughter's always being picked on, by my partner. Now that she's 24 yrs old and just finished university of which i have supported her.I wanted her to come back here, as things are now different.I know that there is a rule thatif she stays out of the UK for more than 2 years she wont be able to come back on that same visa. Is there still a chance for her to apply for settlemement now that shes over 18yrs . I am a British Citizen and she's my only daughter. I will be grateful if you can answer my query. Thank you.
Liza - 10-Jun-17 @ 8:35 PM
Hi i have a question my brother spent six years in UK and his visa was only for 3 years he overstayed there and he came back voluntary to his country. Now i have planned to go UK for my higher studies.Will it affect of my Student visa application or it is normal to apply? Suggestion please
LauraH - 7-Jun-17 @ 10:45 PM
I am on spouse visa and completing my 5 years in March 2018. Can I apply for citizenship straight away or I will have to obtain ILR first and then have to apply for cizenship and British Passport subsequently. Please advise. Regards
Nav - 6-Jun-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hi, I have submitted my further leave to remain visa within 14 days of my visa expiry. My application is under process with Home office. Can I continue to work with my current employer. Your response would be appreciated.
Shruthi - 3-Jun-17 @ 7:35 AM
sayed - Your Question:
I entered in UK in 2000 and stayed legally as a student. I stayed about 9 years. I was refused to extension my visa and then I left. Is there any chance for me to get any facilities for indefinite?Thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 30-May-17 @ 12:32 PM
I entered in UK in 2000 and stayed legally as a student. I stayed about 9 years. I was refused to extension my visa and then I left. Is there any chance for me to get any facilities for indefinite? Thanks
sayed - 29-May-17 @ 8:12 PM
Hello, I have a tier 5 youth mobility visa, which expires soon. I am waiting for my swedish visa application to be processed - it means i will overstay my visa by 2 weeks in the UK. Do you think this will cause me any issues?
jac - 28-May-17 @ 11:47 AM
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