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UK Immigration Rules: Visas and Overstayers

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 14 Jun 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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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
harmony - Your Question:
Hi,My Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa is running out on 17 July 17, and I want to stay (not working) for another week just to travelling around the country.What's the consequences of a few days overstay?

Our Response:
Your short term student visa will have an end date. You have legal permission to stay in the UK until that date. You must arrange to leave the UK, or make an application to extend your stay, before your visa expires. If you submit an application to extend your stay before your visa expires, then your permission to stay in the UK will extend until you receive a decision about your application, even if your visa expires while you are waiting. If you do not leave the UK or apply to extend your stay before your visa expires, you will be classed as an ‘overstayer’. If you overstay in the UK, it may influence any future application to return.
AboutImmigration - 25-May-17 @ 12:25 PM
ConfusedTorn - Your Question:
I'm just after some advice. Three years ago I met my partner, was unaware he was an overstayer (naiivity?) Very quickly fell pregnant, I already had a child from previous relationship and now we are a strong family unit. Since having the baby my maternity pay stopped, of course, and I didn't return to work. I decided to finish my degree I had started previously. He has his visa application with the home office, we are just waiting. However they sent him a letter to report to police station every 3 months, his DOB was incorrect and solicitor told him not to report?? My question really is how can I be honest, will this affect his application. I am on benefits as a single parent, he doesn't, genuinely, live here all the Time as I don't know the financial and legal implications of this, we love each other but the relationships strained by this visa issue. I want to inform council and job centre he is living here, as he is an overstayer and therefore not entitled to any public money, would this stop my income? I just want to be honest as it's eating away at me wondering if I'm doing wrong or right. I know he's done wrong, and if I'd known at the beginning then I would not have entered a relationship let alone brought another child into it and left myself with a massive headache for years. Please help.

Our Response:
We have no knowledge of the workings of the DWP and how it will re-calculate your benefits if your partner is living with you full-time (bearing in mind you would no longer be classed as a single parent). I can only suggest you speak to an independent immigration adviser please see link here to see if they can help you find a way around your situation.
AboutImmigration - 25-May-17 @ 9:59 AM
I'm just after some advice. Three years ago I met my partner, was unaware he was an overstayer (naiivity?) Very quickly fell pregnant, I already had a child from previous relationship and now we are a strong family unit. Since having the baby my maternity pay stopped, of course, and I didn't return to work. I decided to finish my degree I had started previously. He has his visa application with the home office, we are just waiting. However they sent him a letter to report to police station every 3 months, his DOB was incorrect and solicitor told him not to report?? My question really is how can I be honest, will this affect his application. I am on benefits as a single parent, he doesn't, genuinely,live here all the Time as I don't know the financial and legal implications of this, we love each other but the relationships strained by this visa issue. I want to inform council and job centre he is living here, as he is an overstayer and therefore not entitled to any public money, would this stop my income? I just want to be honest as it's eating away at me wondering if I'm doing wrong or right. I know he's done wrong, and if I'd known at the beginning then I would not have entered a relationship let alone brought another child into it and left myself with a massive headache for years. Please help.
ConfusedTorn - 25-May-17 @ 1:03 AM
Hi, My Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa is running out on 17 July 17, and I want to stay (not working) for another week just to travelling around the country. What's the consequences of a few days overstay?
harmony - 24-May-17 @ 11:48 PM
Nas - Your Question:
My situation is that I was married to my wife in pakistan 2011 on christmas day. She then had a 2 half year spouse visa in uk on 2012 november to 2015 january. Within 3 months she was pregnant, then gave birth to our 1st daughter on 2013 november. It was tough time for 1 year half our daughter had feeding tube through her nose due to lack of oxygen during birth. My wife was depressed in that period of time. But around april 2015 our daughter was gradually getting better mashallah. Then she took life in uk test which she failed 3 times. After that we had family issues, my wife was in lot of stress, feeling ill which was ongoing for certain time. Then end of 2015 she was pregant again for 2nd time but she had diabetes for long time. She was getting in pain also her father was ill which was difficult time for her. On september 2016 she gave birth for a 2nd daughter. Now recently for about 2 months we moved from london to birmingham but noticed about 3 months before this move her visa expired more then 2 half years ago. So she didnt extend her visa since all this happend. What happens now?

Our Response:
Please see CAB link here. Your wife will need to seek independent immigration advice if she wishes to explore her options, please see link here. The Home Office current policy is to 'deport first - appeal later' which is why professional advice is needed.
AboutImmigration - 17-May-17 @ 3:06 PM
@Highlander - if she has breached the terms of the detiention centre and she is found it's more than likely she will face immediate deportation-no questions asked. Kat
KFR - 17-May-17 @ 2:03 PM
divha - Your Question:
I was on a student visa and I did not get my curtailment letter only realised 15 days after my visa expired that my leave had been curtailed because I finished my course early, I went on to stay for a month and half as I was sorting my travel arrangements. what I want to know is if I apply for a new tier 2 Visa will my application be rejected.

Our Response:
We cannot advise on this, as we do not have knowledge of the administrative workings of the Home Office. However, it is not up to the Home Office to remind you of the terms of your visa and/or when your visa or leave expires or is curtailed. You have 14 days from the date your visa or leave expires to apply for a new one - you'll need to have a good reason for not renewing it in time. You may wish to seek some independent immigration advice regarding re-applying, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 17-May-17 @ 11:49 AM
My situation is that i was married to my wife in pakistan 2011 on christmas day. She then had a 2 half year spouse visa in uk on 2012 november to 2015 january. Within 3 months she was pregnant, then gave birth to our 1st daughter on 2013 november. It was tough time for 1 year half our daughter had feeding tube through her nose due to lack of oxygen during birth. My wife was depressed in that period of time. But around april 2015 our daughter was gradually getting better mashallah. Then she took life in uk test which she failed 3 times. After that we had family issues, my wife was in lot of stress, feeling ill which was ongoing for certain time. Then end of 2015 she was pregant again for 2nd time but she had diabetes for long time. She was getting in pain also her father was ill which was difficult time for her. On september 2016 she gave birth for a 2nd daughter. Now recently for about 2 months we moved from london to birmingham but noticed about 3 months before this move her visa expired more then 2 half years ago. So she didnt extend her visa since all this happend. What happens now?
Nas - 17-May-17 @ 8:48 AM
I was on a student visa and I did not get my curtailment letter only realised 15 days after my visa expired that my leave had been curtailed because I finished my course early, I went on to stay for a month and half as I was sorting my travel arrangements. what I want to know is if I apply for a new tier 2 Visa will my application be rejected.
divha - 16-May-17 @ 7:32 PM
Hi, I came to the uk in 2002 on a student visa. In 2007 was refused extension on student visa and I overstayed because I found I was pregnant. In 2009 I made an application fordiscretionary leave based on my British child and in 2011 got 3 yrs discretionary leave and another 3 yrs in 2014. This month I was just granted ilr. My question is, can I apply for British citizenship after one year. Please help me cause I'm so confused about this 10yr ban that has come into effect Thanks.
EW - 15-May-17 @ 8:44 PM
Hi. I was in uk for 7 years..came here on a student visa...reapllied my visa few days b4 finishing..rejected by home office...but i overstayed here for 6 years..then came back home of my own in 2015 feb on a travel document willingly without any force or any removel.. Now i want to apply for work permit as my mate in uk offered me to come nd work on his sponsorship...its been more than 2 years..will b able to get visa or the home office is going to reject my visa???
Wiki - 15-May-17 @ 12:34 PM
I have overstayed. my partner and I lived together for over a year. My first Flr (FP) was refused, but now we are Legally married at Church of England with the approval from the home office via registry. Can I apply for FLR from the UK and what is the right form and the chances of me getting my stay in U.K.
Santo - 15-May-17 @ 11:07 AM
Hi I'm a European who has residence in uk my girlfriend is having a baby the problem is have my girlfriend has been in country 12 years I. Each overstayed 3 year's ago my girlfriend was caught and went to Feltham detention center after 6 months was released and asked to sign on at Croydon everymonth my girlfriend decided not to sign in at Croydon each month she dispeared. Can you tell me what will happy to her also she has false documents I. Each Spanish passports and I'd Thank you
Highlander - 13-May-17 @ 6:52 PM
Colin - Your Question:
My brazilian girlfriend I'ds here on a tourist visa.we want to get married while she is here.is it possible

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here, which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 12-May-17 @ 12:27 PM
Sejal - Your Question:
I had detainrion last January and now I release 8 th February because. I applied for leave to remain in U.K. I already overstayedin this country been 8 years. Now I got partner and I already apply for partner application but they refused it. Now I will back to my country on 2 July so when will I can apply for U.K. Because my partner will come in my country for marriage and I already apply for wedding in U.K. So please let me know if I got marriage certificate and my husbund is British citizen then how long period to come back in U.K.

Our Response:
It is very difficult to gain re-entry to the UK after a forced removal/deportation. The immigration rules include general grounds for refusing to allow anyone to enter, and re-entry bans are applied to certain categories of people who breached immigration law in certain ways in a previous attempt to enter or stay in the UK, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 12-May-17 @ 10:42 AM
My brazilian girlfriend I'ds here on a tourist visa...we want to get married whileshe is here....is it possible
Colin - 11-May-17 @ 8:28 PM
@Kari - did you pay for your travel home or did the Home Office pay for it? If you paid yourself it will be a one year ban and if the Home Office paid it will be a 2-5 year ban. But, they can refuse you on other grounds if they think you might overstay again - they need no excuse!
Edu - 11-May-17 @ 2:45 PM
Zino - Your Question:
Is WAYTE TRAVEl Consultant a recognised company for work and residents permits. What Does a Tier 2 entitle you to can you study or its only for work purpose s

Our Response:
You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK or you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, please see link here. You can study on a Tier 2 visa as long as it doesn’t interfere with the job you’re sponsored for.
AboutImmigration - 11-May-17 @ 2:22 PM
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