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UK Immigration Rules: Visas and Overstayers

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 20 Jul 2018 | 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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I enter as visitor visa in uk in 2003 I stay uk in 9 year2013 I keep file for live to remain after few year 2009 I vidro my file an come back my country then after 4 year I have waddling in my family an I want to go for wedding can I get visitors visa?
Hema - 20-Jul-18 @ 7:10 AM
Hi my friend and his family came to us in 2013 his wife came in 2012 with her 2 children she has a adopted father who lives in Scotland and two half sisters all British and he joined 2013 because she had her children taken off her by ss for not taking proper care of her children the husband had to come to U.K. to get his children out of care so the process lost his job in St Lucia . His visa ran out and he applied got one now he has been refused even had a appeal in court still appealed but refused what can they do please any help would be much appreciated They also have a five year old daughter who was born here thank you
Tey - 13-Jul-18 @ 12:23 PM
I came to UK on holiday visa ten years ago and never went back to phillipines. Tried to stay when first run out on fiance visa but fiance died before processed. I now have a irish boyfriend (eea) in UK. What are my chances of staying in UK as fiance. I have a fillipino lawyer in London who says he will get me visa to stay.
Pila - 11-Jul-18 @ 1:11 PM
@Poss - If you can afford the day journey to Ire that will keep his Australian passport clean. Make sure he exits the UK on the Australian passport i.e. through check in with it as there is no exit immigration in the UK.
TJ. - 3-Jul-18 @ 4:42 PM
@TJ So is the only option to leave the uk and then re-enter on his uk passport? Any suggestions on the easiest way to do this? E.g day trip to Ireland? France?
Poss - 3-Jul-18 @ 3:11 PM
@Poss - This is why British citizens must ensure that they enter the UK with a British passport. You cannot cancel a visa within the UK. If your son stays longer than 6 months he will be classed as an overstayer on the UK border force database. This means it will be unlikely that he would ever be able to use it again for the purposes of UK and EU immigration.
TJ. - 3-Jul-18 @ 11:45 AM
Hi, I’m a British National and I entered the country with my son on his Australian passport (me on my uk). Im applying for his UK passport now. How do I cancel my sons 6 month visitor visa that’s in place due to entering on his Aus passport so that he can remain on his UK passport?
Poss - 3-Jul-18 @ 3:42 AM
NickD - Your Question:
Hello. I would like to know what happens if I overstayed in the UK 20 days after my 6 permit months as a tourist expired? Thank you

Our Response:
You can see more via the link here , which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 19-Jun-18 @ 3:46 PM
Hello. I would like to know what happens if I overstayed in the UK 20 days after my 6 permit months as a tourist expired? Thank you
NickD - 19-Jun-18 @ 3:01 PM
My daughter is about 2 marry an Indian she has known 4 only 3months I no he has immigration issues but it seems there is nothing I can do, this is happening in 2 days time pls I need help as it's not a true marriage
Raj - 17-Jun-18 @ 8:55 PM
Hi . I came in uk 2010 in sep. in 2015 my visa finish I apply flrfp which was refused I am going regularly for sigh with my husband. Now I have 3 month baby. So please tell any option for me to settle in uk.
Ra - 16-Jun-18 @ 1:13 PM
Hi my hubby is American we have lived together in the UK but our marriage has ended after 18 years. He has the right to leave because he married a uk citizen. Now he has ended our marriage is still able to reside in the UK. we have 3 children all with duel nationals
Suzi q - 11-Jun-18 @ 6:49 PM
Somebody I know is in the UK from a non-EU country (Tunisia) on a three-year visa, and is married to a UK national. In January he is due to apply for indefinite leave to remain, but he has just received a non-custodial criminal sentence (for violence offences). His sentence came with a two-year probation period. Will he automatically be refused indefinite leave to remain on the basis of his criminal conviction? And if so, will refusal lead directly to his deportation? Or will he be eligible to reapply for a different visa, to remain in the UK on a fixed-term basis? I appreciate any advice or legal guidance you can offer.
MW - 9-Jun-18 @ 11:53 AM
N - Your Question:
Hi I overstayed my visit visa for 2 years, I now have a wife and child, what are my options to not have to get deported?

Our Response:
The Home Office policy for all overstayers is automatic deportation, please see the link here. You would have to seek independent immigration advice if you feel you should speak to someone. However, this will cost, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 5-Jun-18 @ 10:12 AM
Hi I overstayed my visit visa for 2 years, I now have a wife and child, what are my options to not have to get deported?
N - 4-Jun-18 @ 12:00 PM
Sadia - Your Question:
Hi, I was an asylum seeker in uk and I overstayed for 3 months coz I was on morphine and soon to b undergo a surgery. I gave birth to a baby girl whilst in uk outside a wedlock me she's got British passport. I left uk by the end of March 2018 now I am married with the baby,s father who has got PR and I am pregnant with his 2nd baby. All I want to know is that when can I apply for a spouse visa. Thanks

Our Response:
In order to apply, you must fulfil all the requirements laid out via the link here.
AboutImmigration - 31-May-18 @ 12:36 PM
Hi, I was an asylum seeker in uk and I overstayed for 3 months coz I was on morphine and soon to b undergo a surgery.I gave birth to a baby girl whilst in uk outside a wedlock me she's got British passport. I left uk by the end of March 2018 now I am married with the baby,s father who has got PR and I am pregnant with his 2nd baby. All I want to know is that when can I apply for a spouse visa. Thanks
Sadia - 29-May-18 @ 5:42 PM
Manu- Your Question:
Hi, I was overstayed in uk. It was before 2010. I left uk sept 2010 voluntary. I gone to india on my own expensive. Now my friend is sponsoring me for visitor visa. But I am scared if I apply I wil get refusal. Can anyone help me can I apply vistor visa or not.? Some people said if you go volunteer only 1 yr ban. But I am sacred. Plz help me. Can I apply for vistor visa or not?

Our Response:
If you breached UK immigration laws and left the UK voluntarily at the expense (directly or indirectly) of the Secretary of State you would be subject to two year or five year re-entry ban. The mandatory five year re-entry ban comes in to force where the date of your departure was later than six months after you were given notice to leave and/or you were no longer eligible to appeal.
AboutImmigration - 24-May-18 @ 12:10 PM
Hi, i was overstayed in uk . It was before 2010. I left uk sept 2010 voluntary.I gone to india on my own expensive.Now my friend is sponsoringme for visitorvisa. But i am scaredif i apply i wil get refusal.Can anyone help me can i apply vistor visa or not.? Some people said if you go volunteeronly 1 yr ban. Buti am sacred.Plz help me. Can i apply for vistor visa or not?
Manu - 23-May-18 @ 4:57 PM
Hi, i cam to UK on student visa in 2012 and i finished my undergraduate degree in 2015 after that i applied fro masters in 2015 at the same time i got ill. I put application on time but i got refused in 2017 so i overstayed there 2.5 years. During the entire time my application was pending with HOME OFFICE and then i left UK voluntarily in 2018. It came to my attention that i have 1 year re-entry ban my query is if i apply in 2019 for student visa what would be the probability of getting entry clearance. Thank you
Rak - 21-May-18 @ 9:09 AM
bee - Your Question:
I am a frequent traveler to uk, but currently I apply for 6 month and it was given, but due to workload in my office , I can't make the trip, what is the consequence of not using the visa if want to renew it

Our Response:
There will be no consequences to you not using the visa.
AboutImmigration - 18-May-18 @ 3:36 PM
I am African, I moved to the UK in 2002 aged 6/7years old with my mother. Never left the Uk, never travelled , studied in the Uk . In 2009 I found out from my ‘mother’ that she isn’t my biological mother she adopted me from back home. Which broke me and led to me being rebellious as a child so on so forth. I’ve never been arrested or in trouble by the police... I was just naughty in terms of not coming home on time, being stubborn, doing my own things, started misbehaving in school. Finding out I was adopted effected Me soo much that even my school at the time were worried as to why a sudden change in my behaviour and character so they referred me to the school counsellor... which I did get along with and eventually I was able to open up to her and let her know things about myself things that I have had to go through that even my adopted mother isn’t aware of. In 2011 I moved out of my mums house because I became pregnant and she didn’t want me under her roof. Thankful by that time they granted my mum and I 3years. So I Was able to get housed, receive public funds, for my child after giving birth.... housed by a housing association.... After the 3years my mum took it upon herself to reapply again and the granted us both 3years discretionary leave to remain... received my biometric card... When the second 3years was coming to an end my mum told me I need to apply for my indefinite leave to remain which for me I had no clue on how to do it... she didn’t assist me, I was left to fill the ILR form in on my own. I had to find a way to get the money for it ...anyway I managed to do it all handed it in, before it expired. Eventually home office sent my documents back , had to do with payment... they weren’t able to take the money . So when I received my documents I was so disheartened, I was broken, worried scared . Oh before my visa expired August 2017 I was working during the time my documents were at the home office I was still working I had showed my employer the proof that my documents were at the home office which allowed me to carry on working. Eventually I resigned as things became to difficult for me I was scared about my papers, I was having issues with childcare... so I resigned December 2017. I have overstayed... I am homeless, I have my 6 year old child, no family to go to, no money, nothing. I am just so depressed , stressed . I have been trying to thing of ways on how to get her money to try and submit an application ... but I don’t know where to start. I am scared , so scared not just for myself but my child. Oh and on top of that I am pregnant again I don’t know what to do with the pregnancy, I want to abort but I’m so scared and I’m hating myself because abortion goes against what I believe in. I don’t want to but I feel like I have to because of everything else going on.Each day that passes I loose the will to even face the day. I don’t know anyone back home. When I left there I was s
Don’tKnowWhatToDo - 18-May-18 @ 2:33 AM
tru - Your Question:
I unintentionally overstayed my visiting visa by two weeks to attend a conference. What are my chances now that I want to renew my visa and visit the UK again?Thank you

Our Response:
You might still be able to apply for a new visa within 14 days of your old one expiring. You'll need to prove you had a very good reason for not renewing your old visa - so it's best to renew in time if you still can, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 17-May-18 @ 1:45 PM
I unintentionally overstayed my visiting visa by two weeks to attend a conference. What are my chances now that I want to renew my visa and visit the UK again? Thank you
tru - 15-May-18 @ 10:31 PM
I am a frequent traveler to uk, but currently I apply for 6 month and it was given, but due to workload in my office , I can't make the trip, what is the consequence of not using the visa if want to renew it
bee - 11-May-18 @ 2:17 AM
My wife is pregnant and we are in the UK on a visitor visa (we got here about 4 days ago). Her visa expires in September and her due date is October. I'd like her to remain in the UK to have the baby and return home afterward. How can we do this and what's the cost implication. Thanks.
Easy - 6-May-18 @ 9:59 AM
I firstly came to UK in 2005 on visit visa and went back for renewal.In 2007 I was able to renew and came back but on my second visit in 2008 I was question at the port which resulted by sending me back to Ngeria via Libya but on getting there I was able to manage my self and I got back to the UK.I was caugth in immihration net thus year april 2018 but was released and now signing at immigration centre.But now I already established a family with 3 kids not British but my first child is now 8 years old.what are my chances of successful application.And will there be a problem making application regarding my mode of entry.plz reply
bio - 6-May-18 @ 4:06 AM
I firstly came to UK in 2005 on visit visa and went back for renewal.In 2007 I was able to renew and came back but on my second visit in 2008 I was question at the port which resulted by sending me back to Ngeria via Libya but on getting to libya I was able to manage my self and I got back to the UK.I was caugth in the immigration net this year april 2018 but was released and now signing at immigration centre.But now I already established a family with 3 kids not British but my first child is now 8 years old.what are my chances of successful application.And will there be a problem making application regarding my mode of entry.plz reply
bio - 6-May-18 @ 4:05 AM
none - Your Question:
Hello ,I have been in UK on a student visa for a few year until 2006 where I started living there as illegal immigrant until August 2011. I came back my country voluntary. Can I apply UK visa now 2018?

Our Response:
Yes, you should be able to apply for a visa, if you are eligible. People who breach UK immigration laws and leave the UK voluntarily at the expense (directly or indirectly) of the Secretary of State are subject to a two year or five year re-entry ban.
AboutImmigration - 4-May-18 @ 11:41 AM
I am a British citizen and have been living with my Tunisian partner for 5 years in France. We recently got married and would I would like him to come to the uk to visit , what does he need ? He has a French residency card and a Tunisian passport. Also if we decided to move to the uk , would we need to apply for visa ?
Mimi - 3-May-18 @ 8:44 PM
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