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

UK Immigration Rules: Visas and Overstayers

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 11 Oct 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

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi there I was wondering if you can help or shed some light on the issue thati have. I’ve been in the uk since June2007 on student visa and I’ve been renewing my visa without any problem. In 2013 my student visa was due to expire and I didn’t renew it as I knew that ho will refuse my application so I didn’t bother to do. At this time I had girlfriend from Poland of which we got married just few months before my visa was expired. I applied for eea family permit 3 months after my student visa was expired of which I was granted. Question Can I apply for indefinite now and if I do what are the chances that I will get it or should I just wait for 5 yrs to end in 2019?
Widzy - 11-Oct-17 @ 1:57 AM
ABDULREHMAN - Your Question:
Hi My name in Abdul rehman. I'm here on visit visa on 6 months, I have only 2 monhts visa leftMy brother is always support me financially when I was in Pakistan and from last 4 months since I'm in UKmy brother has permanent resident in UK and he would like me to stay in UK due to below:i could focus on my studies and got failed in 3 exams in last 3 years I'm under 18 so my brother can take on his guardianshipMy friends and relative are bullying me for being failed in last 3 years in the same classmy parents are old and they cannot look after me please let me knowthanksAbdulrehman

Our Response:
You can only extend your visitor visa if the total time you spend in the UK is less than six months. If you have a six-month visitor visa, you would have to keep to the terms of this and return to your home country and apply for a study visa once you are eligible. I do not recommend you overstay the terms of your visa, as it will be more difficult for you to return to the UK in future.
AboutImmigration - 10-Oct-17 @ 4:08 PM
Hi My name in Abdul rehman. I'm here on visit visa on 6 months, i have only 2 monhts visa left My brother is always support me financially when i was in Pakistan and from last 4 months since i'm in UK my brother has permanent resident in UK and he would like me to stay in UK due to below: i could focus on my studies and got failed in 3 exams in last 3 years i'm under 18 so my brother can take on his guardianship My friends and relative are bullying me for being failed in last 3 years in the same class my parents are old and they cannot look after me please let me know thanks Abdulrehman
ABDULREHMAN - 10-Oct-17 @ 2:59 PM
i came from Ghana to uk with 2 years student visa. the college got revoked and i was asked to aooly for another sponsor with 60days. i applied for another college and ws issued a CAS for my application in the home office, unfortunatly the colleges linscence got revoked before the home office decided on my application. i have overstayed for 2years now and i have a child with a british. can i regularise my stay???
k - 4-Oct-17 @ 10:23 PM
Hi, I am a refugee and I would like to travel with my infant son. What kind of travel document does he need and how can i apply for it? Best regards
Teddy - 4-Oct-17 @ 3:03 PM
Billy nick - Your Question:
I have overtsayed my student visa for 9 days to attend my graduation ceremony, I wouls like to apply for another student visa, will that over stay effect my application.However that Time there was no other way but to overstay.

Our Response:
Please see CAB link here which will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 26-Sep-17 @ 3:35 PM
I have overtsayed mystudent visa for 9 days to attend my graduation ceremony, i wouls like to apply for another student visa, will that over stay effect my application. However that Time there was no other way but to overstay.
Billy nick - 23-Sep-17 @ 10:19 PM
India - Your Question:
Hi I am here now nearly 10 years and my visa expired 8years ago nearly 2 years ago meet with my lovely European fiancee we want to get married and make family in uk so do I able to applying visa without deport from uk?Thanks

Our Response:
If you are undocumented, then you would not be allowed to marry in the UK. You would also still face deportation. Being married will unfortunately not change or help change your undocumented status.
AboutImmigration - 22-Sep-17 @ 3:24 PM
Hi I am here now nearly 10 years and my visa expired 8years ago nearly 2 years ago meet with my lovely European fiancee we want to get married and make family in uk so do I able to applying visa without deport from uk? Thanks
India - 22-Sep-17 @ 3:56 AM
jimmy - Your Question:
I have overstayed my visit for almost 3 years and my partner reported me when I was pregnant.I'm now reporting myself at the home office after my delivery.My next reporting is gonna be in 5 months.I very scared because I don't know if myself and my babies (twins)will be deported.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, this is beyond our remit to advise. You would have to seek professional immigration advice.
AboutImmigration - 18-Sep-17 @ 4:04 PM
I have overstayed my visit for almost3 years and my partnerreportedme when I was pregnant.I'm now reportingmyself at the home officeafter my delivery.My next reportingis gonna be in 5 months.I am very scared because I don't know if myselfand my babies(twins)will be deported.i entered into UK with a businessvisit visa in 2015
jimmy - 17-Sep-17 @ 8:41 AM
I have overstayed my visit for almost3 years and my partnerreportedme when I was pregnant.I'm now reportingmyself at the home officeafter my delivery.My next reportingis gonna be in 5 months.I very scared because I don't know if myselfand my babies(twins)will be deported.
jimmy - 16-Sep-17 @ 6:13 PM
@flash - it depends upon what the UKVI shared with immigration from other countries. Data does get shared - so it depends upon whether you want to risk not telling or not.
GVN55 - 15-Sep-17 @ 3:25 PM
Hi, what are the chances of getting a student visa of countries like Canada and Australia if you have overstayed your student visa in Uk for couple of years. Should i tell them the truth about my past if they ask for it. thanks
flash - 14-Sep-17 @ 1:18 PM
. I entered the United Kingdom on 11 January 2013 to do a full time MSc degree in Nursing from the University of Bedfordshire with a Tier 4 (General) Student visa which was valid until 30 September 2014. 2. I had a BSc degree in Nursing from India and my aim was to obtain a master’s degree from UK. 3. We all students completed semester 1and successfully finished semester 2 as well 4. The university has not given time to do our dissertation. 5. University international office cannot issue new CAS letter due to some problem with UKVI sponsorship. 6. University asked all students to leave UK and come back on new visa. 7. Most of the students did not cooperate with their decision. 8. University cancelled some students’ sponsorships. 9. But university told me to attend PASS class for 4 weeks to avoid 60 days gap (proof included). 10. University told me to pay money 1000 pounds to retake fail units and paid full amount on September 3rd 2014. 11. International office told me they will issue CAS letter on September 15 to 19. 12. But I got a mail on 9th September from university then they cannot issue CAS. 13. But the examination board have given chance to retake. 14. Student union also supported and advised me to put Stage 1 and 2 complaints in university. 15. I went to stage 2 complaint at university against international office decision. 16. The outcome of stage 2 complaint came on 6th October . 17. . But my visa was ending on 30 September 2014. 18. The student union advised me to seek help from a solicitor to stay legally till the outcome of 2 stage complaint. 19. I was totally blank and fed up with their decision. 20. I contact my colleague, to know what she done after University cancelled her student’s sponsorship. 21. She recommended Legend Solicitors, Eastham. 22. On 27th September 2014, I met with Legend Solicitors 23. I explained my situation and my aim about studies, As per their Directions, 24. I find a college to take my admission but I don’t have valid English test to Issue the CAS letter. 25. Solicitor applied for Tier 4 without passport and CAS letter on 27 Sep 2014. 26. I also informed home office that I Am taking passport to write English test. 27. While searching colleges I joined for online course Master course. 28. But the application came as invalid on 21 Oct 2014. 29. I got English test 6.5 score. 30. But college closed issuing CAS letter. 31. Again Solicitor applied for tier 4 with passport without CAS letter. 32. 10 Feb 2015 application rejected. 33. I applied for administrative review on 23rd February. 34. On 25th February it came as same decision. 35. I was planning to leaveUK 36. Again I met with Solicitor to take advice, to leave UK. 37. Solicitor advised me to apply FLR (o) to complete online course. Solicitor told me if you apply, you will get 6 month time to complete. 38. On 5th March 2015 Solicitor advised to apply for FLR (o) to complete my online course. 39. At the end o
Jeeth - 13-Sep-17 @ 4:52 AM
Mtang - Your Question:
Hi I am Thai. I come to Uk in 2002 on student visor and marry my english boyfriend in 2009. Am I now a uk citizen.Mtang

Our Response:
You don't say whether you have ILR or not. Much depends upon what your status is classed as currently. You would not be automatically classed as a British citizen, but you may be allowed to apply. You can check via the gov.uk link here .
AboutImmigration - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:45 PM
Jatin- Your Question:
Hi,I'm jatin Patel and I'm coming from 2009 tier 4 visa the after I'm not regular attend college and bcom I'm overstayer and now all most I'm spend U.K. 8 year and now I want live permanent U.K. And I want to U.K. Nationality so what can I do for !!!

Our Response:
In 2012, the UKVA announced that it will no longer accept applications from overstayers where the period of overstay is over 28 days. As specified in the article, you will be asked to leave the country or deported if you have stayed longer than 90 days beyond the terms of your visa. Therefore, your only alternative would be to seek independent immigration advice, please see link here .
AboutImmigration - 12-Sep-17 @ 10:49 AM
Hi i am Thai. I come to Uk in 2002 on student visor and marry my english boyfriend in 2009. Am i now a uk citizen. Mtang
Mtang - 11-Sep-17 @ 11:03 PM
@Nat - they still have to record the reasons why - as your friend may be restricted from coming back into the UK on a re-entry ban. All has to be drawn up by the HO. Home Office admin procedures can take forever.
Sanj - 11-Sep-17 @ 10:57 AM
Hi,I'm jatin Patel and I'm coming from 2009 tier 4 visa the after I'm not regular attend college and bcom I'm overstayer and now all most I'm spend U.K. 8 year and now I want live permanent U.K. And I want to U.K. Nationality so what can I do for !!!
Jatin - 10-Sep-17 @ 11:48 PM
Someone is in immigration removal centre in uk because they overstayed on visitor visa. Now they are ready to go back to india and they provided their passports too but immigration said their they need time to make travel documents. Why they need travel document if they already gave them their passports. Please reply asap
Nat - 9-Sep-17 @ 1:49 AM
guto - Your Question:
Hi, I have overstayed my visa for a long while in 2007, when I married my partner, I paid for all my expenses to go back and got a removal letter. 4 months later I was granted a spouse visa, which led me to ILR a year later , the 3 years requirement to apply for a citizenship has passed and I am thinking about applying for it. Would I be denied the as I was removed and had this in my past?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot answer this question as it is up to the discretion of the Home Office. However, if you have been granted ILR, then you stand a better chance of being awarded permanent residency. However, you would have to comply with the requirements in the link here . Seeking some professional immigration guidance would also be worthwhile.
AboutImmigration - 22-Aug-17 @ 1:40 PM
Hi, I have overstayed my visa for a long while in 2007, when I married my partner, I paid for all my expenses to go back and got a removal letter. 4 months later I was granted a spouse visa, which led me to ILR a year later , the 3 years requirement to apply for a citizenship has passed and I am thinking about applying for it. Would I be denied the as I was removed and had this in my past?
guto - 21-Aug-17 @ 11:06 PM
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
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • abetiku
    Re: Registering a Child as a UK Citizen or National
    Hi, please I need advice. I came to UK with Tier 2 (3 years visa) and my husband and daughter as…
    18 October 2017
  • rae
    Re: Marrying a UK Resident
    Hi ..am an asylum seeker with a pending case. My boyfriend is a british citizen and we intend to marry, however i wanted to know, if am…
    18 October 2017
  • zippy
    Re: Types of Workers Needed in the UK
    Hi,Am a Kenyan citizen aged 33and l would like to work in the UK as a stewardess or cleaner.kindly advise on where to start…
    18 October 2017
  • Loz
    Re: Marrying a UK Citizen
    Hi! I am from the UK and have lived in Australia for the past 2.5 years. Myself and my Brazilian partner are now travelling to New Zealand…
    18 October 2017
  • Abz127
    Re: Can I Apply for UK Residence?
    My wife has finally received her UK spouse visa. Can you advise when she is likely to receive her BRP decision letter with…
    17 October 2017
  • AboutImmigration
    Re: Giving Birth to a Child in the UK
    ben - Your Question:Hi I'm from Zimbabwe I was working in the Uk (legally) for 5 years on a ancestrieal visa I have a child…
    17 October 2017
  • AboutImmigration
    Re: Appealing a Refusal of Indefinite Leave to Remain in UK
    Mickg - Your Question:My thai wife today, has been advised her application for 2nd half of 5…
    17 October 2017
  • AboutImmigration
    Re: Registering a Child as a UK Citizen or National
    Guy - Your Question:Hello. It is written in the above page:"It may be possible to register a child born…
    17 October 2017
  • AboutImmigration
    Re: Marrying a UK Citizen
    Smizzy - Your Question:I was deported from the U.S. In 2009 and I have a girlfriend that lives in the UK. We plan to get married next year.…
    17 October 2017
  • AboutImmigration
    Re: Deportation from the UK
    KAY - Your Question:Hello guys, my name is Kayode, sentenced to 18weeks in prison in 2015 but before then iI applied for a visa to stay…
    17 October 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AboutImmigration website. Please read our Disclaimer.