Can I stay in the UK after my visa has expired?

extend visa

When you submit an application to the Home Office before your visa expired, it is treated as continuing. It means that all the condition of your visa will continue while your application is pending to the Home Office waiting for the decision of the Secretary of State.

For example, Joanna’s visa as a student will expire in 25 September. She was allowed 10 hours per week under the old immigration rules. She decided to extend his visa and lodged her application on 24 September. She will still be allowed to work for 10 hours. This is because the Home Office has not made a decision yet when her visa expires on 25 September.

Can I stay in the UK after my visa has expired?

As provided for in Section 3C & 3D of the Immigration Act of 1971 (As Amended), we would like to inform you that the immigration status of our clients remain unchanged until their application is fully considered by the Home Office and appeal rights have been fully exhausted in Court.The Home Office is ask that it is often not possible to decide an application for an extension of leave until after the period of leave has expired.  To prevent applicants from becoming overstayers through no fault of their own, section 118 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 introduced an amended section 3C into the Immigration Act 1971. Section 3C automatically extends the leave of a person who has made an application for further leave to remain during a period of extant leave.  Technically, the leave is “treated as continuing”.

To benefit, a person must have existing leave to enter or remain at the time when their valid application is made. Section 3C then prevents such an applicant becoming an overstayer during the period in which their application for a variation of leave remains undecided and, thereafter, while an appeal against any refusal could be brought or is pending.

To prevent people becoming overstayers while exercising a right of appeal against a decision to curtail or to revoke leave to enter or remain, section 11 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 added a section 3D to the Immigration Act 1971. When leave to enter or remain is curtailed or revoked, section 3D extends it while an appeal could be brought or is pending.

In layman’s term and in our example mentioned above, it would be fine for Joanna to work as if her visa is still valid because of Section 3C. It automatically extends her visa because she applied to extend it before it expired. She will not be treated as an overstayer. And, yes she can stay legally after her visa expired.

Another good thing on submitting an application to extend is that normally the Home Office confer a right of appeal which can take up to 1-2 years. This will potentially extend a visa (because of Section 3C) to up to 24 months.

Overstaying visa is a criminal offence and can lead to prosecution and removal from the United Kingdom.

A word of caution: extend your visa before it expires.

The material contained in this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Readers should not act on the basis of the information without taking professional advice.


About the Author:

Don Magsino MBA is a student of Oxford Brookes University at Post-Graduate Degree in Law in Oxford, England, UK. He is a graduate of Ateneo De Manila University Graduate School of Business. He is a qualified and a practicing Immigration Lawyer in the UK. His mobile phone is 07446888377 / Direct Line: 0207 316 3027 Email is don@stanfordlawassociates.co.uk. His London office is located at Regus, 239 Kensington High Street, London W8 6SN. He is accredited by the Law Society in England and Wales and regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) Level 3: highest level in immigration professionals. He has represented clients in the First-tier Tribunal, Immigration Detention Courts and Deportation and Bail Hearings and to the Upper Tribunal and won many difficult cases in immigration law in the United Kingdom.

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