Overstaying your visa in the UK can have severe consequences on your future immigration prospects. Therefore, it is crucial to apply for an extension before your current visa expires.
Overstaying is a criminal offence that violates UK immigration laws and can lead to imprisonment for up to four years. Overstayers may be deported from the UK and may face a ban from re-entering the UK for a period ranging from 12 months to 10 years, depending on the circumstances of the case. If the overstayer was removed by authorities or found to have deceived the Home Office, the ban may be longer. Even after an entry ban expires, the Home Office may still refuse an application for failing to comply with previous visa conditions.
Under the Immigration Rules, there are limited circumstances where a period of overstaying can be disregarded. The Home Office may choose to overlook the period of overstaying where there was a valid reason for the delay, such as emergency hospitalisation or close family bereavement, and the application was made within 14 days of the visa expiring. However, forgetting to apply for an extension or work/study commitments are not considered valid reasons for overstaying. Even if the Home Office accepts that there was a valid reason for the delay, you will still be considered an overstayer under the Immigration Rules, but you will be protected from removal while your application is pending.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office had some concessions in place for overstaying due to travel restrictions. Although the period is still regarded as overstaying, the concession generally means that the Home Office will not hold it against you in future immigration applications.
It is crucial to submit your application to the Home Office before your current visa expires to ensure you do not over stay in the UK. Please speak to a team member at Manis Law if you have any additional questions.