Many clients turn to us and say, “my visa has expired; what can I do about it?” If your UK visa has come to an end or will do so shortly, you should contact a qualified immigration solicitor as soon as possible. Please do not wait around, hoping that this issue will resolve itself or go away on its own, as teh consequences can be serious in the future.
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My visa has expired, but I was not informed that this was going to happen.
Immigration lawyers London get a lot of calls from clients whose visas are about to run out who believe the matter is under control because the Home Office has not contacted them. They assume that if the Home Office has neglected to remind them their visa would expire, they will be given more time to finish their application. That is not the case.
The Home Office does not usually remind visa holders when their permitted time period or “leave to remain” is up. So, whether you are in the UK as a foreign spouse on a spouse visa, an employee on a skilled worker visa on a work visa, an entrepreneur in the UK on a start-up visa, or an individual with an innovator visa, the fact is you will need to stay up to date about your dates and be organised about sorting out your immigration concerns in a timely manner.
My employer did not tell me that my visa was due to expire.
Some people who are subject to UK immigration controls may be able to work in any job(s), whereas Skilled Worker visa holders are limited to a specific job, a sponsored employment opportunity with a licensed sponsor. If you are here in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa, you are required by law to follow the rules of the sponsor license the company you work for has organised for you. Moreover, an employer has no legal duty to inform you that your visa is expiring; this is your responsibility as the visa holder.
If your visa expires, your employer may be unable to continue employing you since you will no longer be permitted to work and verify your eligibility for employment through right-to-work checks. In situations where an employee has only limited leave to remain in the UK, an employer must repeat right to work checks, so if your visa expires without you or your employer knowing, this could be an issue for your future at this company or organisation.
What should I do if I’m unsure when my visa will expire?
This is the easy part. You must check your documents. When you enter the UK on a long term visa, you are given a BRP card, also known as a biometric residence permit. Your BRP card should contain the date your visa expires written clearly on it. As one of the UK’s most respectable teams of immigration lawyers, we advise you to double-check your BRP and expiration date.
If your visa is still valid a few months left on your visa, now is the time to seek legal counsel so you can determine whether you can extend your current visa, change to another one, or apply for indefinite leave to remain if you meet the residency criteria and eligibility requirements.
Is there any sort of Home Office amnesty for expatriates who do not leave the UK after their visas have expired?
If you do not leave the United Kingdom after the expiration of your visa, there is no Home Office amnesty, but you may be able to resolve your immigration status depending on your situation. Mistakes happen, and there are ways of sorting some of them out if you seek the right legal advice at the right time, so do understand that the longer you wait, the less convincing your case may seem, which could mean the less likely it is that you will be able to solve your immigration status problem.
Is it acceptable for me to leave the UK in my own time if the Home Office is not pursuing me because my visa has run out?
Suppose your visa has run out, and the Home Office class you as an overstayer. This will affect both your right to work and your ability to rent in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, if you apply for another visa from the Home Office because of your immigration history and overstay status, your application may be rejected due to these circumstances. It will be more difficult to prove that there were exceptional circumstances if you stay longer on your visa.
Is overstaying your visa a criminal offence?
The simple answer is, Yes, it is. Overstaying your visa is a crime under Section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971, i.e. to overstay your visa for an unreasonable reason. The Home Office’s guidelines define what constitutes “reasonable cause.” if you can not sort it out, you will have a criminal record and may be ineligible for future UK visas if you are convicted.
What happens if my visa has expired? Do I have to depart the UK immediately?
If this is the case, you have 30 days to depart the United Kingdom on a voluntary basis and pay your own transportation expenses to do so. You may face a re-entry ban if you do not leave the UK within 30 days or fix your immigration status by instructing an immigration solicitor.
My visa has expired – Is there a period of time when I can complete an overdue visa application?
If you submit a late visa application after your period of stay has expired, the Home Office will disregard an overstay if the length of your stay was less than 14 days and you have a compelling reason for the delay.
To demonstrate that you had “good cause” for your delayed visa application, the Home Office requires exceptional circumstances and evidence.
You can stay in the UK while your Home Office application is pending after submitting your visa application to the Home Office. If you need fast immigration help to get your petition submitted within the 14-day grace period, then do not delay; speak with our immigration team.
Is it possible to offer a good explanation for my late visa application?
There are several causes for a delayed visa application, and our immigration lawyers at Gulbenkian Andonian will be able to tell you whether yours qualifies as exceptional circumstances. Because you have only 14 days to submit a late visa request, it is critical that you seek expert individual legal advice as soon as possible so your lawyer can build the strongest case possible for you and assist and advise you through your immigration choices.
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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.
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Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.