Complex Cases & Overstayers

If you have overstayed your UK visa and require advice and assistance, or if you have an otherwise complex case, our overstay visa lawyers can help you determine the right way forward. We are specialists in cases of this nature.

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Are You An Overstayer With A Complex Case?

People with previous permission to stay in the UK who have since seen their visa expire may be unsure of how to proceed.

If your visa for the UK expires while you are still in the country, you will be deemed to be an ‘overstayer’. Overstaying your visa without reasonable cause is a criminal offence under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971.

The Home Office does not usually notify or inform visa holders of visa expiry; it is therefore your responsibility to monitor this and take action accordingly. If you applied to stay in the UK but your existing visa has expired since then, you will be permitted to stay until you receive a decision, as long as the application was valid.

Our award-winning and experienced immigration solicitors have an excellent track record of assisting clients in a wide range of what can often be complicated circumstances. We have a combined experience of 30 years in dealing with these types of cases, and we fight every client’s corner until they receive a positive result from the Home Office.

Book your consultation now with our experienced overstay visa lawyers in central London.

How can you help me get a Visa if I have overstayed?

UK immigration law can be complicated and confusing to navigate, and it is important to be well-informed on your options, especially if you have overstayed your previous visa. The sooner you receive the best possible immigration advice, the quicker you will be able to rectify the situation, while minimising any potentially serious consequences.

Our progressive, dynamic and compassionate immigration lawyers in central London can project manage your complicated case, from the moment you get in touch with us to the resolution of your case. We can provide the advice and guidance tailored to your situation, and will be transparent throughout our relationship with you, answering all your questions. This way, you will be left in no doubt about the status of your case.

We also operate on the basis of a fixed fee, pre-agreed when we first take on your case. This will give you crucial financial certainty, with no need to worry about hidden costs or additional charges. For more information and advice from our solicitors, please call 0208 215 0053.

What Visa options are available to me if I do not have a visa?

Depending on your circumstances and whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK, there are various visa options that you might consider for entering or extending your stay in the UK. These range from visit visas for short stays of less than six months, and family visas, to student visas and work visas. You may look to extend an existing visa you have, or even switch to another visa type – although switching or extending is not possible with every single UK visa.

One popular option for those with complex cases, is applying for a family visa on the basis of their private life. This particular route is only available to those who are already in the UK, and you might look to apply on the strength of the length of time you have already spent in the UK – a type of application known as “long residence”.

This may involve relying on what is often referred to as the “20 years” rule. However, you won’t necessarily need to have spent 20 years living continuously in the UK in order to be successful with your application, depending on your other circumstances.

Please arrange a consultation with our complex case and overstay visa solicitors today, to discuss which visas could be an option for you based on your present situation.

Am I elegible for this Visa if am an overstayer?

As a broad rule, the Home Office does not generally accept immigration applications from those who have overstayed their previous UK visa. If, then, you do not have leave to remain at the time you apply for a visa, your application is likely to be rejected as invalid.

However, there are certain exceptions to this, including asylum and human rights applications. A general provision also exists in the Immigration Rules, whereby the Home Office may accept an overstayer’s application as valid in limited circumstances.

Specifically, as outlined in paragraph 39E, an application by an overstayer can be accepted as valid if the application was made within 14 days of the expiry of the applicant’s leave, and the Secretary of State considers that there was a good reason, beyond the applicant or their representative’s control, why the application could not be made in time. You will need to provide your reasoning for the late application in or with your application as an overstayer.

Alternatively, the Home Office may accept as valid your application for a UK overstayers visa if it was submitted following the refusal of a previous application for leave that was made in time, and within 14 days of:

  • The refusal of the previous application for leave; or
  • The expiry of any leave extended by section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971; or
  • The expiry of the time limit for making an in-time application for administrative review or appeal (where applicable); or
  • Any administrative review or appeal being concluded, withdrawn, abandoned or lapsing

Whichever visa route you choose when applying as an overstayer, you will also need to meet the particular eligibility and other requirements for that visa category. Please book a consultation with our overstay visa lawyers for a more in-depth and tailored discussion of how we may be able to assist your case.

I don't have a Passport, can I still apply or a UK Visa?

You will be expected to provide your current passport or other valid travel ID as part of your application for a UK family visa, in addition to copies of the photo page and any visa or entry stamps in your previous passports.

The other documents you are required to supply with your application will vary depending on your chosen visa route. Our specialists in immigration law can advise and guide you in relation to the requirements for your given visa category.

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What documents do I need to provide to obtain a visa?

The documents that you will need to submit as part of a visa application will depend largely on your chosen visa route. Applicants for the UK family visa, for instance, will be expected to show such evidence as the following to strengthen their case for being granted this visa:

  • All their names
  • Their birthdate
  • Their current passport or other travel ID
  • Copies of the photo page and any visa or entry stamps in their previous passports
  • A copy of their biometric residence permit, if they have one
  • Information about any immigration applications they have previously made
  • Information about any criminal convictions
  • Their national insurance number, if they have one
  • Their parent’s birthdates and nationality, if they are applying from outside the UK
  • Their tuberculosis test results, if they are from a country where it is a requirement to take the test
  • Certified translations of any documents in a language other than English or Welsh

Depending on your circumstances and chosen type of visa, you are likely to need to submit further documents as part of your application. Please contact our complex case and overstay visa lawyers for more specific advice and guidance for your chosen visa category.

Can I apply for permission to work whilst my case is pending?

As an overstayer, you will not be permitted to work in the UK. Crucially, this prohibition will remain in place even if you apply for a overstay visa, and will only be lifted in the event that you are granted leave to remain.

So, as a sponsored worker, even if you have a very good reason for missing your visa expiry date, and you apply as an overstayer within 14 days of that expiry date, you will still be barred from working until, and if, the Home Office approves your application.

If you were to continue working without such leave, you would be committing a criminal offence. Furthermore, if your employer continued to employ you, they could be liable for a civil penalty running into tens of thousands of pounds, or even prosecution.

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Contact our Immigration Solicitors In London on 0208 215 0053 or
via to make your enquiry.

I don’t have any of my old paperwork, what can I do?

It is crucial to have the required documents for your chosen visa route, if you are to make a successful application. Our immigration solicitors can help you in tracing the lost paperwork that you might require in order to apply for a visa, including from the Home Office.

Different procedures apply for different lost documents. If you have lost your passport containing your visa sticker, for example, or if it has been stolen, the action you must take will also vary depending on whether you are in the UK or overseas.

If you are in the UK, for instance, you would need to apply for a new passport at your country’s embassy, consulate or high commission, and arrange to have your visa transferred to a biometric residence permit (BRP) card. If, on the other hand, you are outside the UK, you would need to report the loss or theft of your passport to the police and obtain a police report, in addition to applying for a temporary passport/replacement passport at the nearest embassy for your country.

For advice and guidance tailored to your situation, please contact our immigration lawyers now.

What if my overstayers application is refused?

In the event of the Home Office refusing your application as an overstayer, it may be possible – depending on the rules in place for your particular visa – to request a review of this decision. However, you will only have a 14-day window in which to do so, and you will not be able to extend this deadline for good reason.

If you are unable to secure a new visa, you will be required to leave the UK within 30 days. If you fail to leave voluntarily in this timeframe, you could be banned from re-entering the UK. Such a ban, if imposed, could be from one to 10 years.

All of this helps to explain why it is so crucial for those whose UK overstayer visa application is refused to quickly make an enquiry with professionals in immigration law such as our own. We can advise you on your options for lodging an appeal or seeking an alternative visa. For more information, please call 0208 215 0053.

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Complex Cases Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I apply for a Visa even if I do not have 20 years residency in the UK?

You do not necessarily need to have lived for 20 years in the UK in order to be eligible to apply for a visa to stay. You can apply for a family visa on the basis of your private life as long as you are already in the UK, and you can prove that you are one of the following:

  • Under 18 years of age and you have lived in the UK continuously for a minimum of seven years, and it would be unreasonable to expect you to leave the UK
  • Between 18 and 24 years of age and you have lived continuously in the UK for more than half your life
  • 18 years of age or over, and you have spent less than 20 years in the UK, but would have very significant problems living in the country you would be required to go to –for example, you do not speak the language and would be unable to learn it
  • At least 25 years of age, and you have been in the UK continuously for 20 years

Your family members will also be able to apply on the same application, although the Home Office will consider you separately.

In and of itself, a history of having been previously detained by the UK immigration authorities will not prevent you from applying as an overstayer. However, whether or not you are detained by UK immigration authorities, overstaying may adversely impact your chances of succeeding with a future visa application. The exact impact will depend on why you overstayed, how long you overstayed for, and the type of future immigration application you may make.

Bear in mind that overstaying your visa can put you at risk of immigration detention, subject to certain requirements and exceptions. Furthermore, in the case of some types of visa applications made from outside the UK, if the applicant has overstayed for more than 28 days in the UK, the Home Office will automatically refuse the application for 12 months. However, this is not applicable to all types of UK visa applications.

If you apply for a UK visa and – after consideration – the Home Office refuses your application due to you failing to meet the requirements for that visa route, you will not be entitled to a refund of your application fees.

There are certain circumstances in which the Home Office may refund an immigration application fee. These include if:

  • There is no legal basis to keep the fee, such as if the application cannot be processed due to being void
  • The Home Office is legally obliged to return the fee, such as because the application is fee exempt
  • The application is rejected as invalid (minus an administration charge)
  • The applicant submits a second application that has the effect of modifying their application
  • An incorrect fee has been charged and paid to the Home Office

In some cases, the application fee may also be refunded if the applicant withdraws their application –for example, where the application requires biometric data to be taken in order for the Home Office to process it, and the withdrawal request is made before biometrics have been submitted.

Migrants in the UK who are making an immigration application based on their human rights – but who cannot afford the Home Office application fee –may have the option of applying for a fee waiver. The eligible immigration categories are essentially all those where human rights is the substantive reason behind the application andno minimum income threshold applies.

This means you can apply for a fee waiver if you cannot afford the application fee or the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for leave to remain:

  • As a parent or partner under the 10-year route
  • As a parent under the five-year route
  • As a partner under the five-year route, if your partner isn’t required to meet the minimum income threshold (such as because they’re exempt)
  • On the basis of your Article 8 (family and private life) rights, or any other right under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), provided that the main reason for the application is based on your human rights
  • On a discretionary basis, such as if you are a victim of trafficking, or have been refused asylum or humanitarian protection

There are some immigration applications for which you wouldn’t be entitled to apply for a fee waiver – for instance, if you are applying for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

In order to be successful with your application for a fee waiver, you would need to show that one of the following is true:

  • You cannot afford all or part of the fees
  • You are already destitute (unable to meet accommodation or other essential needs)
  • You are at risk of imminent destitution or would become destitute if you paid the fees in full or in part
  • Your income is not sufficient to meet your child’s particular and essential additional needs

For a more in-depth conversation about how we could help you apply for a fee waiver if you meet the above requirements, please make an enquiry with our overstay visa lawyers.

Being subject to “immigration control” means that at some point in the legal process, you could be at risk of being held in immigration detention. You could be detained if you do not have immigration status, as well as if your immigration status runs out or is taken away. There are even some circumstances in which having a valid visa or immigration status may not prevent you from being detained.

While, if you are at risk of detention, you could technically be detained at any time, there are certain points during the asylum and immigration process when this is particularly likely to happen. These include:

  • On entry to the UK
  • When a visa or leave to remain has expired
  • When the Home Office has refused your immigration application, and you are not entitled to lodge an appeal against this refusal

You are less likely to be detained if you have a pending immigration application. If you are working with our overstay visa lawyers on the preparation of an application, we may be able to supply a letter stating this. You would then be able to take this letter to your Home Office reporting events.

If you travel outside the Common Travel Area (CTA) – which consists of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man – prior to the Home Office having made a decision on your application for leave to remain or settlement, your application will be treated as withdrawn.

This withdrawal of your application would take effect on the date you leave the CTA. This is why our experts in immigration law would strongly urge you not to travel outside the CTA while a decision on your application is still pending, without considering the serious consequences of doing so. For more information and advice, please do not hesitate to call our lawyers on 0208 215 0053.

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