Removal of 28 day grace period for those who overstay their UK visa

In November 2016, UKVI announced that the 28 day grace period for those who overstay their UK visas will be done away with. Failure to renew one’s visa is a serious offence and could lead to deportation. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you don’t find yourself in this sticky situation.

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Why was the grace period removed?

The 28 day grace period was intended for those who had made an innocent mistake or required extra time to make their visa extension application due to exceptional circumstances, such as serious illness.

The UKVI realised that people were treating this as extra time for renewing their visa after its expiry and abusing the system. As a result, they sought to remove the 28 day grace period and replace it with a more stringent 14 day period.

Don’t overstay by mistake

Many of those who overstay on their visas do so by mistake. Time can run away and before you know it, your visa has expired. Set up reminders for yourself so that you don’t accidentally overstay.

Ensure you keep the Home Office updated with your current contact details. Should they be unable to contact you to notify you of any changes, you could end up overstaying whilst believing your visa is still valid.

Extend early

The most important thing you need to remember is that you need to apply for an extension before your current visa expires.

Ensure that you are aware of the requirements for your visa and you have the correct documentation prepared at least a month before your visa expires. This will ensure that you have plenty of time to submit your extension application.

Indefinite leave to remain

If you are want to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the future, it is important that you meet the residential requirement. During the five-year period prior to your ILR application, you must not have spent more than 450 days outside the UK or more than 90 days in the most recent 12-month period.

Allowing your visa to expire may cause you to be removed from the UK, jeopardising your chances of obtaining ILR status.

Worried you might overstay your visa or need help with an extension application? Feel free to contact our visas team on immigration@1stcontact.com or give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 7527

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  • Anthony Barreto-Neto

    I am waiting to hear if my application for permission to remain with family (spouse of 25 years who is British), has been approved. I mailed it and it was received prior to my regular 6 month allowed stay which ended in Feb. 2017. It was received by immigration on the 1st of Jan. this year. I was notified on that date with a reference number for my application.
    Since the date has passed that I would legally be here from the USA, does that mean I’m an overstay? Site stated that application had to be received prior to the date I normally would have to return home, which it was. Waited as long as I did because I first had to apply for biometrics, then had to send that in with passport, application and NHS fees.
    I’m worried now!

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Anthony, usually this would cause an issue and the risk of being listed as an overs stayer. Unless you have been granted discretion based on your application being submitted before this date.

      • Anthony Barreto-Neto

        Thank you for your reply. I think, according to the application form I submitted, that it was the correct one and I met the prerequisites to use that form…wow. Just trying to say that I’ve adhered to all directives given and will hopefully be approved to remain with my wife of over 25 years!

  • Joanna Moran

    John, in 2016 I entered the UK twice, staying a total of about 3 months. I am in the country again since January. Do the stays in the previous year count as part of the 6 months’ visa, or do I have a full six months this entry?
    Thanks.

    • http://www.1stcontact.com/ 1st Contact

      Hi Joanne, from your date of initial entry you will be allowed to spend six months in the UK from this date of entry going 12 months forward.

      • Joanna Moran

        Thanks, John, you’ve given me some peace of mind..