Can I Renew my UK Visa before it Expires?
Extend your time in the UK
Can I renew My UK Visa before it Expires?
We get hundreds of clients who are already in the UK asking the question “can I renew my visa before it expires?”. Because of this, we think it’s important for you to understand what steps you can take if you too are coming to the end of your time in the UK and want to stay longer.
Making sure that you renew your UK visa before it expires is really important if you want to avoid any later problems with the Home Office. When you hope to stay in the UK longer than your current visa allows, you will also want to get the hassle out of the way as early as possible. This can be easier than you might think, so we’ll talk you through some of the things that you need to consider during this process.
If you need advice and want to talk directly to one of our trained immigration solicitors, then get in touch with us for straightforward legal advice.
Renewing or Extending your Current Visa
It is much easier to renew your UK visa before it expires than it is to deal with the problems that can come about if you overstay it. You could end up in a fair amount of trouble with the Home Office, as it is a criminal offence under Section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971 to overstay your visa without reasonable cause. It will always be taken into consideration in any future UK immigration applications, and the Home Office could refuse all of these future applications on the basis that you are now considered a high risk for staying in the UK illegally.
If you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate situation of your visa expiring before you have had chance to renew it, then you have 30 days to voluntarily leave the UK before you face a ban on re-entry. At this point you can only rely on the fourteen-day rule to give you a chance to re-apply or renew your visa.
You’re allowed to submit a visa application up to two weeks after the expiry date of your previous visa. However, this is only on the basis that you can provide evidence that you missed the original end date for an unavoidable reason. This should really only be used in an emergency situation, as it is very carefully regulated and extremely difficult to prove.
My UK Visa is Due to Expire Very Soon – What Should I Do?
Renewing your visa before it expires is crucial, as there are very few situations in which the Home Office will accept excuses for why you have submitted a late request to renew or extend your visa.
If you have placed yourself into the fourteen-day period, you must be able to prove that there was ‘good reason,’ and you must be able to provide suitable and substantial evidence to back up your claim.
Examples of good reasons to overstay include:
- You were receiving emergency medical treatment
- You were affected by a close family bereavement
- You were waiting for an educational institution to let you know about an acceptance of study
Any of these situations must be supported with evidence and submitted alongside your application no later than within two weeks from the end date of your previous visa. As your proof is so carefully scrutinised and questioned, we recommend being guided through the process by one of our highly trained solicitors, to avoid potential damage to any future visa applications.
How Far in Advance can I Renew my UK Visa Before it Expires?
You can renew your UK visa well in advance of it expiring. It is generally stated that you can submit an application for a renewal or for a new visa at any time, and you don’t have to wait for your current leave to come to an end.
However, as shown below, the special requirements and conditions included in certain visa categories can affect the best time for you to apply.
Certificate of Sponsorship Requirements
Work visas that require sponsorship have special timing requirements that will likely control when you can apply to renew or extend. A Tier 2 general work visa and a Tier 5 temporary worker visa both require your future employer to issue you with a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) code.
Once you have this code, you must apply within three months after the date that it was first assigned to you. You must also apply no more than three months before the start date on your certificate of sponsorship.
Confirmation of Study Requirements
If you are applying for an extension of your Tier 4 UK student visa, you will have to apply for your extension within six months of receiving a confirmation of acceptance for studies, and before your current visa expires.
If you are on the Tier 4 student pilot scheme, you will have to factor application times into your six-month extension period.
If you need help renewing your visa or switching visa categories, our immigration team could help you.
If you do decide to renew your UK visa before it expires, you won’t get what remains of your unexpired leave added on to your new leave, and so you won’t be able to use it as a shortcut to making up the five-year requirement for an indefinite leave to remain application.
When you are applying for any visa change – whether it is a renewal of the same visa or a switch to a completely different tier – it is always best to get it done in plenty of time, especially if you are subject to certificate of sponsorship restrictions as a temporary or general worker.
Let Us Help You
Applying to renew your UK visa before it expires doesn’t have to be a difficult or complicated process. However, timing can be everything when it comes to submitting a perfect visa application or applying for that vital extension.
If you lead a busy life, or just want to be sure of a seamless application process, we can help you ensure that your UK visa is renewed in plenty of time, and without any problems or worries.
We can support you through your visa renewal, making sure that you don’t feel rushed and giving you the best chance of success. To find out more, contact us today.
All advice is correct at time of publication.