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Everything you need to know about extending your UK visa

by John Dunn | Feb 28, 2018
  • You need to know when your visa expires and whether you want to extend your stay well ahead of your visa’s expiration date. This guide will help you understand the extension process.
    Stamp-visa-passport-hand

    The more laws change, the more nothing stays the same

    As someone who is living in the UK, you probably are now aware that it’s not unusual for governments to amend their travel and immigration laws. Over the years we’ve been in business we have seen countless revisions and changes.

    One of the biggest we’ve seen came in 2016, when the UK government wanted to clamp down on people who stayed until their visa expired and then used the 28-day grace period to apply for an extension. This grace period was reduced to 14 days and, in line with government’s harder stance on the matter, you are only able to make use of the 14-day grace period if you can provide a good reason as to why you could not make your extension application on time.

    This means that the moment your visa expires, and you remain in the UK without a valid reason, you are assumed to be illegally overstaying your visa. Overstaying your visa is criminal offence which could end up getting you deported, fined and in jeopardy of not being able to apply for another UK visa.

    Sooner is always better than later

    We recommend that you contact us in preparation of your visa extension at least three months before your current visa expires. Approving your application can take up to eight weeks, so you’ll want to ensure that you are still eligible to remain in the country while you wait for your application to be reviewed and processed.

    Get your information right the first time

    Thousands of applications are denied annually simply because people fail to provide the correct information or forms required to process their applications. This includes not filling out all the forms you’re meant to, spelling your name incorrectly (yes, that happens) and not answering every question on the form. Even the smallest omission can result in your visa extension application being denied, or in extreme circumstances, you could be banned from applying for a UK visa entirely.

    If you’re feeling nervous about filling out your form, or are unsure about what information is required, it’s best to speak to an experienced immigration consultant. They will guide you on your next steps, check that you’ve included all the necessary information and will even remind you if you’re able to renew your visa again.

    Unsure about your application?

    Make sure you’re eligible for a visa extension

    Before submitting your application, you’ll need to ensure that you still meet the conditions of your current visa. Some of the criteria across the visa classes are similar, but never make the mistake of assuming that they are the same. Some of the visa categories that have an extension option are the Tier 2 (General) visa, Ancestry visa, Tier 4 (General) student visa and spouse or partner visa.

    Some good news: You can fast-track your application

    You don’t have to wait eight weeks for a decision to be made on your application.  You can use the premium service, where you’ll receive a response within a day.

    It’s important to note that the premium service come at a cost and with special requirements, and not everyone may be eligible to use them. It’s a good idea to speak to a consultant first should you wish to make use of these services.


    When the time comes to extend your UK visa, our specialists will take the stress and hassle out of your application. Contact our visas team on immigration@sableinternational.com or give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 5330.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

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