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UK Visa Extension Guide: Step-by-Step

uk visa extension

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A UK visa extension allows individuals who are already in the United Kingdom on a valid visa to prolong their stay beyond the original expiry date of their visa. This process is essential for those who wish to continue their studies, employment, or other activities in the UK without interruption.

The extension application involves providing detailed documentation and meeting specific eligibility criteria, and it must be submitted before the current visa expires.

If your current visa lapses and you have not obtained new valid status or permission to remain in the UK, you are said to be ‘overstaying’. Overstaying your visa can lead to severe consequences, including deportation, a ban on re-entry, and difficulties with future visa applications.

However, not all visas are eligible for extension, and some categories impose a maximum period of stay; exceeding this limit can result in application denial and impact future immigration applications.

Importantly, you must also continue to be eligible for the visa route in order to apply for an extension. This has become complicated by recent substantial changes to UK visa eligibility rules, such as in relation to minimum salary thresholds for the Skilled Worker and Partner visas. To avoid issues, applicants should take professional advice to ensure they meet the current requirements before proceeding with an extension application.

This guide for visa-holders looks at the rules relating to UK visa extensions, from what type of visa can be extended to what happens if your visa expires.

 

Section A: Importance of UK Visa Extensions

 

Extending your visa allows you to continue your life in the UK without disruption, whether you are working, studying or living here with family.

Late extension applications can result in fines or additional fees. Timely submission ensures you avoid these extra costs and the stress associated with urgent processing. A timely extension also demonstrates compliance with immigration laws, which can positively impact future visa or settlement applications. It shows that you respect and adhere to the UK’s legal requirements.

 

1. Types of Visas That Can Be Extended

 

The option to extend your visa will depend on the type of visa that you currently hold. Among the more common UK visas that can be extended, subject to relevant criteria being met and subject to any maximum period of stay, include:

 

a. Skilled Worker Visa

b. Health and Care Worker Visa

c. Family Visas

d. Student Visa

e. Innovator Founder Visa

f. Global Talent Visa

g. Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

h. UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

 

2. Visas That Cannot be Extended

 

Some UK visa routes do not typically permit extensions, including:

 

a. Standard Visitor Visa

b. Short-Term Study Visa

c. Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility)

d. Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

e. Youth Mobility Visa

f. Seasonal Worker Visa

g. Graduate Visa

 

For example, if you are in the UK with a standard visitor visa, unless your visa is for less than 6 months, you cannot usually extend your stay. This is because, in most cases, you can only remain in the UK as a visitor for a maximum 6-month period, where you would need to re-apply for a new visa from outside the UK.

The various temporary work routes are also time-limited, where these can only be extended up to their maximum and limited length of stay, such as the creative worker or charity worker visa. However, you may be able to apply to switch to a different type of visa to stay longer, such as the skilled worker visa.

Visa holders under these routes would typically need to leave the UK at the end of their visa and apply for a new visa to be able to return, although some exceptions may apply, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you are in the UK on a graduate visa, this will allow you to remain in the UK for a maximum of 2 years, having successfully completed a UK-based degree course, or 3 years if you qualified with a PHD or other doctoral qualification. After this, you could apply to switch to a different category, such as the Skilled Worker visa, without leaving the UK.

Read our guide to visa switching here.

 

3. Section 3C Leave & Pending Extension Applications

 

When applying for a UK visa extension, you must do so in time, prior to the expiry of your existing visa. Even if your current grant of leave expires pending a decision from UKVI on your application, under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, you will still have the right to stay in the UK until you have been notified of the outcome. Section 3C leave will also continue pending any appeal or administrative review.

The purpose of this statutory provision is to prevent anyone who has made an in-time extension application while awaiting a decision or exhausting their appeal/review rights from becoming an overstayer.

Where applicable, section 3C leave will usually remain subject to the conditions attached to your extant leave. This means, for example, if you were previously permitted to undertake work as a skilled worker, you may continue in your job as before, subject to any restrictions.

 

4. Out of Time Visa Extension Applications

 

If you are late in applying for a visa extension and your visa has already expired, your application may be refused. The provisions of section 3C will not be triggered when an application is made after your current grant of leave has run out, and you may be treated as an overstayer. This could negatively impact any future applications, even those made from outside the UK. It is also a criminal offence under section 24 of the 1971 Act to overstay your visa without reasonable cause, and unless you voluntarily leave the UK within 30 days at your own expense, you may face a ban on re-entry. Importantly, it is entirely your responsibility to ensure that you make an in-time application to extend your visa.

There is a 14-day exception for late applications, where UKVI will disregard a period of overstaying provided you apply for renewal of your existing visa or switch to a new visa within 14 days of your previous visa expiring. You must also be able to show that there was a good reason beyond your control why your application could not be made in time.

Each case will be decided on its own merits, but examples of exceptional circumstances that might be considered beyond your control include where you were admitted to hospital for emergency treatment, or you have suffered a close family bereavement. However, you must provide evidence to back up your claim, like an official letter verifying the dates of any hospital admission and discharge, as well as the nature of your medical treatment.

Finally, if you apply within the 14-day consideration period of overstaying, your previous leave will not be re-instated or temporarily extended, pending a decision on your extension application. You can remain in the UK until you have been notified by UKVI of the outcome, but you will be without valid leave during that time. This means that whilst waiting for a decision on your visa extension, you will not have permission to undertake any work.

 

5. Visa Extension to ILR

 

Having extended your visa, depending on your visa category, you may become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) once you have attained a minimum period of residency under certain visa routes. ILR is the opportunity to settle permanently in the UK. After a period of 12 months with ILR status, you can also apply to naturalise as a British citizen, entitling you to live in the UK for the rest of your life, with full civic rights, and to hold a British passport.

 

Section B: Eligibility Criteria for UK Visa Extension

 

You can only apply to extend your visa if you continue to be eligible under the relevant visa requirements.

If you cannot meet the relevant eligibility requirements for a visa extension in the UK, you may be eligible for a different type of visa under the immigration rules. It may be possible to switch into another visa route from inside the UK, or you may have to leave the UK and make a new application from overseas.

 

1. General Eligibility Criteria

 

To be eligible for a UK visa extension, you must first hold a valid visa that is eligible for extension. Not all visas can be extended, so it is essential to check whether your current visa qualifies.

Your application for an extension must be submitted before your current visa expires. Timely submission is crucial to avoid overstaying, which can have serious legal consequences and affect future visa applications.
You should have complied with the conditions of your current visa. This includes adhering to any work restrictions, maintaining the required level of financial support, and meeting any other specific conditions associated with your visa type.

You must provide proof of sufficient financial resources to support yourself and any dependents during your extended stay without recourse to public funds. This demonstrates that you can sustain yourself financially while remaining in the UK.

Finally, you need to demonstrate the continued purpose of your stay in the UK. This means showing that you need to remain in the UK for the same reason as your original visa, whether it be for ongoing studies, continued employment, or business activities.

 

2. Specific Eligibility Criteria for Common Visa Categories

 

Eligibility for a UK visa extension depends on the type of visa you currently hold and your specific circumstances. You will also need to check that you continue to meet the current criteria.

Remember that these visa criteria are subject to change. For example, the Skilled Worker visa minimum salary and minimum salary threshold for the Partner visa have both been subject to increases in 2024. To ensure you are working to the most up-to-date criteria, check the Home Office website or contact our immigration advisers for expert guidance.

Requirements for some of the more common visas include:

 

a. Skilled worker visa

This type of visa can last for as long as 5 years before you need to extend it. You can apply to extend a skilled worker visa if you are working in the same job role as when you were last granted leave, your job is within the same occupation code, you have the same sponsor who assigned your existing sponsorship certificate and that employer is still licensed to sponsor skilled workers. You can apply to extend this visa as many times as you like, provided you still meet the relevant requirements. After 5 years, you may also be able to apply for ILR, allowing you to settle permanently in the UK.

 

b. Spouse visa

You can initially stay in the UK under a spouse visa for 2 years and 9 months. You can also apply to extend your stay if you continue to meet the requirements. For example, if you are applying as the spouse of a person present and settled in the UK or someone in the UK as a refugee or with humanitarian protection, you must show that your relationship is genuine and that you intend to continue to live together. A financial and English language requirement must also be met. If you are applying as the spouse of a British national or someone settled in the UK on the basis of your family or private life, you must also meet an accommodation requirement. If you extend your family visa or switch into this visa route, you can remain in the UK for an additional 2.5 years. You can then apply to settle in the UK after either 5 or 10 years, depending on your specific route.

 

c. Ancestry visa

If you are in the UK under an ancestry visa, for example, as a British overseas citizen or Commonwealth citizen with a UK-born grandparent, you can apply to extend your visa and remain in the UK for another 5 years. You can also extend this visa as many times as you want, provided you still meet the eligibility requirements. This means that you must have enough money without access to public funds to support yourself and any dependants, and you can and plan to work in the UK. You can go on to apply for settlement once you have lived in the UK on an ancestry visa for 5 years.

 

Section C: Required Documents for UK Visa Extension

 

The documents required for a UK visa extension vary depending on the type of visa you are extending. These may largely be the same as the documents you submitted with your initial visa application. However, you must ensure that they are up-to-date and valid and that they reflect your current situation.

 

1. General Documents for All Visa Types

 

You would typically need to provide the following with your extension application, in addition to the specific documents needed for different visa categories:

 

a. Current Passport: Valid passport or travel document.

b. Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): If you have been issued one.

c. Proof of Identity: Additional identification documents such as national ID card or driving licence, if applicable.

d. Visa Application Form: Completed online application form for the visa extension.

e. Payment Receipt: Proof of payment for the visa application fee.

f. Photographs: Passport-sized photographs meeting UKVI specifications.

g. Proof of Address: Utility bills, bank statements, or tenancy agreement showing your current address in the UK.

h. Proof of Financial Means: Bank statements, payslips, or financial sponsorship letters demonstrating you have sufficient funds.

 

2. Specific Documents for Common Visa Categories

 

Each visa category imposes specific documentation requirements which are used to verify your eligibility under the relevant route. For example, if you are applying to extend your spouse visa, you will need to provide evidence that you remain married and in a genuine and subsisting relationship with the British citizen or person with UK settled status.

Skilled Worker visa extensions require you to provide your Certificate of Sponsorship as proof of your ongoing sponsorship by a licensed UK employer and that you continue to meet the visa criteria, such as in relation to job role, skill level and minimum salary.

Taking professional advice is the most effective way to ensure you present a comprehensive supporting documentation package, particularly in light of recent substantial changes to UK visa routes.

 

3. How to Prepare and Organise Your Documents

 

Start by creating a detailed checklist of all required documents specific to your visa category. This helps ensure you do not miss any important paperwork and keeps you on track throughout the application process.

Begin collecting the necessary documents well in advance of your application date. This allows you ample time to request any missing documents or correct any issues that may arise. Arranging your documents in a logical order that follows the application requirements is essential. For instance, group identification documents together, financial documents in another section, and so on.

Label each document or group of documents clearly. Use tabs or dividers to separate different sections, making it easy for the reviewing officer to find specific documents. Double-check all documents for accuracy, ensuring that names, dates, and other details match across all documents.

Make photocopies of all documents. In many cases, you will need to submit photocopies along with the originals for verification. If required, get your documents certified by an authorised individual, such as a solicitor or notary public. Additionally, scan all documents and keep digital copies for your records. Some parts of the application may require uploading digital versions.

If any documents are not in English, provide certified translations. Include both the original document and the translated version to avoid any misunderstandings. Finally, use a secure and organised folder or binder to keep all documents together. This prevents any important papers from getting lost or damaged.

By preparing and organising your documents meticulously, you can ensure a smooth and efficient application process for your UK visa extension.

 

Section D: Application Process for UK Visa Extension

 

To obtain a visa extension in the UK, you must apply online using the appropriate form. For example, if you are applying as the spouse of someone settled in the UK, you should use Form FLR(M), where FLR(M) stands for ‘further leave to remain in the marriage category’. If you are applying on the basis of your family or private life, you will need to use Form FLR(FP), where FP refers to the family/private life provisions under UK immigration law.

As part of your extension application, you will need to prove your identity, although how you do this will depend on where you are from and your passport type. You will either use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your ID document or provide your biometrics at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point. In most cases, you will also need to submit documentation in support of your application, which can either be uploaded through your UKVI account or provided at your UKVCAS appointment.

Remember, when applying for an extension to stay, you must apply before your current visa expires. You must also remain in the UK pending your decision. If you travel outside of the Common Travel Area (the UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands) prior to receiving your decision from UKVI, you will risk your extension application being withdrawn.

 

1. Step-by-Step Guide on How to Apply for a UK Visa Extension

 

Step 1: Check Eligibility

Ensure you are eligible to apply for a visa extension. Verify your current visa type and ensure it can be extended.

 

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Collect all necessary documents as per the list provided in the previous section. Ensure all documents are accurate and complete.

 

Step 3: Prepare for Application

Decide the category of your extension application (Student, Skilled Worker, etc.). Ensure you have a valid payment method for the application fee.

 

Step 4: Create an Online Account

Go to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. Create an account or log in if you already have one.

 

Step 5: Complete the Online Application Form

Fill out the application form accurately. Provide all requested information, including personal details, current visa information, and reasons for the extension.

 

Step 6: Upload Documents

Upload all required documents to the online portal. Ensure they are clear and legible.

 

Step 7: Pay the Application Fee

Pay the application fee online. The fee varies depending on the type of visa you are extending and your individual circumstances.

 

Step 8: Book a Biometric Appointment

Book an appointment to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) at a designated service point. Attend the appointment and provide the required biometric information.

 

Step 9: Submit the Application

After completing all steps, review your application thoroughly. Submit the application online.

 

Step 10: Track Your Application

Use the online portal to track the status of your application. Respond promptly to any additional requests for information or documents from UKVI.

 

2. How to Apply for a Visa Extension Online

 

Step 1: Access the Portal

Visit the official UKVI website: UK Visas and Immigration.

 

Step 2: Create/Login to Your Account

Click on “Sign in” or “Create an account” at the top right corner. Enter your email address and password, then follow the prompts to verify your account.

 

Step 3: Start a New Application

Select “Apply for a visa extension” from the dashboard. Choose the type of visa you are extending from the provided list.

 

Step 4: Fill Out the Application Form

Enter your personal details, including name, date of birth, and nationality. Next, provide details of your current visa, including type, expiry date, and reference number. Finally, explain why you are applying for an extension and provide relevant information.

 

Step 5: Upload Documents

Navigate to the “Documents” section. Click “Upload” next to each required document and select the file from your device. Ensure each document is properly labelled and clear.

 

Step 6: Pay the Fee

Proceed to the “Payment” section. Enter your payment details and complete the transaction.

 

Step 7: Book Biometric Appointment

After payment, you will be prompted to book a biometric appointment. Select a convenient date and time, then confirm your appointment.

 

Step 8: Review and Submit

Carefully review all the information and documents you have provided. Click “Submit Application” to finalise the process.

 

Section E: Fees and Processing Times for UK Visa Extension

 

By understanding the fees, processing times, and expedited options, you can better plan your UK visa extension application to meet your needs and deadlines.

 

1. UK Visa Extension Fees

 

The fees for extending a UK visa vary depending on the type of visa and the applicant’s circumstances.

 

Visa Applications Made in the UK Fee from 10 April 2024
Skilled Worker, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for 3 years or less – main applicant and dependants £827
Skilled Worker, where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over 3 years – main applicant and dependants £1,636
Skilled Worker – shortage occupation where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants for the applications made until 3 July 2024 with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued before 4 April 2024 £551
Skilled Worker – a job on the Immigration Salary List where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants for the applications made with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued on or after 4 April 2024 £551
Skilled Worker – shortage occupation where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants for the applications made until 3 July 2024 with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued before 4 April 2024 £1,084
Skilled Worker – a job on the Immigration Salary List where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants for the applications made with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued on or after 4 April 2024 £1,084
Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for 3 years or less – main applicant and dependants £284
Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over 3 years – main applicant and dependants £551
Skilled Worker – shortage occupation – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants for the applications made until 3 July 2024 with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued before 4 April 2024 £284
Skilled Worker – a job on the Immigration Salary List- Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants for the applications made with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued on or after 4 April 2024 £284
Skilled Worker – shortage occupation – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants for the applications made until 3 July 2024 with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued before 4 April 2024 £551
Skilled Worker – a job on the Immigration Salary List – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants for the applications made with a Certificate of Sponsorship issued on or after 4 April 2024 £551
Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker – up to 3 years – main applicant and dependants £827
Global Business Mobility – Senior or Specialist Worker – more than 3 years – main applicant and dependants £1,636
Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Worker – main applicant and dependants £298
Student  – main applicant and dependants £490
Joining your Partner, Parent or Child – main applicant and dependants £1,048

 

Read more about UK visa fees here.

 

 

2. UK Visa Extension Processing Times

 

The processing time for a visa extension application can vary based on the type of visa and the service option chosen. For most applications made within the UK, standard processing typically takes around 8 weeks.

When filling out the online application form, you will be given the option to choose between standard, priority, and super priority services if they are available for your visa type. This selection can be made within the application process.

The Priority Service aims to expedite the decision on your visa extension within 5 working days. It is suitable for applicants who need a faster decision but do not require the absolute fastest service available. It costs an additional £500 per application.

The Super Priority Service is the fastest option available, providing a decision by the end of the next working day at an additional cost of £1000 per application. This service is ideal for urgent cases where the applicant needs an immediate decision. However, it is important to note that this service is subject to availability and may not be offered for all visa types or at all locations.

The additional fee for priority or super-priority services will be calculated and added to your total application fee. You can pay the combined fee (standard application fee plus expedited service fee) online using a valid payment method.

For expedited services, ensure you book your biometric appointment as soon as possible to meet the required timeline for processing. Prompt booking is essential to take full advantage of the expedited processing options and to ensure that your application is processed within the expected timeframe.

 

Section F: Common Mistakes to Avoid in the UK Visa Extension Application Process

 

One of the most frequent mistakes applicants make during the visa extension process is late submission. Submitting your application after your current visa has expired can lead to severe consequences, including legal penalties and potential deportation. To avoid this, always ensure your application is submitted well before your visa expiry date.

Another common error is submitting an incomplete application form. Leaving sections blank or providing incomplete information can result in delays or rejections. It’s crucial to carefully read and fill out each section of the form, double-checking for accuracy and completeness.

Providing incorrect or inconsistent information in the application form or supporting documents is also a major pitfall. Inaccurate details can cause significant delays and may lead to a refusal of your application. Consistency in the information provided is key to a smooth application process.

Insufficient documentation is another common issue. Applicants often fail to submit all the required documents or provide documents that do not meet UKVI standards. To mitigate this, prepare a checklist based on your visa type and ensure all necessary documents are included and up-to-date.

Poor document quality can also hinder your application. Unclear, illegible, or improperly scanned documents can lead to misunderstandings and delays. Always scan or photograph documents clearly, using high-resolution settings to ensure all text is readable.

Not meeting financial requirements is another frequent mistake. Applicants may fail to provide adequate proof of financial resources or miscalculate the required amount. Carefully calculate the required financial amount and provide clear, detailed proof such as bank statements, payslips, or sponsor letters.

Ignoring specific conditions of your current visa, such as work restrictions or maintenance of funds, can also lead to complications. Review and adhere to the conditions of your visa throughout your stay and application process.

Missing your biometric appointment is another critical error. Schedule your biometric appointment as soon as possible and ensure you attend on the specified date, bringing all required identification documents.

Incorrect payment is a common administrative error. Making mistakes in the payment process, such as paying the wrong fee amount or not completing the payment, can result in application delays. Verify the total fee amount before making the payment and keep the receipt as proof.

For family visas, not providing sufficient evidence of a genuine and subsisting relationship can lead to refusal. Gather comprehensive evidence of your relationship, such as photographs, correspondence, joint financial documents, and affidavits from friends and family.

Failing to translate documents can also be an issue. If any documents are not in English, provide certified translations along with the original documents. Ensure the translations are accurate and officially certified.

To avoid these common mistakes, start preparing your application well in advance. Carefully read and complete each section of the application form, ensuring consistency and accuracy. Use a checklist to gather all required documents and scan them clearly. If unsure, contact our immigration advisers to ensure your application is complete and accurate.

 

Section G: After Submission of Your UK Visa Extension Application

 

After you submit your UK visa extension application, you will receive a confirmation email from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This email acknowledges the receipt of your application and includes a unique application reference number. This reference number is crucial for any future correspondence regarding your application.

If you have not already attended your biometric appointment, you will need to schedule and attend it. During this appointment, you will provide your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. This step is mandatory and must be completed promptly to avoid delays in your application processing.

Once UKVI has received all the required information and your biometrics, they will begin processing your application. During this period, your application will be reviewed, and your documents will be verified. The processing time can vary depending on the type of visa and the service level you selected (standard, priority, or super-priority).

UKVI may contact you to request additional information or documents. It is important to respond promptly to any such requests to ensure your application continues to progress smoothly.

 

1. How to Track Your Application Status

 

You can track the status of your application using the UKVI online portal. Log in to your account on the UKVI website using your credentials. Your application dashboard will display the current status of your application. This portal will also provide updates and notifications if any additional information is required.

In addition to the online portal, you can contact UKVI customer service for status updates. Ensure you have your application reference number handy when making enquiries.

 

2. Next Steps if Your Extension is Approved or Denied

 

If your visa extension is approved, you will receive a decision letter from UKVI, either by email or post, confirming the approval of your extension. This letter will include details of your new visa, including the extended expiry date.

After receiving your approval, ensure that you comply with the conditions of your new visa. This may include maintaining employment, continued enrollment in studies, or other specific requirements based on your visa category. It is also important to update your employer or educational institution about your extended stay to ensure compliance with their records and policies.

If your visa extension is denied, you will receive a refusal letter from UKVI explaining the reasons for the denial. This letter will outline your options for the next steps, which may include the right to an administrative review or appeal. Carefully review the reasons for the refusal and consider whether there were any errors or missing information in your application.

If you believe there was a mistake or you have additional supporting evidence, you can request an administrative review within the specified timeframe outlined in your refusal letter. This involves a UKVI official reviewing your application decision to determine if it was made correctly.

Alternatively, if you do not have the option for an administrative review or if your review is unsuccessful, you may need to consider re-applying for the visa extension or seeking legal advice.

It is crucial to act promptly, as overstaying your visa can lead to severe consequences, including deportation and future bans on re-entry to the UK.

Read our comprehensive guide to your options if your application has been refused.

 

Section H: Summary

Timely visa extensions are essential to maintaining lawful status in the UK and continuing your life here without interruption or complication. Given the high stakes, take expert advice before applying for your extension, both to ensure that you continue to meet the current relevant eligibility requirements and to build a comprehensive application that presents your case in the strongest light.

Professional advice is especially valuable if your application is complex, such as making an out-of-time extension.

For expert guidance, contact us.

 

Section I: FAQs on UK Visa Extension

 

What is a UK visa extension?
A UK visa extension allows individuals who are already in the UK on a valid visa to extend their stay beyond the original expiry date of their visa. This process involves submitting an application, providing necessary documentation, and meeting specific eligibility criteria.

 

Who is eligible for a UK visa extension?
Eligibility for a UK visa extension depends on the type of visa you currently hold and your specific circumstances. Generally, you must have a valid visa that is eligible for extension, submit your application before your current visa expires, comply with visa conditions, and provide proof of sufficient financial resources.

 

What types of visas can be extended?
Common visa types that can be extended include Student Visa, Skilled Worker Visa, Health and Care Worker Visa, Family Visa, Innovator Visa, Start-up Visa, Global Talent Visa, and Ancestry Visa. Each visa type has specific requirements and eligibility criteria.

 

How do I apply for a UK visa extension?
You can apply for a UK visa extension by completing an online application form on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website, submitting the required documents, paying the application fee, and attending a biometric appointment. Detailed instructions are provided during the application process.

 

What documents are required for a UK visa extension?
Required documents vary by visa type but generally include your current passport, biometric residence permit (if issued), proof of financial means, proof of address, and additional documents specific to your visa category, such as a Certificate of Sponsorship for a Skilled Worker Visa or a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for a Student Visa.

 

How much does it cost to extend a UK visa?
The cost of extending a UK visa depends on the type of visa and the service level chosen. Additional fees apply for priority and super-priority services.

 

How long does it take to process a UK visa extension?
Processing times vary based on the type of visa and service level. Standard service typically takes up to 8 weeks, priority service takes up to 5 working days, and super priority service provides a decision by the end of the next working day.

 

Can I work while my visa extension is being processed?
In most cases, you can continue to work under the conditions of your current visa while your extension application is being processed as long as you applied before your current visa expired. It is important to verify the specific conditions of your visa category.

 

What happens if my visa extension is denied?
If your visa extension is denied, you will receive a refusal letter explaining the reasons. You may have the option to request an administrative review or appeal the decision, depending on the circumstances. It is important to act promptly and seek legal advice if necessary to avoid overstaying your visa.

 

How can I track the status of my application?
You can track the status of your application using the online portal provided by UKVI. Log in to your account on the UKVI website to view updates and notifications regarding your application. You can also contact UKVI customer service for status updates using your application reference number.

 

What should I do after my visa extension is approved?
Once your visa extension is approved, you will receive a decision letter and a new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), if applicable. Ensure that you comply with the conditions of your new visa, update relevant parties such as your employer or educational institution, and keep your documents safe.

 

Can I extend my visitor visa?
Visitor visas generally cannot be extended unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as medical treatment or compassionate grounds. In such cases, you must provide substantial evidence to support your application for an extension.

 

Section J: Glossary of Key Terms for UK Visa Extension

 

Application Reference Number: A unique identifier provided by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) upon submission of your visa extension application, used for tracking and correspondence.

Biometric Information: Data collected during a biometric appointment, including fingerprints, photographs, and signature, required for identity verification.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): A physical card issued to visa holders in the UK, containing personal information and visa details. It serves as proof of legal status.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): A reference number issued by an employer or educational institution, confirming sponsorship for a work or student visa.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS): A reference number issued by a UK educational institution, confirming a student’s acceptance and sponsorship for a Student Visa.

Dependant: A family member (spouse, partner, child) who relies on the main visa holder for support and may apply for a visa extension as part of the same application.

Eligibility Criteria: Specific requirements that must be met to qualify for a visa extension, varying by visa type and individual circumstances.

Expedited Processing: Faster processing options for visa applications, including priority and super priority services, available for an additional fee.

Financial Requirements: Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself (and dependents) during your stay in the UK, required for certain visa categories.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): A fee paid by visa applicants to access the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), applicable for the duration of the visa.

Overstaying: Remaining in the UK beyond the expiration date of your visa without a valid extension, which can lead to serious legal consequences.

Priority Service: An expedited processing option that aims to provide a decision within 5 working days, available for certain visa types for an additional fee.

Right to Work: The legal authorisation for visa holders to undertake employment in the UK, subject to the conditions of their visa.

Standard Service: The regular processing timeline for visa extensions, typically taking up to 8 weeks from the biometric appointment date.

Super Priority Service: The fastest processing option, providing a decision by the end of the next working day after the biometric appointment, available for an additional fee.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI): The government department responsible for processing visa applications and managing immigration controls in the UK.

Visa Conditions: Specific rules and requirements that visa holders must adhere to during their stay in the UK, such as restrictions on work or study.

 

Section K: Additional Resources

 

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration
The official UK government website provides comprehensive information on visa types, application processes, fees, and more. It is an essential resource for anyone seeking to extend their UK visa.

 

Visa and Immigration Application Forms

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-visa-forms
Access all the necessary forms for various visa applications, including extensions, on the official UK government website.

 

Immigration Rules
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules
Detailed information on the rules governing UK immigration, including eligibility criteria for different visa types and extension requirements.

 

Right to Work Checks: An Employer’s Guide
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide
For visa holders who need to prove their right to work in the UK, this guide provides detailed information on the documentation required.

 

Home Office Contact Information
https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk
For direct inquiries and further assistance, contact the UK Home Office using the information provided on their official website.

 

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)
https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/
A resource specifically for international students in the UK, offering advice on visa extensions, studying, and living in the UK.

 

 

 

Author

Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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