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    How to Extend Your Visa in the UK

    Should the expiration of your existing UK visa be looming and you wish to get a visa extension to stay in the UK, an application for extending your visa is imperative. The procedure for extending a visa encompasses a deep dive into the necessary conditions and protocol that must be adhered to. It’s essential to know that extensions may not be possible for every visa category. This article explains the process for seeking a British visa renewal, including the appropriate timing and the actions required when encountering challenges.

    When can I apply for an extension of a UK visa?

    It’s crucial to request an extension for your visa prior to its expiration. Often referred to as “further leave to remain,” initiating this process well ahead of the visa’s expiry date is strongly recommended. Procrastination or applying at the last minute could significantly diminish the likelihood of securing a successful extension. Furthermore, submitting your visa extension application late is usually viewed by the immigration authorities as a violation of the terms of your stay. Although there might be exceptions where late submissions are acceptable, they are rare and could complicate future attempts to secure permission to stay.
    According to section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, you’re legally permitted to stay in the UK under your current visa’s conditions while your extension request is under review by the Immigration authorities, but only if you submit this request before your current visa lapses. It’s also possible to apply for an extension several months in advance in certain situations, but this largely depends on the type of visa you’re seeking to extend, since early application deadlines can vary across different visa categories.

    What is the procedure for renewing a UK visa?

    The procedure for a UK visa renewal can vary depending on the type of visa you wish to renew. Here is an overview of the steps to follow:

    1. Start by collecting all the required documents before you begin your application process. For example, if you’re renewing a worker visa in the UK, you will need a certificate of sponsorship from your employer, whereas students will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) usually issued by their school. It is essential to ensure you meet the renewal requirements since having a visa before does not automatically qualify you for its renewal, especially if the eligibility criteria have changed since your last approval.
    2. Begin the renewal process by filling out the appropriate online form on the UK Visas and Immigration website, making sure it matches your visa category.
    3. Pay all necessary fees, including those for the visa itself and for health services.
    4. Arrange an appointment at the visa application center to have your documents checked and to provide your biometric information.

    You will also need to supply proof to support every claim made in your initial application, such as certificates of enrollment or sponsorship, depending on the type of visa. The decision regarding your visa renewal generally takes up to 8 weeks, although the process might be quicker if your supporting documents strongly validate your visa renewal application information, or longer, on other grounds.

    How can I extend my visa in the UK after my visa has expired?

    In scenarios where you’re unable to request a visa extension before its expiry, there are instances, albeit rare, where you can apply post-expiration. According to the ’14 day good cause rule’, you have the opportunity to seek a UK visa extension up to 14 days after your visa has lapsed, given that you have a valid reason. It’s necessary to demonstrate that extraordinary situations hindered your timely application. Such situations may include unforeseen medical emergencies requiring hospitalization or the death of an immediate family member.

    To make a successful late application, you must submit compelling proof within 14 days past the visa expiry date, detailing why you were unable to adhere to the original timeframe. This could be a medical certificate from your doctor that outlines your condition and the dates of your hospital stay. Claims of mere forgetfulness or being preoccupied are not generally acceptable reasons to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), and applications excusing delay on these grounds are likely to be dismissed.

    How much does it cost to extend a UK visa?

    The UK visa extension fees may differ based on the visa category you apply for and the duration of your intended stay within the nation. For instance, extending a skilled worker visa costs £719 for a three-year renewal, while for more than three years, the price rises to £1,423. A spouse visa renewal is charged at £1,048, an ancestry visa also at £1,048. Additionally, for every extra year you remain in the country, there is a mandatory Immigrant Health Surcharge of £624.

    Under specific conditions where an extension of a visitor visa is permissible, the fee for this extension is set at £1,000. This might apply if your initial visa was issued for a duration shorter than six months, and you aim at extending your stay in the UK up to the total allowable six months. Additionally, extensions exceeding six months may be sought by individuals in particular situations, such as patients undergoing continuous medical treatment, scientists who continue to fulfill the necessary criteria, or graduates who are either retaking the Professional and Linguistic Qualifications Assessment Council examination or engaging in a clinical attachment. It’s important to note, though, that the visitor visa category does not permit switching to a different visa category.

    How long does a visa extension application processing take?

    When you submit an application for extending your UK visa, the typical response time from UK Visas and Immigration is expected to be about 8 weeks, but delays are common within UKVI. For instance, as of the current period, the processing time for skilled worker visa extensions is averaging 16 weeks. Should UKVI require further details, the processing time for your extension may be extended. You might be contacted by UKVI for a variety of reasons, such as the need to verify the documents you’ve submitted with your renewal application, a request for you to come in for a personal interview, or issues related to recent legal troubles. In certain situations, there’s an option to fast-track your application process for an additional charge.

    What should I do if my visa extension application is rejected?

    There are several grounds on which an application for a visa extension might be declined, such as:

    • not fulfilling the necessary criteria anymore;
    • failing to meet the eligibility conditions from the outset;
    • or the application being deemed invalid due to being submitted after the deadline;
    • not being fully completed;
    • or if the necessary fees were not paid.

    If your request for a visa extension has been turned down, there are various steps you can take to address the issue. These include filing a fresh application, seeking a different visa category, or pursuing an appeal, although the latter is typically only an option in specific instances where your rights related to human, protection, or humanitarian grounds are at stake.

    Other avenues include requesting an Administrative Review if there was an error on the part of the UKVI in rejecting your application, or a Judicial Review should the refusal of your visa extension be considered unlawful.

    After your visa extension application has been denied, seeking guidance from an immigration lawyer is crucial. Their expertise will provide you with professional legal counsel, helping you comprehend your options thoroughly and devise the optimal strategy tailored to your circumstances.

    How can we help?

    Contacting Sterling Law for legal assistance with visa applications and extensions increases your chances of success. If you are facing the need to extend your UK visa and feel that the process can be confusing and complicated, seeking professional support from Sterling Law is your best option.

    Our specialists, who have in-depth knowledge and extensive experience in immigration law, will guide you through every step of the process, making each one as simple as possible. We understand how important it is for you to renew your visa in the UK in a timely and efficient manner, while remaining calm and confident that everything will be done correctly and in accordance with the law. Your success is our top priority.

    Let Sterling Law handle your migration matters and you can focus on what really matters to you, without wasting your valuable time and nerves on the legal intricacies of the visa extension process. Call us today to get started with leading migration law experts and take a step towards successfully extending your UK visa with Sterling Law.

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