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FAQs: Visa renewal


What is a visa renewal?

People wishing to come to the UK who are not British or nationals of the European Economic Area or Switzerland normally have to apply for a visa. Visas are issued for a set period of time. If someone wishes to stay in the UK beyond the expiry date of their visa they must apply for a renewal from the UK Border Agency. This is called an application for “leave to remain” in the UK.

Can I renew my visa?

In most cases this is possible provided that you meet the relevant requirements. However, in many immigration categories, for example visitors, there is a restriction on the length of time that can be spent in the UK. Therefore, it may not be possible to renew your visa if this would take you beyond the maximum amount of time permitted.

What if I want to renew my visa but in a different category?

You may wish to extend your stay in the UK in a different immigration category to your current visa. For example, student visa holders finishing their course might want to apply for leave to remain in the UK in a category that allows them to work full time. Whether this is possible depends if the Immigration Rules allow for “switches” between your current immigration category and the category under which you want to apply.

When should I renew my visa?

The Immigration Rules state that most leave to remain (visa renewal) applications should be refused if they are submitted more than 28 days after the expiry date of the individual’s visa. In all cases it is strongly advisable to apply well in advance of your visa expiry date.

What is the process for renewing a visa?

You need to complete a specified application form and provide the required documents and application fee. The UK Border Agency will also take your fingerprints. You can send the application to the UK Border Agency by post or courier. You have to surrender your passport while the application is being processed, which can take several months. Alternatively, you can pay extra for a “premium service” application whereby you attend a UKBA office in person to apply and it is normally processed much faster.
If you would like to obtain legal advice on visa renewal, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local solicitors please call us on 0800 177 7162 or complete the web-form above.
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