Archive for June, 2015

Help, my visa’s expired!

June 3, 2015 | Posted by ECA UK | No Comments »

It’s every international student’s nightmare – your Tier 4 student visa is expiring, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that you can do about it. The clock is ticking, and it looks like the final countdown has begun…but all is not lost. ECA UK looks at some things that you can do.

If you want to stay in the UK for longer than your current visa allows, or you want to change your visa status, then you will have to make a new application to the Home Office. Applying for a new visa is all about timing: if your current visa is expiring in a few months, then you’ve got some options about what to do. If your visa is expiring in a few days, however, then your options are really limited. If you’ve left it too late, then you might have to bite the bullet, go back home, and re-apply for your UK visa from there. This isn’t an ideal situation, but it might be the only option that you have – so be careful about those expiry dates!

So, one option is to apply for another visa as soon as possible. When you submit an application to the Home Office before your UK visa expires, your permission to remain in the UK is automatically extended. You can then stay in the UK until the Home Office makes a decision on your application. You can do this to give yourself a little more time to find a new course, or to find a new sponsor; however, doing so isn’t really advisable, as you will be overstaying your original visa. You need to plan for this in advance, and to have your application prepared and submitted long before your expiry date arrives. If you sit on your hands and do nothing until the last minute, then you will at best have to take a course you’re not so interested in, or at worst have to leave the country.

If you have planned in advance, then you will be able to submit an application to the Home Office in time. It depends on each case, but it can take from a couple of weeks to a month to hear back about your application, so you shouldn’t have too long to wait.

If you do stay in the UK after your visa has expired, however, and you haven’t submitted an application to the Home Office to extend your visa or change to another immigration category, then you will become an “overstayer”. This could result in you receiving a re-entry ban – so you need to be careful.

The other issue is that, even if you submit an application for another Tier 4 visa, your sponsor might not issue a CAS. This is a genuine worry now that the UK government is changing immigration and visa regulations, and if you overstay then it is almost definite that they will not issue a CAS, and will withdraw the one they did issue.

The best option, of course, is to talk to an expert, someone who knows what they’re talking about. There are visa agencies in the UK who can help you, but they need to be certified by the UK government. This certification is called an OISC certification, and they will be able to give you advice, as well as help you with your UK visa application. ECA Legal, our sister company, is certified and able to offer advice to you, so instead of worrying, pay them a visit and get some advice from the specialists.