How to Extend/Renew Your Visa in the UK

How to Extend/Renew Your Visa in the UK

Not all UK visas can be made longer or renewed. This includes the UK graduate visa, youth mobility visa, and start-up visa. But, if you have a visa type that’s no longer open to new people (like the UK investor visa), you might still be able to make it longer or apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) if you qualify.

If you can’t extend your visa, you might be able to change to a different visa in the UK. For instance, if your graduate visa is almost up, you could try for a Skilled Worker visa if you have a job offer. However, if you’re in the UK on a visitor visa, you can’t change to another visa without going back to your home country to apply.

For help with making some common UK visas longer, check information on:

  • Tier 2 / Skilled Worker Visa
  • Spouse Visa
  • Healthcare Worker Visa
  • ICT Visa
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
  • Visitor visa
  • Student visa

When can you apply for a visa extension?

Apply for a longer UK visa before your current one runs out. If you wait too long and your visa expires, it could cause problems. Depending on the visa you have, the time you can apply to extend it varies. For work, it is 60 days before it ends, and for study, it’s 3 months before if you are joining a new course. Always check your visa’s specific rules.

How to extend/renew your visa in the UK

To make your UK visa longer or to get it again, follow these steps (remember, the exact steps, forms, and costs depend on your visa type):

  • Get ready before you apply. For instance, if you have a work visa, get a new Certificate of Sponsorship for how long you will work in the UK. If it is a student visa, get a new Certificate of Acceptance for Studies for your course. Make sure you qualify for the visa extension. Just because you got your visa before doesn’t mean you will automatically qualify again.
  • Fill out the online form for renewing your UK visa (the form depends on your visa type).
  • Pay the fees, including the visa extension fee and healthcare surcharge.
  • Book and go to an appointment at the nearest UKVCAS office to verify your identity and give your biometrics (like fingerprints and photos).
  • Provide any documents UKVI asks for to support your application, like your new Certificate of Sponsorship, Certificate of Acceptance for Studies, or a letter confirming your ongoing business endorsement, etc.

You should hear back about your visa extension within 8 weeks, but it could be faster if your case is simple and you have given all the needed info and documents. You can stay in the UK while waiting for a decision, even if your current visa expires, as long as you applied before it ran out.

Can you apply to extend your visa after its expiry?

If you miss applying for your visa extension on time, you can still apply within 14 days after it expires but only if you have a very good reason, like being in the hospital or a family emergency. You need to show proof of why you were late. Just forgetting or being busy won’t be accepted.

What if your visa extension is refused?

If your visa extension is denied, it might be for various reasons like not meeting eligibility or suitability requirements, or issues with your application like being late, incomplete, or unpaid fees. If this happens, you have a few choices:

  • Submit a new application.
  • Apply for a different visa.
  • Appeal, but only if it involves your human rights or similar important issues, which is rare.
  • Request an administrative review if there was a mistake in the refusal.
  • Consider a judicial review if you think the refusal was against the law.

It is crucial to get advice from an immigration lawyer if your visa renewal is refused to know your options and the best way to proceed.

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