UKVI abolishes 28 day grace period for UK visa applications
28 day grace period for UK visa applications
As part of latest UK immigration guidance which came in effect in November 2016, it is important that anyone on a UK visa applies for extension or makes another leave to remain application in time before their existing leave expires and not rely on the 28 day grace period for UK visa applications. Failure to do so will mean the visa holder has overstayed and is liable for removal.
Prior to the new changes brought about by the UKVI in November 2016, the previous rules allowed visa holders to make an extension/leave to remain application up to 28 days after their current visa had expired. This 28-day rule was intended for those who have made an innocent mistake and/or required additional time to make their application.
However, the UKVI realised that many people viewed this as an automatic ‘grace period’ and felt that the system was being abused. Hence, they sought to remove the 28 day grace period for UK visa applications.
Whilst the 28 day grace period for UK visa applications has been removed, this does not mean that all out-of-time applications will be refused on the basis that the applicant has overstayed.
Where the Secretary of State considers there is a ‘good reason’ which was out of the applicant’s control that led to the application being submitted late, any period of overstaying may be overlooked, provided that the application is submitted within 14 days of the leave expiring.
The rule will also apply to those who have been in the UK on 3C Leave, whereby the 28-day period will be reduced to 14 days from the expiry of any leave extended by section 3C. The Statement of Changes states:
“For those whose previous application was in-time but decided before their leave expired, or was made out of time but permitted by virtue of the provision outlined in paragraph 7.56, the 28-day period will be reduced to within 14 days of:
- The refusal of the previous application for leave.
- The expiry of the time-limit for making an in-time application for administrative review or appeal (where applicable).
- Any administrative review or appeal being concluded, withdrawn or abandoned or lapsing.
This is to ensure that individuals to whom these circumstances apply also have 14 days to make a further application.”
What constitutes ‘good reason’?
The questions that arises – What does the UKVI consider a ‘good reason’?
One person’s interpretation of good reason may not apply to another; therefore, we feel it is important that any good reason is objective and clearly defined to avoid applications being submitted incorrectly. This can lead to applicants overstaying and wastage of resources.
Earlier this month, representatives from our offices attended the UKVI Business User Form at City Hall and this was a point which other legal representatives also wanted clarity on. Representatives from the UKVI who attended the meeting have promised to release further objective guidance on this as soon as possible.
In the interim, we strongly advise all employers to carry out an audit of visa expiry dates of their migrant work force and ensure that they apply for further leave to remain in the UK before their current leave expires to avoid overstaying.
If you would like any information on the 28 day grace period for UK visa applications, please feel free to contact our UK Immigration Solicitors on +44(0)20 3318 5794 and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.