If you've overstayed your visa or leave
If you’ve overstayed your visa or leave, you need to act quickly. You’re an ‘overstayer’ if you’ve stayed in the UK after your visa or leave has expired.
From the date that your visa expires, you’ll have either:
- 28 days to apply for a new visa
- 90 days to leave the country
If you don’t do either, you may be deported.
The Home Office won't remind you when your visa or leave expires. Check the stamp or sticker in your passport if you’re not sure whether you’ve overstayed.
Apply for a new visa
You have 28 days from the date your visa expires to apply for a new visa - either by extending your current visa or leave, or applying in a different category. The Home Office will automatically reject your application if you apply after this date.
Contact your local Citizens Advice, or contact a local solicitor directly- it’s usually quicker to contact a local solicitor, but you may have to pay. They’ll tell you which visa you should apply for.
You could also do the research yourself. GOV.UK has information depending on what visa you’ll need.
You’ll need to gather the right evidence and pay (up to £1,000) before you apply.
There are other ways to legalise your stay, for example if you have children living in the UK or you’re married to a British citizen.
You won't be entitled to the same rights if you overstay - eg if you were entitled to work before you overstayed, you'll have to stop until you get a decision on your new application.
Leaving the UK
If you don’t leave voluntarily within 90 days, you could be deported.
If you leave voluntarily after 90 days, you could be banned from re-entering the UK for between 1 and 10 years. How long you’re banned for depends on:
- when you leave the UK
- whether you leave voluntarily or you’re deported
- whether you’re able to pay to go back to your home country
Your rights as an overstayer
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve overstayed for - you can still:
- send children to school until they turn 16
- use emergency services in the UK (police, fire and ambulance)
- get essential and emergency healthcare, including treatment if you’re having a baby