How to Extend your Visa in the UK

If you are residing in the UK on a visa, you are able to apply for an extension to remain in the country after your original expiry date. This allows you to have more time with family and friends, stay in your job or even study.

As you may expect, the type of application process you will need to go through depends on the visa classification you are using. What does remain the same, however, is the need to apply for an extension before your current visa expires – as failure to do so will mean you are overstaying.

Because the application process can often be complicated and time-consuming, it is recommended that you seek professional advice before proceeding. With this in mind, we have outlined the necessary steps for each visa classification.

Visitor Visa

suitcase and bag in airport

If you currently hold a standard visitor visa, you will be able to apply to remain in the UK as long as your total length of stay does not exceed six months. This means that if your original visa was for two months, for example, you would be able to apply for an extension for up to four additional months. 

As part of the application process, you will need to prove the following things:

  • Your intent to leave the UK 
  • How you will fund your outbound travel from the UK
  • How you intend to financially support yourself and any dependents during your extended stay
  • What you intend to do while you remain in the UK (specifically how this complies with your original visa requirements).

If you are requesting to remain in the UK while you seek medical treatment, you will need to provide additional items from a medical practitioner or registered NHS consultant. These are:

  • A letter stating how long the treatment is expected to last
  • Evidence that you have arranged medical consultations and/or treatment
  • Details of your progress if the treatment has already been carried out

There are also different requirements if you are visiting the UK as an organ donor or academic, so it is important to get expert assistance to ensure you remain in the country lawfully.

Investor Visa

Obtaining an extension on your investor visa will grant you an additional two years of time in the UK. After this point, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

To be successful in your extension application, you will need to prove that you are still meeting the criteria that was set out when you initially received your visa. You must also have at least £2 million under your control in the UK and have invested this amount in either share capital, UK Government Bonds or loan capital in existing UK companies. This amount must have been invested within three months of your “investor start date”.

The process for extending your investor visa can be quite complicated and you may be asked to attend an interview. You will also be required to provide documents to prove your identity.

If you are requesting an extension from inside the UK, you can either apply online or use the premium service. In both cases, you will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge. Should you be outside of the UK at the time of application, you will need to submit your request online.

Entrepreneur Visa 

man in business suit

Much like the Investor Visa, successfully obtaining an extension to your Entrepreneur Visa will also give you an additional two years in the UK – and potentially set you up to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The application process for an extension is also the same.

However, the eligibility requirements for an extension are different. To start with, you must have invested at least £200,000 in cash (or £50,000 if your initial visa application was granted with funds from an additional source) in one or more UK companies. 

You will also have to be registered as self-employed or a company director within six months of receiving your original visa and that you are still in a similar position in the three months prior to your extension application. The final criteria is that you have created at least two full-time jobs for a minimum of 12 months prior to your application.

Tier 2 (General) Visa

To extend your Tier 2 Workers’ Visa, you must still satisfy all of the requirements imposed when you were first allowed to stay in the UK. You must also be living in the UK at the time of your extension application.

In addition, you should be able to prove that you still:

  • Have the same job as when you applied for your original visa
  • Work for the same employer that is responsible for your certificate of sponsorship
  • Earn an “appropriate” salary for your job

You are able to extend your visa for up to an additional five years, however your total stay in the UK must not exceed six years. The process usually takes up to eight weeks if you are using the standard method.

When applying for your extension, you will need to include any dependents who were listed on your first visa. Should any of these children have turned 18 by the time you want to extend, they will need to submit their own application in conjunction with yours.

Student Visa

student with shadow wearing graduation robes

If you wish to extend your Tier 4 Student Visa, you must be in the UK at the time of your application, meet all requirements set out by the Home Office and have a sponsor. Your sponsor must be either: 

  • A UK or overseas higher education provider
  • An embedded college offering pathway courses
  • An independent school

You should also apply for your extension within six months of receiving confirmation that you are able to commence your studies and before your current visa expires. 

Tier 5 Visa

Since there are different categories of Tier 5 Visas, the eligibility requirements will vary. The only point that remains the same is the fact you must be inside the UK at the point of application.

Creative workers can extend their visa up to the following timeframes, whichever is shortest:

  • 12 months
  • The time on your current certificate of sponsorship, plus 14 days
  • Up to the point where you have remained in the UK for a total of two years

It is also important to note that you will be only able to extend your visa if you still have the same sponsor.

For a sportsperson, you can extend your visa up to the following timescales, whichever is shortest:

  • 12 months
  • The time on your current certificate of sponsorship, plus 14 days

Spouse Visa

two heart shaped jigsaw pieces fitted together

You are able to apply for an extension to your spousal visa once you have 28 days remaining on your current visa. It is advisable that you submit your application as early as possible within this 28-day window.

When applying for an extension to a spousal visa, you will be expected to pay an application fee, the immigration surcharge and for your biometric information to be submitted again. The entire standard process will take between eight and twelve weeks depending on whether you are inside of the UK at the time of your application. 

Extend or Settle? 

Depending on which visa you have and how long you have already spent in the UK, you might be entitled to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain instead of just asking for an extension. This will enable you to remain in the UK without restrictions.

There are strict eligibility requirements that you must meet and different criteria that depend on which visa you are currently holding. As such it is essential that you seek professional advice before deciding your next move.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help The process of extending your UK visa can be expensive and time-consuming, so you should always speak to an expert before you begin your application. At Shams Williams, we have amassed several years of experience in helping clients remain in the UK. Our expert team of immigration solicitors can guide you through the entire process, so you can be confident that everything is being taken care of. We are also able to help if your visa application has been turned down previously. No matter your situation, you can rely on our support from beginning to end.

The process of extending your UK visa can be expensive and time-consuming, so you should always speak to an expert before you begin your application. At Shams Williams, we have amassed several years of experience in helping clients remain in the UK.

Our expert team of immigration solicitors can guide you through the entire process, so you can be confident that everything is being taken care of. We are also able to help if your visa application has been turned down previously. Whatever your situation, you can rely on our support from beginning to end.

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