If you've overstayed your visa or leave

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

If you’ve stayed longer than you're allowed to under your visa or leave, this is called overstaying. If you’re an overstayer and want to stay in the UK, you should check what you can do.

The Home Office won't remind you when your visa or leave expires. If you’re not sure when your leave expires, check your biometric residence permit, online immigration status or any stamp or sticker in your passport.

You might also be treated as an overstayer if you:

  • got your visa by fraud or you used false documents

  • didn’t mention something that could have led to your visa being refused, like having a criminal record

If you’ve applied to stay in the UK for longer

If you applied for a new visa before your old one expired, you can stay in the UK until you get a decision. If your application is valid you won’t be an overstayer.

The Home Office can refuse your application if you:

  • overstayed for longer than 14 days - even if you had a good reason

  • overstayed without a good reason

If you’re the non-EEA family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen

You can check what countries are in the European Economic Area (EEA) if you're not sure. 

If you applied for pre-settled or settled status, you can usually stay in the UK until you get a decision.

Find out if you qualify as a family member of an EU, European Economic Area (EEA) EEA or Swiss citizen and what you can do to stay in the UK.

If there was a reason you missed the deadline

You might still be able to apply for a new visa if you can prove you couldn’t renew your visa in time because of something you had no control over - like if you were in hospital. You’ll have to apply and give your reason within 14 days of the date your visa or leave expired.

It's best to get help proving you had a good reason for missing the deadline. Read more about finding an immigration specialist. Using a specialist might be quicker but you may have to pay. 

You won't be entitled to the same rights if you overstay even if you apply within 14 days of your leave expiring. For example if you were entitled to work before you overstayed, you won't be allowed to anymore.

Leaving the UK

If you don’t leave voluntarily within 30 days of your visa or leave expiring, you could be deported. Check what to do if you're going to be deported

If you leave after 30 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 afford the cost of returning to your home country

You won’t be barred from re-entering if you’re applying for a partner or family visa or were under 18 when you overstayed. 

The overstaying might still be held against you on future visa applications. For example, if you’re applying for a visitor or student visa where you must show you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit or studies.

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)

You can also get essential and emergency healthcare, including treatment if you’re having a baby. 

You might be charged for some treatment after receiving it. Check when you might have to pay for your treatment.

Page last reviewed on 22 August 2019