Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

If you've overstayed your visa or leave

This advice applies to Wales

If you’ve stayed longer than you're allowed to under your visa or leave, this is called overstaying. You'll have 30 days to leave the country from the date it expired. If you’re an overstayer and want to stay in the UK, you should check what you can do.

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

Coronavirus - if your visa is ending and you can’t leave the UK

If your visa expires at any time from 24 January to 31 August 2020, the Home Office will continue to let you stay until 31 August.

You should contact the Home Office if you can’t leave by 31 August because for example:

  • you have a medical condition which makes you ‘extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus – check if you’re extremely vulnerable on GOV.UK
  • the country you need to go to won’t let you in because of coronavirus
  • you can’t arrange travel in time

You should tell the Home Office using the contact details on GOV.UK. You’ll need to give evidence of why you can’t leave in time.

The Home Office won't remind you when your visa or leave expires. Check your biometric residence permit or any stamp or sticker in your passport if you’re not sure if you’ve overstayed.

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 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. You won’t be an overstayer if your application’s valid.

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 before your family permit, residence card or visa expired, you can stay in the UK until you get a decision. You won’t be an overstayer if your application’s valid.

If you applied for a residence card and your family permit or visa expires after you applied, you’ll be an overstayer from the expiry date on your permit.

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

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.

Did this advice help?
Why wasn't this advice helpful?

Please tell us more about why our advice didn't help.

Did this advice help?

Thank you, your feedback has been submitted.