Immigration Corner: How do I extend my time in the UK?
Dear Mr Bassie,
I am going to visit my aunt in England for two weeks and it is my first visit to that country. My aunt is very excited and wants me to stay as long as possible. How difficult is it for me to extend my visa if I decide to stay longer?
I am assuming that you have obtained a General Visitor visa.
It will be possible for a person to extend a General Visitor visa as long as the total time that he/she plans to spend in the United Kingdom is less than six months. For instance, if a person has applied for a three-month visa, then he/she can apply to extend it for a further three more months. Please be aware that a person should apply for the extension before the current visa expires.
In order for a person to be eligible to extend the visa, he/she must apply while still being in the United Kingdom. When a person would like to extend his/her visa, it is recommended that the form and guidance be downloaded from the www.gov.uk/government/publications website and the application made by post. The address where to send the application is on the form. However, a person may download the form and apply in person at a Premium Service Centre.
The fees at present are £601 if the application to extend the visa is made by post and £1,001 if it is made in person. With respect to how long the application will take to be processed, a decision will be made within eight weeks for postal applications and usually on the same day if the applicant uses the premium service. However, the applicant will be contacted and informed if his/her application is complex and will take longer.
The delay of an application may occur for any number of reasons, for example, an applicant's supporting documents may need to be verified, or the applicant may need to attend an interview; or it may be because of that applicant's personal circumstances, for example, he/she may have a criminal conviction.
An applicant should be aware that once the application has been made, then he/she can stay in the United Kingdom until the applicant has been given a decision, that is as long as the application was made before the last visa has expired.
Please note that on a General Visitor Visa a person can stay in the United Kingdom for a maximum of six months.
n John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law, who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:email@example.com