Immigration Corner: My visa expired, now what?
Dear Mr Bassie,
I travelled to the United Kingdom on a visitor's visa. I am presently there and my leave on my visitor's visa has expired. What options are available to me?
I am not fully apprised of your current situation, however, a person must return home voluntarily if he/she is in the United Kingdom unlawfully or if that person's leave has expired. If a person is in this situation then he/she can contact the central voluntary departures team to find out what help is available to him/her. The contact information is:
Central Voluntary Departures Teamvoluntarydeparturequeries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 004 0202
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fax: 0870 336 9544
Anyone contacting the team will need to advise them of their Home Office reference, if known; his/her full name, date of birth and nationality; telephone number and current address; the details of the travel documents held, for example, the details of the passport or emergency travel document, and whether it is valid; and if he/she has any dependents under 18.
Please be aware that if a person's passport or travel document is being held by the Home Office, it will be returned to that person as he/she is about to leave the United Kingdom. In addition, that person may be eligible to get help with the cost of his/her flight.
A person is eligible to get assistance with voluntary departure if he/she is 18 years or over, and if one of the following conditions apply: The person has been refused leave to remain in the United Kingdom; a person has applied to extend his/her leave but now would like to withdraw the application and return to his/her home country, if that person is in the United Kingdom unlawfully. A person might also be able to get help for family groups that include at least one child under 18 years of age and if that child is in the United Kingdom unlawfully.
Persons should speak to the team before they make a reservation for their flight. At that point, the team will advise those persons as to how long it will take to arrange their return.
assisted voluntary return programme
There is an assisted voluntary return programme. A person might be eligible for the 'assisted voluntary return' programme if he/she has claimed asylum, has been refused asylum, has been granted discretionary (temporary) leave to remain, or is in the United Kingdom unlawfully.
A person can also contact the Choices Service run by Refugee Action. This organisation is an independent charity that can give a person free and confidential advice about how he/she can return home, get travel documents and financial help.
The organisation can be contacted at:
Telephone: 0808 800 0007
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org