If you have acquired a visit visa in order to undertake a clinical attachment, or if a family member has come to visit you on a visit visa, there may be circumstances in which you want to extend your visa and stay in the country for a few extra months, perhaps in order to attend an ID check or exam, or for private medical treatment. In this article, we will be explaining how you can apply for an extension on your visitor visa, and the steps involved in this.
If you have not yet obtained a visitor visa, but would like more information regarding this, you can read our blog article about obtaining a visit visa to attend an ID check, or our article about obtaining a visit visa for family members.
The maximum period of time you can spend in the UK on a visit visa is 6 months, so you can only extend your visa by the amount of time that will take you up to that 6-month point. For example, if you currently have a three month visit visa, you may only extend your visa for an extra three months.
In order for your application to be considered valid, you will need to apply whilst you are still in the UK, before your current visa expires, and you may not leave the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man between the time of your application and the time you receive a decision, if you do leave the country during this time, your application will automatically be withdrawn.
Generally speaking, you will not be permitted to extend a visit visa beyond six months. However, in exceptional circumstances, you may be able to apply. You may attempt to apply for an extension beyond six months if you are receiving private medical treatment in the UK and have already paid for the treatment/are able to and intend to pay for further costs of your treatment. Under these circumstances, you will need to provide documentation from a medical practitioner or NHS consultant registered in the UK, evidencing your consultations or treatments, they will also need to outline how long your treatment is likely to last, and details of your treatment progress, if it has already begun. You must also continue to meet the visit visa eligibility requirements. These are:
You will need to apply for an extension online, here. It is important to note, that you are only able to add dependents to your application if you are in the UK on an academic visit visa, if not, your dependent will be required to submit their own extension application.
Upon applying for an extension, you will be required to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point, where you will need to provide fingerprints and a photo (biometric information), and where you may need to provide your supporting documentation as well.
During your application, you will be asked to provide some documents to support your application. You can either upload these documents online or have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment.
The only document you are required to provide is a valid passport or travel document.
There are extra supporting documents that you may wish to provide if you feel that it may strengthen your application, but they are not mandatory. We would recommend that you provide them though. These documents are:
It will cost £993 to extend your visit visa and an additional £800 if you wish to use the super priority service to speed up the process. It will also cost £19.20 to have your biometric information taken at your UKVCAS appointment.
When reviewing your application, UKVCAS will consider the following things:
If you apply for an extension despite not meeting the requirements, obviously, your application may simply be denied, however they may also give you a visa for a shorter period than you requested, and you will not be offered a refund for your application. The worst-case scenario would be that you may receive a long-term ban, and have your visa terminated if your previous travel history suggests that you are repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods on a visit visa.
If you opt to use their standard service, you should receive a response within 8 weeks. If you opt for their super priority service, they will come to a decision by the end of the next working day following your UKVCAS appointment. If your appointment takes place on a weekend, they will come to a decision two working days after your UKVCAS appointment.
It’s important to note that the UKVCAS’ working days are Monday to Friday, and they also do not work bank holidays.
In certain occasions, your application may be delayed if they need to contact you to verify your supporting documents, if you are required to attend an interview, or if there are complex personal circumstances, for example, if you have a criminal conviction.
Once you have applied, you may stay in the UK until they have reached a decision, if your current visa is still valid.
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Government Digital Service (2015). Standard Visitor visa. [Online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/extend-your-visa [Accessed 29 Jan. 2020].
Visit Guidance. (n.d.). [Online] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/827480/Visit-guidance-v9.0ext.pdf [Accessed 29 Jan. 2020].
Government Digital Service (2015). Standard Visitor visa. [Online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/eligibility [Accessed 29 Jan. 2020].
UK Visas and Immigration (2019). Guide to supporting documents: visiting the UK. [Online]. GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visitor-visa-guide-to-supporting-documents/guide-to-supporting-documents-visiting-the-uk [Accessed 29 Jan. 2020].