Certain nationalities can travel to the UK without a visa because of immigration deals with the UK which provide visa-free access to citizens of eligible countries. However, visiting the UK with a specific travel authorization is necessary for travelers from various countries.
Some nationalities, such as citizens from the UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, have the ability to apply for an electronic visa waiver for the UK, also known as a UK EVW, that allows individuals to apply for and receive their travel authorization digitally.
Whether a person travels to the UK with an electronic visa waiver or a traditional visa, it is essential that they ensure not to overstay the allotted time period as stated on their visa. The reason for this being that the situation can become complicated and uncomfortable for any travelers who overstay on a UK visa. It is officially a criminal offense to remain in the UK past a visa expiration date, therefore, all travelers are strongly recommended to leave the UK before the end of the validity of their UK visa waiver or traditional embassy visa.
Visiting the UK with an Electronic Visa
By applying for and being granted a UK visa waiver electronically, visitors are allowed to enter the UK for a continuous period of 6 months. This travel authorization permits individuals to remain in the UK for tourism, business, medical, and study purposes.
The electronic visa only permits a single entry to the UK, therefore, upon leaving the UK, despite the amount of time that has elapsed since you entered, you will be required to apply for a new visa before being permitted to return.
The online visa application form is straightforward and easy to fill out and can be completed in a matter of minutes. In as little as 24 hours, the approved electronic visa waiver can be sent to the applicant via email, where they will find a link that allows them to download their eVisa before traveling to the UK.
What Happens If I Overstay my UK Visa?
It is vitally important for travelers to know the date of expiration for their visa. The British Home Office makes it very clear to UK visa-holders that they must respect the validity period allowed by their visa or EVW.
If a person, who is in the UK with any type of visa and is not a permanent residence, finds themselves overstaying the expiration date of their visa, they could face legal action.
Initially, for the Home Office, the individual becomes known as an ‘overstayer’ and there are certain regulations that apply in this instance.
It is essential to understand that overstaying a UK visa is a criminal offense and can lead to serious consequences if the traveler is not forthcoming about the reasons why they have had to overstay their UK visa.
There is a 30-day period, once a UK visa expires, that means individuals can leave the country of their own accord without facing any future re-entry consequences. If they do not take advantage of this time to leave the UK, they may be forcibly deported, detained, or face other sanctions.
The most likely scenario for people who overstay their visa in the UK without reason is that they will be confronted with a future ban on entering the country. The terms for this type of ban depend entirely on the conditions of the individual’s exit from the UK.
How to Avoid Overstaying a UK Visa
In order to make sure that UK visa overstays do not take place, there are certain allowances that permit travelers to avoid any unwanted legal action.
Generally speaking, once a person realizes that they are close to the expiration date of their visa, they should begin the process to either request a new visa if their situation has changed or apply for a renewal of their current visa. These procedures take time but while the applicant can demonstrate that they are in the process of applying for the legal right to be in the country, they are not considered an overstayer and will not face deportation or detainment.
Another of the regulations surrounding overstayers in immigration refers to the rule known as the ‘14 day with good reason’ rule. This clause allows for a grace period for those travelers who were unable to avoid the overstay in the UK. For example, if an individual must undergo emergency treatment in hospital and is unable to leave the country by the visa validity date or make the relevant application for a new visa, they are permitted to give evidence to show this to the appropriate authorities who will grant them this extra stay. However, the extension is only valid for 14 days and any reason for overstaying the visa must be validated by the authorities.
In any case, it is advisable for all travelers who hold a UK visa to be aware of the expiry date and ensure to leave the country by this date in order to best avoid any issues with immigration and border control.