News & Insights

Pending Immigration Applications – Can You Travel?

This article will explore when those with pending immigration application are and are not able to travel abroad.

Those in the UK with a pending immigration application:

It is strongly advised that travelling abroad (outside the Common Travel Area (CTA) – consisting of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man) whilst an application for leave to remain or settlement is pending should be avoided at all costs, as this will result in the application being treated as withdrawn.

Paragraph 34K of the Immigration Rules on 6 October 2021 clarified that when someone applies for a visa from within the UK, they should not travel outside the CTA as the UKVI will treat the application as withdrawn. However, there is evidence to suggest that, in practice, the immigration system has not been strict on implementing this rule, but for the avoidance of doubt, we would advise applicants to remain in the CTA. This is especially important since the Home Office is beginning to implement a fully digital border, which you can read more about here

Those outside the UK with a pending immigration application:

It is also strongly advised that applicants with an entry clearance application pending, should not travel to the UK until they receive a decision. Non-visa nationals (i.e. those not on the visa nationals list) can enter the UK whilst they have an active application.  Current legislation requires those individuals to leave the UK and re enter once their visa is approved. Non visa nationals are admitted as visitors on arrival to the UK and are not permitted to work until they return to the UK on a work visa.

If you have any immigration queries, please contact the team at [email protected].