News & Insights

Waiting for Permission to Remain in the UK – What You Can and Can’t Do

In-country applicants for permission to remain in the UK should be careful not to do anything which might impact on the prospects of their pending application.

If you’ve made an application to stay in the UK, such as an application to extend your visa or an application for indefinite leave to remain, there are certain activities that you should avoid while your decision is pending.

Remaining in the UK

It is not unusual for an applicant to submit an application to switch or extend their visa shortly before their visa expires, and for their old visa to then run out while awaiting a decision. Provided that the new application is submitted before the previous visa expires, the applicant can remain in the UK during this period – their leave will be automatically extended until a decision is made. Indeed, as we will get onto, the applicant should remain in the UK until they receive a decision.

The conditions of the old visa will also continue to apply to the applicant until a decision on their new application is confirmed, including any restrictions on working hours or roles.

Travelling outside of the UK

Where an applicant has made an in-country application (that is, an application to remain in the UK), they should avoid leaving the Common Travel Area (CTA) until they receive a decision on their application. The CTA includes the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.

If an applicant leaves the UK while a decision is pending, then the application is likely to be treated as withdrawn. In the case of an applicant whose leave to remain has expired by the time they leave the UK, this would mean that they would be unable to re-enter the UK (except, perhaps, as a visitor) without making a new entry application.

Processing times for applications vary, and the Home Office is not obliged to comply with their own estimates. We would therefore recommend avoiding making holiday plans, where possible, in circumstances where you know that an application to remain is likely to still be outstanding by that time.

Starting a new job

If an applicant is making a change of employment application under the Skilled Worker route, they should not start their new role until the visa application has been approved. However, provided they make the application in time (i.e., before their old leave expires), they can continue to work in their old role while awaiting a decision. Even after receiving a positive decision on a change of employment application, an applicant can continue to work in their old role for the duration of their notice period with their previous employer.

In certain circumstances, applicants who are presently on Student visas but who have applied to switch to Graduate or Skilled Worker visas may be able to start work for their new employer before receiving a decision on their application. We would recommend obtaining legal advice before doing this however, as the applicable conditions are complex and whether this is an option available to the applicant will depend on their specific circumstances.

If you would like advice on your application to remain in the UK, please get in touch at [email protected]