If you hold a valid UK Visa, depending on its category, you may be eligible to extend it. This allows you to extend your stay in the UK, usually by double the time (an extension effectively renews your full visa, so it lasts as long as the original).
A benefit of renewing your visa is that doing so can often help you qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This is a form of settlement that usually requires you to have been ‘continuously resident’ in the UK for at least five years, though there are some exceptions to this.
Not every visa has the option for extending; you are usually only able to extend permanent visa types. The types of visa you can renew include:
- Tier 1 Visas for ‘highly-valued’ migrants (entrepreneurs/investors/exceptionally talented people)
- Tier 2 Visas for skilled workers
- Spouse Visas
- ‘Family Visas’ under the ancestry category
You can extend other visa types, within limits. For example, you can extend a Visitor Visa, but only to six months in total if you haven’t used those up on your initial application. For instance, if you’d originally applied for a three-month Visitor Visa, you may be eligible to extend it for a further three months during your first three-month stay. To do this, you would need to provide proof that the circumstances of your visit have changed to a point where an extension is necessary.
Visa renewal process
To renew any of the above-listed visas, you will need to provide evidence that shows you continue to meet the visa requirements for that category.
This means you will need to prove that you have not only fulfilled the conditions of your current visa but also that you will do so in the future.
So, you will need to provide documents that demonstrate this, and this process is very similar to when you apply for your first visa.
Tier 1 Visa extensions
You can extend any of the following types of Tier 1 Visa:
This lasts five years and can be extended by a further five years. Requirements including
This lasts three years and four months and can be extended by a further two years. You need to have invested a certain amount of money into UK businesses and companies to be eligible.
This lasts three years and can be extended by a further three years. You need to show that the business you set up is profitable and viable.
You cannot extend a Tier 1 Start-up Visa (formerly Graduate Entrepreneur) but you can switch to an Innovator Visa (formerly Entrepreneur).
Tier 2 Visa extensions
This type of visa lasts for five years and can be extended for a further five years.
You can extend a Tier 2 Work Visa if you satisfy the following requirements:
- You’re still in the same job that you started with when you came to the UK
- You’re still working for the same employer, your UK sponsor
- You’re still earning the ‘appropriate salary’ as outlined by the immigration guidelines
Spouse Visa extensions
You can extend a Spouse Visa after two and a half years, by a further two and a half years.
You will meet the requirements for a Spouse Visa extension if:
- You have lived with your partner in a genuine, committed relationship for the duration of your visa
- You and your partner’s combined income still meets the Spouse Visa financial requirements
- You are still in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your British/settled spouse
- You still have adequate accommodation set up which meets the Home Office’s accommodation requirements
Family Visa extensions
As well as a Spouse Visa, you can also apply for an extension to other types of Family Visa, including the UK Ancestry Visa.
This visa lasts for five years and can be extended for a further five years. You need to have been working in the UK during your time on the visa.