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Tony M

UK visit visa refusals for staying longer than requested

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From time to time we see mention of someone who has stayed longer in the UK than they originally asked for in their application, and the general feeling, and comments, is that there is no harm in this as long as the visa holder doesn't overstay. You might therefore find this very recent visa refusal notice interesting :

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I have to say that I've never been in the camp that says it doesn't matter if you fully utilise the time granted in a visa having applied for a visa for a short holiday, my view has always been that if you stay longer than you advise in the initial application then, whilst the change of plan could all be above board, it could cause your reasons to return into question in a future application.

I did note than in the refusal the ECO has acknowledged that no Immigration Law has been breached.

I would always advise that if you make a further application following an "overstay", especially if the visit has been extended by a considerable time, then you fully explain the reasons in a subsequent application.

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Someone who stays for 5 months can only rarely be considered a true visitor so I have some sympathy with the ECO. 4 weeks becoming 5 months really does require an explanation as it does bring into doubt the original purpose of the visa application and does raise doubt regarding the honesty of the applicant.

If there was a major change in the visa holders situation that justified the difference then it should be explained!

What is missing from the visa armoury is a type that allows these 'in between a visit and settlement' that UKVI and the NHS could charge handsomely for!

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Tony, do you know if the ECO's are using the stamps in the passports to ascertain how long the applicant stayed in the UK, or are they becoming more joined up and accessing the information carriers are now collecting on embarkation?

An applicant could have left the UK on time but stopped off on the way back home, and of course if they used the automatic gates the passport wouldn't have a stamp.

It could of course be that the applicant was open and honest in their subsequent application, which would mean my earlier post may not hold water.

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I think the pertinent point in the refusal is "it is not clear why you stayed for this extended period when you stated your intentions to travel 'for 4 weeks only.' This leads me to be dissatisfied .......that you intend to stay for your proposed visit of 2 months on this occasion."

The applicant apparently did not explain in this application why they stated in their previous application that they would only be visiting for 4 weeks but then stayed in the UK for 5 months. Thus, understandably, damaging their credibility in this application; and it appears future ones as well.

We all know that the applicant did not break any rule by staying longer than intended, as the ECO acknowledges, but saying one intends to visit for 4 weeks and then staying for 5 months takes some explaining!

Especially if in the original application the applicant said they had to return after 4 weeks for work or similar.

Over the years I have been involved in forums such as this I have seen many posts from people asking if their visitor should say in the application that they only want to stay for a few weeks, even though they actually intend staying much longer, even for the full 6 months. This refusal shows the danger of doing this. Always tell the truth; if the intention is to stay for 6 months, say so in the application.

Circumstances do change, and a visitor may be able to extend their stay, or even have to; which could be the case here. But the extended stay, especially one of 5 times the period originally stated, does need to be satisfactorily explained in subsequent applications.

But at the end of the day, tell the truth in the application; if the intention is to visit for 6 months, say so!

I am making general comments and, of course, do not know the reasons why this applicant stayed so much longer than originally stated; I am certainly not implying that they lied in their original application.

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Tony, do you know if the ECO's are using the stamps in the passports to ascertain how long the applicant stayed in the UK, or are they becoming more joined up and accessing the information carriers are now collecting on embarkation?

An applicant could have left the UK on time but stopped off on the way back home, and of course if they used the automatic gates the passport wouldn't have a stamp.

It could of course be that the applicant was open and honest in their subsequent application, which would mean my earlier post may not hold water.

I don't know anything about the application. I was only made aware of the refusal. However, the ECO could have used stamps in the passport and there aren't that many countries where you won't get a stamp to show you have entered or left. Also, the question on the application form, asking which countries the applicant has visited in the previous 10 years, would hopefully be answered honestly.

The most recent guidance to ECO's does give the ECO the "right" to to question previous visits to the UK by an applicant. It says :

Assessing an applicant’s personal circumstances
In addition to meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules, the following factors will help you assess if an applicant is a genuine visitor:
 Their previous immigration history, including visits to the UK and other countries.
The duration of previous visits and whether this was significantly longer than they originally stated on their visa application. If this is the case, you should not automatically presume that the visitor is non-compliant, but this may be a reason to question the applicant’s overall intentions.
 Their financial circumstances as well as their family, social and economic background.
 Their personal and economic ties to their country of residence.
 The cumulative period of time the applicant has visited the UK and their pattern of travel over the last 12 month period, and assess whether this amounts to ‘de-facto’ residence in the UK.
 Whether, in your judgment, the information and the reasons for the visit provided by the applicant are credible and correspond to their personal, family, social and economic background.

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"Question the applicant's overall intentions."

The key part of the refusal IMO. How many people can go for a month's visit then decide to stay for five times that length? Without more information specific to this case, it is difficult to be absolutely confident that the ECO was right or not. On the face of it, this may well be the appropriate result.

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The issues revolve around people trying to bypass settlement rules and staying in the UK for as long as they can. A four week visit that becomes five months suggests that (without a good explanation) this is more than a visit.

No, the applicant has not broken the rules but the more this happens the more likely it is that the system will be changed to stop it. How long will it be before a visa for a four week stay is valid for four weeks only?

Most people would struggle to justify a five month visit actually being a true visit!

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The issues revolve around people trying to bypass settlement rules and staying in the UK for as long as they can. A four week visit that becomes five months suggests that (without a good explanation) this is more than a visit.

No, the applicant has not broken the rules but the more this happens the more likely it is that the system will be changed to stop it. How long will it be before a visa for a four week stay is valid for four weeks only?

Most people would struggle to justify a five month visit actually being a true visit!

Why?

They originally planned to stay 4 weeks but discovered that they liked it enough to stay for (most of) the full 6 months that they have been granted

So should they have requested a 5 month stay in the first place then?

Would they have been granted it? If not why was a 6 month visa issued when 4 weeks was applied for?

It's not logical to grant something and then penalise someone for using it!

Failure to explain the reason(s) associated with the extended stay are the basis for refusal.

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