What does it mean to Switch Your visa?
Switching your visa is a process when you change your UK visa into another. It always needs to be done before your UK visa expires.
You cannot allow your visa to expire as you risk losing your UK immigration rights and overstaying your visa.
Overstaying your visa means to continue to be in the UK without a valid UK visa. It is not advisable to overstay your visa as the Home Office keeps its records and it may result in:
- Automatic rejection of your new visa application;
- Having to return to your home country on the border;
- Your removal or deportation to your country of origin if you continue to live in the UK without a visa;
- You being banned from travelling to the UK for 10 years. There’s a list of people who are not allowed to enter the UK or to be never issued a visa. In no circumstance, you want to end up on that list.
Why would you want to switch your UK visa?
The ultimate reason why you would want to switch your visa is because you are not the UK immigration route you want to be.
Your Visa is Temporary
For instance, there are a number of UK visas that are temporary in nature and purposefully do not allow you to settle.
These are the examples of temporary visa:
- Graduate visa
- Creative Worker
- Charity Worker
- Religious Worker
- Government Authorised Exchange
- International Agreement
- Graduate Trainee (Global Business Mobility)
- Service Supplier (Global Business Mobility)
- UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility)
- Secondment Worker (Global Business Mobility)
- Seasonal Worker
Your Circumstances Have Changed
Your circumstances have changed. For instance:
- You are currently on a spouse visa sponsored by your spouse in the UK. However, your marriage broke down and you want an alternative to continue to stay in the UK. Depending on your circumstances, you will be looking to switch to another family visa if you have a British child or depending on your employer, a skilled worker visa may be a better fit.
- Conversely, you came to the UK on one visa, you met your spouse in the UK. Your spouse meets the financial requirement and agrees to sponsor your UK visa. You get married. A spouse visa may be a more suitable option for you as your circumstances have changed. Depending on where you choose to marry your spouse, you may need the appropriate visa. To get married in the UK, you need to have a fiancée visa.
- You are a dependent on a skilled worker or ancestry visa and your or your partner’s circumstances have changed.
You want your talent to be recognised
A UK Global Talent visa may be an attractive option if you meet the necessary visa requirements. This means that you are an industry leader or have a promise to become such a leader.
For instance, you may wish to explore your options to switch from a skilled worker to a Global Talent visa as it no longer restricts your choice of employers and allows you to receive the necessary awards and accolades in order to advance your career.
The Mechanics of Switching Your Visa
This is a rough mechanism to switch your UK visa:
- Switch your visa before your current visa expires
- Make sure you, your partner or your employer meet the necessary visa requirements
- Plan in advance and be aware that this may be a time-consuming process
- Try to get a better visa than you are currently on
- Does your new visa allow you to switch in the UK or you need to leave the UK and apply from overseas?
What happens when Your UK Visa is rejected?
UK visa application is a detailed and demanding process and I encourage you not to leave this complex process to chance.
Working with a qualified professional may reduce the chances of your UK visa application and endorsement being rejected. It is important that you work with a duly qualified, authorised and experienced professional.
If you missed the step of working with a duly authorised professional or your UK visa application was rejected anyway, depending on the reasons why your application was rejected, you may still be eligible to apply again.
This time you will need to make sure that your application is well prepared and you address Home Office’s concerns.
The worst you can do is do nothing. Non-action will endorse Home Office’s decision and will leave a poor UK immigration record, which can cause hardship and impediments later.
Get It Right from the Start!
I am an OISC regulated UK immigration adviser and I can help you to secure your British citizenship or an indefinite leave to remain (or settled status for EU/EEA and Swiss citizens) and help you with any UK immigration application, book a call with me.
You will be first guided to a payment page when you choose “book a call” option. After making the payment, you will be able to choose the most convenient date and time for our Zoom meeting. You can report a payment issue here.
Saule Voluckyte, M.A.E.S, LL.B, FAIA
I have been working exclusively with UHNWI in Mayfair, London since January 2008. I built specialist knowledge and expertise required to serve ultra high net worth individuals investing, operating and relocating to the UK or Switzerland.
Within the industry, I am the single adviser who is able to traverse the different areas of expertise and bring a comprehensive approach across: global structuring, UK immigration, international taxation and FOREX to develop their global wealth strategy, while they build, grow and expand their wealth worldwide.
Previous experience as one of the senior advisors for the government, made me a go-to person when delicate and uncomfortable scenarios involving heads of state need to be handled with care and preserve privacy.