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Section 3C Leave

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Don’t you just hate it when UK Immigration Solicitors quote a section of immigration law at you and expect you to know what it means?

At OTS Solicitors our immigration lawyers work hard to keep things simple when we help individuals with their immigration law problems.

In this blog, we look at what section 3C leave is and what UK Immigration Solicitors mean by it.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on immigration law call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

What is section 3C?

When UK Immigration Solicitors refer to section 3C they are referring to section 3 of the 1971 Immigration Act.

The section may help if you make a visa application before your current visa has expired but your visa ends before you get a decision from the Home Office on your new visa application.

What is section 3C leave?

If you apply for a new visa before the expiry date on your old visa you are not treated by the Home Office as an overstayer if the Home Office does not decide on your new visa application before your old one expires and you are left in limbo in the UK without a current valid visa.

What is section 3C protection?

Section 3C of the 1971 Act gives you protection from being classed as an overstayer in your immigration records if you make any one of the following applications and the application is not decided before your old visa runs out:

  • A visa application – that could be for any type of visa such as a skilled worker visa extension or a spouse visa extension or an application to switch from a start-up visa to an innovator visa
  • An application for indefinite leave to remain
  • An application for an administrative review of a Home Office decision
  • An immigration appeal to either an immigration tribunal or to the Court of Appeal

When doesn’t section 3C leave apply?

Section 3C leave does not apply to your situation if your limited leave to remain in the UK has already ended because your visa was allowed to expire before you made a fresh application or a visa switch application. In addition, section 3C leave ends if your Home Office application is rejected because it is invalid.

If you aren’t sure whether you have section 3C leave or not and are worried about the implications for you then call our UK Immigration Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Section 3C leave conditions

UK Immigration Solicitors are asked what a section 3C leave holder can do whilst they are in the UK on section 3C leave. Some think it must be like some form of house arrest whilst others assume they are free from the shackles of previous immigration conditions.

The truth is that it is ‘business as usual’. If you are in the UK on section 3C leave you are still under an obligation to comply with the visa conditions imposed on your old visa. For example, if you are in the UK on an expired skilled worker visa and you have a pending application for a new visa you can only work for a sponsoring employer with a sponsor licence.

When does section 3C leave stop?

UK Immigration Solicitors say it is vital to understand how long section 3C leave lasts for. If you don’t understand when section 3C leave lapses you could end up classed as an overstayer with all the immigration law consequences for your immigration record or future visa applications.

Section 3C leaves stops when:

  • You withdraw your visa or settlement application
  • Your visa or settlement application is granted
  • Your visa or settlement application is refused and you don’t apply for an administrative review or an appeal within the time limit
  • An appeal application or administrative review is discontinued or refused
  • You leave the UK
  • The Home Office ends the section 3C leave

When will the Home Office end section 3C leave?

The Home Office can decide to cancel your section 3C leave if you are found to have used deception or provided false information in your visa application or if you do not comply with your visa conditions and the Home Office find out about it. For example, if you apply for a spouse visa extension but your relationship is no longer genuine or subsisting. If your relationship is at an end because of domestic violence then you may have the option of applying for indefinite leave to remain early even though you don’t meet the 5-year residence requirement. This is referred to as the domestic violence concession.

How can OTS Solicitors help you with section 3C leave

At OTS Solicitors our UK Immigration Solicitors can advise you on the whole range of immigration law queries relating to section 3C leave including:

  • The best timing for a visa extension application or switch application
  • Visa extension application eligibility criteria
  • Switch visa options
  • Eligibility to apply for indefinite leave to remain
  • Administrative reviews
  • Appeals and judicial reviews
  • Concerns about overstaying and the impact on your immigration record

Our friendly and approachable UK Immigration Solicitors are here to help with all your immigration law queries.

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