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What Happens if I Overstay My UK Visa

What is the penalty for overstaying a UK visa? Hello, It seems that if you overstay your visa in the UK that you will more than likely that you could be barred from entering again for an unspecified amount of time. But my question to you is, why do you think that you only got [...]

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What is the penalty for overstaying a UK visa?


It seems that if you overstay your visa in the UK that you will more than likely that you could be barred from entering again for an unspecified amount of time.

But my question to you is, why do you think that you only got a seven day visa? Does it say that you can only stay for seven days in your passport? Is it written in somewhere, does it say “transit” anywhere?

The fact that your visa stamp says, “leave to enter for/until 6 months- No work or recourse to public funds,” is completely standard, this is what a regular 180 day tourist visa usually says.

If your passport has a note written in it that says that you can only stay for seven days, or has “transit” written below the visa stamp, what I would do is go to the nearest immigration office and explain the situation, show your exit air ticket, your itinerary, and try to get it extended for the full 180 days or however long you need it for. This seems like an issue that could be straightened out easily.

Don’t worry about entering Germany, the passage that  is stamped into your passport which accompanies your UK tourist visa is completely standard. To prove it, below is a photo of a UK entrance stamp in my old passport.

If you have any other questions, just ask them in the comment form below. Please let us know what happens.



Original question about overstaying a UK visa

Hi I was just wondering what would happen if i overstayed my UK visa for 7 days? They only gave me a 7 day visa because i forget to bring my itenary with me so i had no dates on when i was going home or any bank statements to prove i could support myself while i stayed in the UK. They still let me in but only for one week. After this i go to germany and im kinf of worried that they wont let me enter as the UK have stamped my passport with “leave to enter for/until 6 months- No work or recourse to public funds. I have money but the statements were in my suitcase along with my it itenary stupid thing to do i know but it was my last night in amsterdam and i was still very drunk the next day when i got to the airport. I also fly out of london to go home. Will they let me transit there to get my flight home?


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Filed under: England, Europe, Travel Help, Visas

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3720 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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54 comments… add one

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  • stephanie September 23, 2010, 4:43 pm

    Hi no it does not say transit on my passport or say anything on my passport about staying only 7 days. The reason why i only got a 7 day visa is because when i filled out the form when entering the country that’s what i wrote down and he was harassing me about how long i was staying and not having my itenary and i said only 7 days and he said well i will only give you 7 days and make sure not to stay over the 7 days. But then he didn’t stamp my passport with anything. Just what is shown above. And no transit stamp. What does the transit stamp mean? That i can return for transit? So does that mean that i dont have a 7 day visa if its not written in my passport? Doesn’t have to be on my passport?

    Thank you so much for your help.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com September 24, 2010, 8:26 am

      A transit visa means that you are only allowed to enter for a reasonable amount of time to transfer out of the country — generally, only a few days. If you received a transit visa you would have normal stamp with the word “transit” written beneath it. It seems as if you were actually given a normal six month tourist visa.

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      • Max May 22, 2013, 4:06 am

        Hi Wade, how to contact UK embassy team if anyone is staying in UK for last 3 years on overstay. If his / her visa are expired ?? I have couple of people from India who are staying in UK for overstaying ??

  • joe January 2, 2011, 8:35 am

    I have uk 2 years visa mutiple. but it was cancil and i was ask to reaply it six years now what are my chances if i apply againg and how long will the hold my personel information at the embassy. incase i was ask if i travel to uk before or made applicaton before.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com January 2, 2011, 2:13 pm

      I would imagine that there is a good chance that you are still on file, but you should check with UK immigration about this.

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  • carson January 21, 2011, 10:55 am

    say i stayed in the uk for the full 180 days. left on the 179th. how long do i have to be out of country before i can get a new 180 visa in my passport? can i even do that? ive been looking for ways to get around it. Im a legal canadian with a legal brand new passport, Just wondering?

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    • docz February 22, 2011, 12:56 pm

      I’m wondering about the same. What’s the penalty for overstaying after 180 days? Is it just a fine on exit or does it Involve an investigation against you?

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      • Molly April 11, 2011, 10:07 pm

        My husband travelled to UK in 2009, came back but when he went to apply for a business visa he was told that during his previous travel he overstayed for seven days. oh God he did not realise that his visa had expired , he is in prayers as he has to attend a very important meeting in May. How can he appeal and be pardoned.

      • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com April 13, 2011, 6:07 am

        Hello Molly,

        It is my impression that your husband does not have a legal leg to stand on here. The UK can deny anyone a visa for any reason — there is not much that you can do to challenge them. My only advice is to pester the consulate, try to arrange an appointment and get an interview to discuss the issue. Or maybe try the UK consulate of a nearby country. You are in Uganda, so maybe try Rwanda, Burundi, or Kenya, although there is a good chance that you need to apply in your home country.

    • Alyssa November 22, 2011, 12:37 am

      You have to be out of the country for at least 3 m0nths before returning.

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  • mic February 26, 2011, 6:03 am

    I’m in the same boat, what does happen if i overstay my youth mobility Visa?

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  • munni March 22, 2011, 6:31 pm

    Hello I jst want to knw I hve falling love with a person his overstayer and he got caught by
    police twice now he want to go to his country and cam bk legeley can I get him here and I’m a
    british girl.

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    • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com March 23, 2011, 6:30 am

      Good luck, this is the only advice I can give here. If you are ready, perhaps going through the marriage process would work. Though keep in mind that any immigration violation is going to have drastic impacts and future immigration decision. It may be better to go to his country, and start new from there.

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  • chris March 30, 2011, 6:56 pm

    my name is Carmen am African and i have been studying in the UK so I over stayed for 3 months in the UK because I wasn’t able to renew my visa for personal reasons and then i returned to my country. I want to know how long I am going to stay here before submitting any application form for UK student visa .


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  • Shana May 10, 2011, 9:40 am

    Hi, I was wondering if it was true that there’s generally a 4 week allowance on penalties for overstaying a visa, particularly a visitor’s visa. I’m trying to arrange travel for my family and I back to the States, and one of our party was here in the UK on a visitor visa and due to time and finances we cannot leave until 2 weeks past the date. There are no plans to get this person a visa for any other country in the future, but they may want to visit again, will this be a huge problem?

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  • kiwiboi August 23, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I have realised that my visa is a month shorter than I thought & have booked my tickets home already, is this a problem? I am on a 2 year youth mobility visa…

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  • chief kay October 3, 2011, 4:52 am

    i want to know i ask for 4 weeks n i stayed for 7 weeks, have i overstayed

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    • georgina October 27, 2011, 8:24 am

      what a stupid question

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  • raj November 4, 2011, 3:29 am

    hi my name is raj
    i mad a innocent error and that is i thought my visa will be expired in november but my visa allready expired before 20 days as soon as i realised it i leave the country ….but i am scared now beacause it might be effect to get visa next time if i want to come in UK or in another country and please lt me know how many days i can stay after expired my visa ?

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  • ramesh November 10, 2011, 9:34 am

    28 days from the day ur visa expires.

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  • bern November 14, 2011, 4:54 am

    hello, I overstayed my student visa in 2009. I would like to follow my fiance who z back in uk as we nw have a daughter, would dat be possible pls help

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  • Alyssa November 22, 2011, 12:33 am

    Hello I have a six month stamp on my passport for my time in the UK. I got here June 1st and went to Paris in October for three days then returned to the UK for the remainder of my time. When I returned from Paris they re stamped my passport with another 6 month stamp. Does that re-start my 180 day limit? I couldn’t get a ticket out of here by December 1st which is the last day of my 180 day visit from the first six month stamp starting on June 1st, I was only able to get a ticket for Dec. 2nd. Will I get in trouble for being one day over my leave date? I know it’s a little confusing but I tried my best to explain my situation.

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    • JACQUI PERRON March 18, 2012, 6:12 pm

      Hi there,
      I just came across your question although not sure on the date.
      I too am Canadian and came to the UK for 6 months,after 5 months I went
      to Paris for 5 days and upon return they said I still had to leave by March 18th as my Paris trip doesn’t count as it’s in the EU and technically I can’t do that(although I think it depends what type of officer you get)..I was told I couldn’t do that and was shocked that they said I had to leave by this date(she scratched out what said six months and put March 19th).I was just curious if you stayed for another 180 days without a problem and did you re-enter Canada after that without any problems?
      Fellow Canadian girl 😉

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      • Jason August 27, 2012, 12:25 pm


        Similar question but from the USA. My son will be going to school in the UK. His course is about a week more than 180 days and a little more than that if we add in travel time. He will be coming home to the US for three weeks over Christmas. Do the 20+ days he is out of the UK allow him to extend passed the normal 180 day date? Another way to ask is it a total of 180 days during a one year period or 180 days from when you first enter the UK regardless of how long your ar actually in the UK?

        Thnak you for your help.

  • Gansallo samson January 8, 2012, 10:28 am

    Hello i want to know the reason why my mum as been requesting for her stay passport all this year she didn’t hear anything from you

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    • Wade Shepard January 14, 2012, 4:08 pm

      Did your mom make a donation? If so, please send me the Paypal confirmation number.

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  • Thakgalang Annah Mabusha February 17, 2012, 2:37 am

    I overstayed in UK because of lack of know ledge of visas, Ilive SA as i have been employed to look after kids, but i enter UK with visiting visa, i stayed there for 5.5 yrs. cz of lack of knowlegde wat mus i do if i want to go and visit UK. I didnt want to be illegal it was my concern to my employer why am always in the house, been told that u are illegal imigrant. why u didnt bring me in a right way they say cz is a long processess. wat do i do cz i live a child there with a fiance

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  • seun March 4, 2012, 6:07 pm

    I came to the UK Feb 2011 on a 3 year student visa for a PhD, but I am graduating this July 2012 with a masters after one year, will I be overstaying my visa if I remain in the UK since my school will be notifying the immigration authorities of my graduation.

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  • Oli April 25, 2012, 11:09 am

    I am Macedonian and i have overstayed my UK visa for 6 years:) From 2001-2006. Now i am married, have a husband and daughter and we wanna apply for student visa in Australia. Am i gonna have a problem abt all this?
    Thank you sooo much.

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  • a August 22, 2012, 3:04 pm

    i got tourist visa in Febraury 2005 for 6 months till augest 2005 (ENTRY DATE: FEB TO AUGEST)(with duration of stay 180 days written in the visa) and i entered UK in june and quit in september 2005 (i spent arround 100 days and quit UK after augest with 40 days)
    does it mean that i overstayed the visa?
    and if it’s yes..after how long i can apply for a visa especially i want to apply for a student visa to make a master degree and all of my document ready ?
    and what about the penality?

    Link Reply
  • Joma Soya August 23, 2012, 8:31 am

    hi my brother overstay visa in uk since 2000 and now 2012 she still in uk he has two kids and fiance not working he scared to go back home because he wont be able to see his fiance and kids I real want to help him please any one

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  • Khurram shahzad September 5, 2012, 8:37 pm

    Hi can u tell me about overtay visa?

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  • Melissa September 13, 2012, 5:04 pm

    I have two different conflicting stamps on my passport from when I entered UK. One I got when I entered on July 26th before the Olympics, and that says I have leave to enter for 6 months, but then I went on vacation to Scandinavia for two weeks and came back on August 29th, and the border patrol officer, gave me a new stamp saying I have to leave by Sept 30th, even though I have 5 months left on my other visa. I don’t know which one is valid, and I’m not sure what I need to do and if I should try to leave the country by then by going to France or Germany or something. I have already paid for an apt here in Chelsea and everything 🙁 Please help!

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    • Wade Shepard September 14, 2012, 4:19 am

      Your first visa was likely a single entry tourist visa. When you exited the UK this visa was cancelled. So it’s the second one that’s valid. If you wanted to enter and exit the UK repeatedly you should have applied for a multi-entry visa.

      Whatever is the case though, it’s the immigration officer who stamps you into the country who has the final say, and he/ she can trump any immigration rights that any immigration officer or consular official had granted you previously. So, in this case, you only have until the 30th.

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      • Melissa September 14, 2012, 5:52 am

        I had the same stamp on my passport that you have shown a picture of. I thought that is a multiple entry stamp, as I know most people use the UK as a jumping off point to visit many other countries in continental Europe. So you are saying each time you leave you are in fact canceling your 180-day visa? Also, as an American citizen, do I get 180 days out of every calendar year/12 months to stay in Europe? How does that work? I am hoping to go home for Christmas for one month and then come back for another 6 months, but I don’t know if that’s possible. Sorry for all the questions! Man, I’m wishing I had an EU passport or even a commonwealth one so I could at least get a one year working holiday visa! They make it really hard for Americans who want to live/work in the UK (probably because we do the same)!

      • Wade Shepard September 14, 2012, 9:14 pm

        No, that’s a single entry visa stamp in the photo. You can get multiple entry visas that are good for a specific amount of years but each entry can only be for less than 180 days. Most visas in the world get canceled when you leave the country unless specifically marked as multi-entry. The Schengen zone is a rarity in that you get a multi-entry visa by default. I don’t think there is a specific amount of time that you can be in the UK out of a given calendar year (it’s not like Schengen), but the amount of time you’re given by the immigration inspector who checks you into the country will vary. As you’ve found out, they are prone to giving you less of a stay if you’ve been in the country recently, so it’s not really a good country for doing visa runs. Though inconsistency seems to be the rule of European immigration, so, who knows, when you return after Christmas you may be given 180 days (or they may deny you entry outright).

  • ajallow September 17, 2012, 8:51 am

    i want to know i ask for 4 weeks n i stayed for 7 weeks, have i overstayed, although the uk visa was valid for six months

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    • Wade Shepard September 17, 2012, 9:19 am


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  • a September 24, 2012, 5:30 pm

    i got tourist visa in Febraury 2005 for 6 months till augest 2005 (ENTRY DATE: FEB TO AUGEST)(with duration of stay 180 days written in the visa) and i entered UK in june and quit in september 2005 (i spent arround 100 days and quit UK after augest with 40 days)
    does it mean that i overstayed the visa?
    and if it’s yes..after how long i can apply for a visa especially i want to apply for a student visa to make a master degree and all of my document ready ?
    and what about the penality?

    Link Reply
    • Wade Shepard September 24, 2012, 7:57 pm

      It’s my impression that the “entry date” is just the date that you would need to enter by. It does not seem as if you overstayed the visa.

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  • Adrienne October 30, 2012, 10:01 am

    Please can u help me? I am a british citizen living and married now for 20 years in tunisia to a tunisian man we have five children.we want to move to england but cant find any information on how to go about doing it.I cant invite him in on a husband visa because im nit resident in thze uk and dont have a job.please can you help me

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    • Wade Shepard October 30, 2012, 9:09 pm

      It seems to me that you need to direct your questions to the British consulate. One error that many people have when applying for visas is that they read the rules too literally and block many of their own paths. I don’t know if you’re doing this, but I would set up a meeting with your consulate, tell them your case, and do what they advise.

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      • Adrienne October 31, 2012, 5:59 am

        Thankyou for your time. I will contact them.

  • Paba Perera December 5, 2012, 11:45 am

    Dear Wade
    Hope you can help me with some advice.. I’m a British citizen and my mother has been travelling to see me & my son for last 15 years on visitor’s visa.. (Sri Lankan citizen)
    She has a 5 year visitor visa now which was due to expire on the Sept. 2014.

    Unfortunately this time she overstayed 1 month purely because she got mixed up in the dates and I also didn’t realise the date.. As soon as I realised that I sent her back (date should have gone back by – 27th Oct 2012, Date she went -26/11/2012)
    This was never happened to her before and she did not over stay for the last 15 years.
    Unfortunately when she was leaving o Officers at outbound boarder control unit @Heathrow airport has cancelled her 5 year visa and issued her a letter.
    They also asked her to re-apply from Colombo..
    I’m really worried because my mother is 80 years of age and I want her to come and spent time with me and my son..

    What is the best way to progress this?
    1.Should I appeal against the decision saying this is a genuine mistake (She hasn’t overstayed for the last 15 years) o
    IF they reject the appeal, Can she re-apply or will they banned her?

    2.Should we make a fresh application When she is ready to visit me again?

    My mother was planning to visit my brother in Australia in May 2013. Will this cancellation of her British visa will affect her Australian visa application as well (She visited Australia twice before and not overstayed)

    Many thanks


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  • ajallow December 6, 2012, 3:13 am

    i been regeted twice a us visa, i have been to uk twice without overstay. i want to reapply for us visa, will my travels to uk help in my us visa application.

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  • nada December 9, 2012, 1:48 pm

    My mother is staying with me during mu master studying in Uk. She has muli visitor visa for two years. Can she stay 180 days and go backcountry for month then re-enter and stay 180 days?

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  • Daniel January 18, 2013, 11:15 pm

    Hello Wade,
    I entered UK from Ireland as a visa-free tourist. I took the flight from Belfast, hence, when I arrived in England, there’s no stamp of entry on my passport as it’s domestic route. I’m in London now, and I’ll have to go to Belfast again for business, and I’m kinda worried that there may be some potential problems:
    * Taking Easyjet or Flybe requires a passport or a photo ID(which I don’t have). I’m wondering if the airline staff will question why I don’t have a visa nor the stamp of entry. I have this concern because I’m from a less-known country, based on my experience, some airline staff took quite a while checking my visa-free status. I’m worried the fact that I don’t have a stamp of entry will make the staff contact immirgration and cause unnecessary problem.
    Am I thinking too much?
    * Or I could take British Airways as no passport or ID is required for domestic line. However, their only route is between LHR- Befast. I’m not sure how the things go in T1 in LHR. Do I have to go through passport control as I’m not British/Irish?
    Thank you very much.

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  • Deep thind March 11, 2013, 5:34 pm

    Hi.i m a student and staying in uk on student visa.my college got blacklisted and still got my visa for few months .i was detained once but was released.will it give any problem if i apply for visa.??

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  • Todd June 3, 2013, 3:19 pm

    Greetings Wade, I am needing to know any advise in regards to wanting to leave the UK and go back to the USA. I am in a long term relationship and have been in the UK for 4 an a half years. she has a little boy who I look after as my own. we are wanting me to adopt him. we are a very close family. my partner an I met each other online about year before I came here to see if we compatible in person as we wee online. and we are very compatible and our lives are a great deal better. I came here not realizing the difficulty I would have. I am not wanting to beak any laws, and we know what we need to do to get he an our son to the USA an have begun the paperwork for that. my plane ticket exspired an I need to buy a new one to get home. I am asking if you can advise me, do I just buy a ticket and fly back home? an seems my form to stay here had to be done in the USA and I am now in violation of over staying my visa stamp. if I am in violation what should I do? just get a flight home A.S.A.P ok or do I get in-trouble when I try flying back home?

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  • jerry July 3, 2013, 5:57 am

    im an american in the uk on a 6 month tourist and am concerned what happens if i cant afford a plane ticket back to the us before my 6 months is up

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  • Adam August 27, 2013, 4:30 am

    Hello Wade,

    I have a 10 year multiple entry tourist visa to the UK. I entered the UK in mid April 2012 and left/exited the UK in mid September 2012 for Egypt. So that’s around five months in the UK. I then returned to the UK in mid November 2012. I explained to the customs official at the barriers that I’d spent 5 months in the UK during my last visit and I gave them the dates of my stay as they asked for them. The customs official also asked me how long I intended to stay in the UK this second time of entry and I said 3 months. The customs official then told me to sit down as she would get some officials to ask me some more questions. I was taken into a room and asked a load of questions such as my purpose of visit, occupation, money available to me etc. They asked me what the previous customs official had asked me, ie how long do I intend to stay in the UK and again I said 3 months. After the questioning they said they were satisfied and it was fine for me to enter the UK. I then stayed in the UK for 6 months. So that’s from mid November 2012 to mid May 2013(180 days). I want to know if I haven’t overstayed, because I have read that on a 10 year tourist multiple entry visa I am only allowed to spend 180 days in the UK in the space of a year. I have read this on several forums and in one case an online solicitor said this. I am confused, because I had always been led to believe that as long as I left the UK after 180 days, technically I could return a day later to the UK and spend another 180 days in the UK. I was even told this at the British Embassy in my country. Also why would they have let me into the UK a second time when I said I would be staying in the UK for 3 months, just a month and a half after I’d already spent 5 months in the UK. That would make it 8 months in a year, spent in the UK. In actual fact like I said I spent 6 months in the UK the second time I entered, but I don’t think it makes much of a difference, as both cases would class me as an over-stayer if the 180 days in a year rule is true. I am confused and I’d appreciate your clarification of this matter. Thanks.

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    • Wade Shepard August 27, 2013, 4:32 am

      Hello Adam,

      I no longer answer visa questions personally for free. If you’re interested, the charge is US $30. Sorry about that, but I get way too many requests for this.

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  • Phil June 13, 2015, 10:51 am

    if you overstay your visa to UK what are the penalties

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