How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Thomas Your Own Question
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7430
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
Type Your UK Immigration Law Question Here...
Thomas is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, I came to the UK in 1998 from New Zealand on a 2yr work

This answer was rated:

Hi, I came to the UK in 1998 from New Zealand on a 2yr work visa. Married a British woman in March 2000 and settled here in the UK. we have 2 children and have been married now for 12yrs. We had assumed until recently that I was legally allowed to reside here. I have been told that I may be classed as an overstayer. I'm hoping to visit my elderly mother in NZ next year and am concerned about not being let back into the UK.
I wish to know please what I must do to resolve this issue and also whether I could apply for a British passport??
Hoping you can help..

Thanks for your patience.

If you have not made an application to switch to a spouse visa since your work visa expired then you will be classed as an overstayer.

You really need to see a UK based immigration solicitor as a matter of urgency to apply for an in country spouse visa.

The upside is that because the length of your stay is so long you will be viewed as having quite significant family ties to the UK if your family is to stay here and because of the length of time you have remained in the UK. It won’t be straightforward because of the exteme overstay but provided you can show that your family will remain here and that you will not need access to public funds to support or accommodate you then you should be successful in being granted Further Leave to Remain.

Once you have your further leave to remain you will be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years. There was until relatively recently a right for applicants who had been in the UK on a mix of legal and illegal leave to remain to apply for indefinite leave to remain after they had been in the UK for 14 years, but this has now been repealed.

Once you have completed your 5 years in the UK on further leave to remain you will be able to apply for naturalisation as a UK national if you meet the criteria on the following page:-

It’s not as easy as you think and the best thing you can do is see a solicitor to guide you through the process because you have massively breached the immigration rules by overstaying. Your family ties under Article 8: Right to a Family and Private life will trump the breach but you need to see a solicitor to make sure the application does not become protracted and force you to incur legal fees on appeal.

A solicitor will charge in the region of £800-1000+ VAT for this and you can find local soliciotrs here:-
I have to go offline now, if you have further questions I will be able to answer at 8.45 tomorrow morning.

Please remember to RATE my answer OK SERVICE, GOOD SERVICE OR EXCELLENT SERVICE or above if you are satisfied that you have received the correct legal advice (even if it is not the answer you wanted to hear), otherwise I do not receive any credit for answering your question.

If you are not willing to rate my answer as OK SERVICE, GOOD SERVICE OR EXCELLENT SERVICE then allow me to assist further by replying asking what clarification you require rather than rating my answer at levels below.

If you wish for me to provide you with further guidance on any question you may have in the future then please submit a further question to the board requesting me either by my profile or by marking your question. “FAO Tom”.

Kind regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thankyou, any idea which form I need to fill out for an in country spouse visa as I dont think I can afford a solicitor.

Would this whole process be easier if I applied from NZ or would it be a lengthy process due to the length of overstay. I couldnt afford to be away from my family any longer than 3 weeks??

I will answer at 9.00.


It's going to be pretty lengthy which ever way you do it. I would suggest applying from the UK simply because you could be away from your family for a significant period of time before it's resolved, possibly 6 months.

I would also suggest saving over the next couple of months in an attempt to raise funds to instruct a solicitor, it really is worth it. I would also suggest seeing a solicitor now for a consultation on a fixed fee (eg. 80-100+vat) and perhaps asking if you can pay a certain amount per month towards their fees.

The form is FLR(M) if you are applying in the UK.

Please remember to rate my answer.

Thomas and other UK Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you

Related UK Immigration Law Questions