Varying an existing immigration application
If you have made a leave to remain application and you want your application to be considered for a grant of leave on a different basis from your initial application, you can vary the application at any time before a decision is made on your initial application. For example, if you have made an immigration application to undertake a short period of study, it is possible that the Home Office may not have made a decision on that application before you are able to make a new application for your next period of studies. If this happens it is possible to ask the Home Office to decide your application on the basis of your new studies.
How to make a valid variation application?
If you wish to vary your application for a purpose where a specific application form is required, you must complete the new form and meet all the requirements of Paragraph 34A of the Immigration Rules and the Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015, for the variation to be valid.
Paragraph 34A of the Immigration Rules requires that:
- The applicant must be using the specified form. You will need to complete a new application form for the variation application and you must complete any section of the form which is designated as mandatory in the application form.
- Any specific fee in connection with the application must be paid in accordance with the method specified in the application form. As stated below, for variation applications the applicant does not have to pay an additional fee unless the new category you want to be considered under has a higher fee than the original application. In this case you must pay the difference between the original fee and the new higher fee.
- The application must be accompanied by the photographs and documents specified as mandatory in the application form and/or related guidance notes.
According to the Immigration (Health Charge) Order 2015, you will also be requested to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your immigration application unless you are exempted from paying it, for example, if you are applying for leave for 6 months or less or if you are applying for indefinite leave to remain.
When to make a variation application?
You can vary your application at any time before a decision is made on your initial application. The date of variation is either the date:
- of posting for postal applications sent by Royal Mail (you must accept the post mark as evidence of the date of posting);
- a premium service centre appointment is booked and paid, if this is made in person;
- it is delivered to the Home Office if it is sent by courier or other postal service provider;
- it is submitted through the online application process.
The application date remains the date of the original application and not the date of the variation. The application date for the purpose of continuity of leave and whether the application is covered by 3C leave must be the date on which the original application was made.
However, if an application for leave to remain under the Point Based System is varied because the applicant would be working for or studying at a different sponsor, the Immigration Officer will use the date on which the application was varied when making your decision. For example, they will consider the application under the rules and guidance on the date the variation application was made. And they will also use the date of variation for calculating time-bound requirements such as maintenance.
Does any additional fee need to be paid for the variation application?
As stated above, the applicant does not have to pay an additional fee for the variation application. However, if the grounds you category you want to be considered under has a higher fee than the original application, you must pay the difference between the original fee and the new higher fee.
In practice, you will be required to submit a new application with the full relevant fee paid. Once the Home Office has confirmed that the variation application is valid, the difference between the application fees and the IHS fee will be refunded at the point the application is decided.
Could a dependant be included in the variation application?
A variation of a dependant’s application is only valid if they were included on the original application. If they were not included on the original application, the dependant will need to make a separate application and to pay the relevant fee.