Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | February 12, 2013
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Are the UK authorities flexible?
John S. Bassie
Dear Mr Bassie,

I would like to know how flexible the United Kingdom authorities are with respect to travelling to the United Kingdom as I intend to visit there. The problem is that my circumstances may change, and I might have to postpone or even cancel my trip.

Any advice would help in my decision-making process.

- P.D.

Dear P.D.,

This sort of problem - changes to a person's circumstances - occurs quite often. If a person's travel plans are delayed, that person cannot change the expiry date of his or her visa unless there are compelling compassionate circumstances. It should be noted that it is at the discretion of a visa officer that the British authorities can extend the expiry date of a visa for up to three months, and this is if there has been no change in your circumstances. If this cannot be obtained, then the holder of the visa will need to apply for another visa.

If a person's reason for going to the United Kingdom changes before he or she travels, the person should inform the visa application centre where the application was made. A visa is usually issued for a specific purpose, so the holder may be asked to make another visa application.

To be complete, if there is a change of circumstances while the holder is visiting the United Kingdom, he or she must inform the authorities of the change in circumstances as this may affect his or her entitlement to stay there. If such information is withheld, the holder may receive a future ban for breach of visa conditions.

If a person suspects that he or she may need to contact the authorities while he or she is in the United Kingdom, then it is advisable that he or she take copies of the documents used to obtain the visa. Also, a person should not experience any problems when arriving in the United Kingdom if the person has given the authorities all the information relevant to the stay in the United Kingdom when applying for the visa; the person did not, with or without his or her knowledge, give false information to support the application; and there has been no change to that person's circumstances, or the reasons for travelling to the United Kingdom, since the visa was issued.

If the holder of the visa gave false information to support an application, he or she will be refused entry to the United Kingdom and may be automatically refused a visa for 10 years for using deception on an application.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a Justice of the Peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (U.K.). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com

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