What is Section 3C Leave under the Immigration Act 1971?

Extension of leave under Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 is a contentious area of immigration law which is often misinterpreted. Section 3C leave is often misconstrued by the lay client and in some circumstances by immigration practitioners. It is crucial you are familiar with the purpose and application of Section 3C leave.  A failure to grasp the logistics of Section 3C leave could result in major problems such as having no lawful status in the UK and being in breach of the UK immigration laws.       

What is Section 3C Leave under the Immigration Act 1971?

The principle behind Section 3C leave under the Immigration Act 1971 is to offer a shield of protection for Applicants who have Immigration applications and appeals pending with the Home Office. If an Applicant is protected by Section 3C leave his/her immigration will be extended until a decision is made on his/her immigration application or appeal. Without the virtue of Section 3C leave Applicants would often be in danger of overstaying their visa resulting in Applicants having no lawful immigration status in the UK. Without lawful immigration status in the UK Applicants are directly in breach of the United Kingdom’s Immigration laws and are liable to be removed.

A person covered by Section 3C leave can continue to enjoy their rights in the United Kingdom until a decision on their application or appeal is made. For example if a Tier 2 worker appealed a decision in which an extension of leave was refused. The Tier 2 worker can continue to work in the United Kingdom until a decision is made by the Tribunal.

When does Section 3C Leave under the Immigration Act 1971 apply?

An Applicant will be deemed to have lawful immigration status if they have an Immigration application pending with the Home Office and the following apply:

  • The Applicant had lawful immigration status when he/she submitted their application.
  • The Applicant applies to the Secretary of State for variation of that leave.
  • The Applicant’s application for variation of leave expires without a decision being made.

Applicants who have Immigration appeals or administrative reviews pending will also be covered by section 3C leave. This is subject to the appeal or administrative review being lodged within time. Applicants who decide to leave the UK to submit a fresh application or appeal will automatically lose their right to be protected under Section 3C leave.

Does Section 3C Leave under the Immigration Act 1971 protect EEA and Invalid Applications?

Unfortunately, Section 3C leave does not protect Applicants who have EEA applications and appeals pending with the Home Office. Section 3C leave only protects applications made under the Immigration Rules and not the EEA Regulations.

It should also be noted that Section 3C leave does not cover Applicants who submit invalid applications. This position was confirmed in the Supreme Court case of Mirza & Or 2016 UKSC 63.

Can Section 3C Leave under the Immigration Act 1971 be cancelled?

The Secretary of State has the power to cancel Section 3C leave but she will only exercise this command in extreme circumstances. Section 3C leave will only be cancelled where an Applicant has failed to comply with a condition attached to their leave or where there are issues involving deception in previous or current immigration application or appeal.

Using Legal Representation to get advice on 3C Leave under the Immigration Act 1971

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with an application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully submit a UK Immigration application

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a UK Visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a UK Visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a UK Immigration application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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