I was filling out the visit visa form as my current company wants to take a few members of the team to the UK.

There is a question that asks you about your previous history in the UK and in it, they ask, if you have ever been deported, removed, refused or "required to leave the UK"? (There are also other options)

The first 3 are a no for me, but I'm not sure if "required to leave the UK" applies in my situation. I used to be on a student visa in the UK. I applied to extend my visa to another tier the day before my student visa expired, which means I was on 3C leave and technically lawful at the time. But then I withdrew my application after a while and I departed the UK in the next 2 weeks.

Technically this could mean I overstayed and was "required to leave", however it was a voluntary departure at my own expense.

Now I'm not sure if this period counts as "required to leave" and therefore I should include this on my visa form. I do have the original case reference number from voluntary departures and what not.

  • Was your departure a formal "voluntary departure"? If not, or if there is something else that distinguishes your question from the linked duplicate, please respond to this comment and I will reopen your question.
    – phoog
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:41
  • @phoog By formal "voluntary departure", I assume you mean me packing up my bags and leaving by my own choice, instead of the authorities serving me papers to let me know I was committing an immigration offence? Then yes, it was a formal voluntary departure.
    – SamOne
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:49
  • As I understand it, "voluntary departure" means that you were served with a removal decision and you then left the country on your own, without being forcefully removed by the government. If you just left without having been told to leave then I suspect that the linked duplicate does not apply to your case.
    – phoog
    Dec 26, 2018 at 22:05
  • I wasn't forcefully removed, I had to leave because as you wrote below, my lawful right to be there was up. I wasn't served with a decision, just that I had to leave. The only thing I will add is that, because my passport was with the HO, it meant that I had to collect it at Heathrow Airport rather than it being given back to me. I had to let the HO know what date/time I would be leaving. Which I did so and collect my passport after getting my boarding pass. Should I edit my question in thread for it to be reopened?
    – SamOne
    Dec 27, 2018 at 2:54
  • If your visa runs out tomorrow, then you are NOT "required to leave" today. You might be "required to leave" tomorrow, or as greatone said, only when you receive a letter telling you formally to leave. But if you left the day before your visa ran out, you were definitely not "required to leave" in any sense.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 27, 2018 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Required to leave means that you would have been formally told to leave the UK. The House of Lords has said that a requirment to leave the UK means being placed under a legal obligation to go. That usually means an IS151 form or deportation order. It would be wise to include the information about the previous application in the additional information section.

  • Thank you for the answer, greatone. Just to ask, in my case this does not count as a "required to leave"? It confuses why they would ask you if you were deported and then again ask you a vague question which also includes if you were deported. Weird. I think I'll just answer "yes" to that and mention the relevant information.
    – SamOne
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:26
  • @SamOne Deportation and removal refer to being physically escorted out of the UK by government officers or other agents. So being required to leave is not the same as deportation. As I read 3C, your leave lapsed when you withdrew your application, so you should probably answer yes.
    – phoog
    Dec 26, 2018 at 19:39
  • 2
    @phoog but under that definition wouldn’t everyone who is nearing the end of their visa period be required to leave before they expired and thus fall under this definition?
    – RoboKaren
    Dec 26, 2018 at 21:41
  • 1
    @RoboKaren When I wrote that comment, I was under the impression that "required to leave" means that you have stayed past the end of the authorized period of admission. But now I am not sure, and I suspect that it implies a removal decision having been served. In neither case would it apply to someone who was in the UK in compliance with a limited but unexpired period of leave to remain in the UK.
    – phoog
    Dec 26, 2018 at 22:09
  • 1
    Thanks @greatone this has been a massive help. You are correct, I wasn't required to leave. I never got an email or a letter sent to my solicitor who I applied my visa through. They did all of my correspondence with the HO anyway. If they did they would have forwarded it to me. I now remember that at that time, I also could have applied for a new visa if I wanted to do so.
    – SamOne
    Dec 28, 2018 at 19:59

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