A person with leave to remain who has applied to extend their leave (on the same or a different basis) may not get a decision from the Home Office before their current leave expires. Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 extends a person’s leave in order to preserve their lawful status and entitlements until they get a decision on their new application from the Home Office. This is often referred to as ‘section 3C leave’.
A person will have section 3C leave when all of the following statements apply:
If the immigration application is refused, section 3C leave continues whilst the person has a pending appeal or administrative review. However, section 3C leave only continues whilst a person is waiting for an appeal decision if they lodged their appeal ‘in-time’ within the given deadline. If the courts accept an ‘out of time’ appeal, section 3C leave will ‘resurrect’ from the date the appeal was lodged.
Whilst a person has section 3C leave, they will be lawfully present and any entitlements attached to their previous leave, such as permission to work or access to public funds, will continue to apply. However, a person whose only leave is section 3C leave pending the outcome of an appeal will be ‘subject to immigration control’ and have no recourse to public funds. Therefore, a person who had access to benefits when their leave to remain was valid and whilst their application for further leave was pending, may no longer be entitled to benefits whilst their appeal is pending if their immigration application is refused.
For more information, see the Home Office guidance on section 3C leave.