UK Visa: Replacing Your 30-day Entry Vignette

If you have applied for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility or UK Ancestry Visa and can no longer arrive within the 30-day arrival window. Then this guide will tell you how to apply for a replacement 30-day entry vignette.

BritBound has been assisting with Tier 5 Visa and UK Ancestry Visa applications for almost 15 years now. So there is little we do not know about these visa categories. However, we are not the UK Government and this information is based on our experience and the feedback of our BritBound customers, if you want an official answer then you should contact UKVI here and have your credit card ready.

If you have anything to add to the following article or you cannot find an answer to your question, Please just e-mail me (Sarah).

I also hope you'll also be joining our awesome community too, it's a worthy investment! ;)

I cannot arrive in the 30-day window stated on my entry vignette.

When your application for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility or UK Ancestry Visa is successful, your passport will be returned to you and it will contain a sticker inside, the sticker is called a vignette. This sticker or vignette gives you the permission to arrive in the UK within a 30-day window of your visa start date in order to collect your BRP from the designated Post Office.

Now what happens if you have successfully applied for your UK visa but can no longer travel on these dates? Maybe you have a new job, or a situation at home means you can no longer leave on the original dates you provided. What can you do?

In this situation you basically have two options:

  • Option 1) Replace your 30-day entry vignette
  • Option 2) Cancel your visa application and apply again at a later date

OPTION 1: Replacing your 30-day entry vignette

If you want to get another vignette sticker to go inside your passport with a new 30-day window (to adjust the dates that you can travel to the UK) then you can apply for a Transfer of Conditions. The UK Visa and Immigration website is very confusing around this topic….which is possibly why you’ve ended up here?! And there isn’t [currently] a dedicated page on guiding you through how to obtain another 30-day entry sticker.

Before you proceed with applying for a Transfer of Conditions, there is one thing you need to know. If you apply for another vignette, then your visa start date will remain as you requested in your original application. So just to explain - If your visa start date was entered as the 1st March then your vignette sticker will say valid from 1st March to the 31st March (30-days). If you decide you cannot enter within these dates then you can apply for another sticker to go into your passport. Let’s say you say you actually want to enter on October 1st. After you apply for a replacement vignette you will receive a new sticker in your passport showing your entry window as October 1st to October 31st...but your visa start date will STILL say the 1st March. So you have effectively lost 6 months of your two-year visa allowance in the UK (Tier 5 Youth Mobility) or 6 months of your five-year (UK Ancestry).

If you do not want to lose any time off your visa validity, then your best option is to cancel your visa application entirely and apply again. See Option Two below: Cancelling your visa and applying again.

If you apply for a replacement vignette sticker, then your Visa Start Date will remain as you requested in your original application.

What is the process for replacing the entry sticker (vignette?)

In order to replace your vignette sticker you will have to go through an online link which says “transfer your visa to a new passport online”, yes this is not what you are doing. But in the steps after this part it will start to talk about replacing the vignette inside your exisiting passport! Confusing I know! The process is an online application much the same as the Tier 5 or UK Ancestry Application, only a lot shorter. You will need to complete this application and answer a series of questions, a repeat of many that you answered previously. And then once you have done this you can submit the information and pay for the Vignette Replacement.

How do I apply for another (replacement) travel vignette?

This is the process as I write this article, which is the 19th February 2020. Please remember that we are not the UK visa and immigration department. Everything I am sharing has come from guiding our own customers. If you would prefer to have our assistance to guide you through the process then you can sign up to it here.

  1. Firstly, go to: https://www.gov.uk/transfer-visa
  2. Then you will need to select "transfer your visa to a new passport online if you're outside the UK". Ignore the fact you are not actually doing this! This is the correct choice for replacing the vignette.
  3. Complete the application form
  4. Pay the fee - currently £169
  5. Arrange your Biometrics appointment (yes you have to go again!)
  6. Pay the User Fee if applicable to your nearest centre)
  7. Pay the Priority Fee if you want your application to be ‘put to the top of the pile’
  8. Upload the relevant documentation (Proof of Maintenance, same criteria as before)
  9. Attend your Biometrics
  10. Send your passport away - or pay extra to keep your passport during this stage (if available at your centre)
  11. Wait for the return of your passport with your new entry vignette.
The only way to change your visa start date (after a successful application) is to submit a new application. It cannot be changed through a vignette replacement.

Option 2) Cancel your visa application and apply again at a later date

The problem with applying for a replacement entry vignette is that although you get a new 30-day window from the new date you would like to travel, your original visa start date still stands. Which means that you are going to lose out on the time difference between your visa start date and your new entry date. If you are heading here on the Tier 5 Visa then you will be aware that you only have two years, so I would advise getting the full benefit of the two years because you're paying a significant amount for this experience, albeit an absolutely brilliant one at that!

So if you would prefer not to lose out on your full visa validity, you might find it is better to cancel your application entirely, and apply again when you are 100% sure on the dates you can travel. Bear in mind that you must meet all the same criteria at a later date. So don't be doing this if you're on the cusp of turning 31!

You will need to log back into your online visa application which sits on this link - which does not work without your log in details,

visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/your-unique-login-code.

The log-in link will be somewhere in your e-mail Inbox. Provided you haven't permanently deleted it...in which case I have no idea what you do!

Once in there you should see the option to cancel your application...that's it! You will get an automatic refund of your International Health Surcharge fee. You will lose the visa application fee and any user fee if you had to pay this to get your Biometrics taken.

You can now proceed with a new application, and if you're at all worried then engage our assistance to double check everything for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

I am now 31 can I still apply for a replacement entry vignette?

Yes, you can provided the validity of your visa is still valid. In other words if you are on a Tier 5 Visa then you have two years validity (beginning the date you gave as your visa start date at the time of your application. You can apply for a new vignette anytime throughout this two year period. At least there is no information anywhere that says you can't.

I have recently been offered a job promotion which will affect my moving date to the UK - can I still cancel my visa and resubmit for later date given I'm already 31?

If you are 31, even if you have been granted UK visa you cannot cancel your visa and apply again. Your only option is to apply for a new vignette.

How many times can I apply for a new vignette?

I do not believe there is a cap on this, but if you are unsure of whether you can travel and arrive with the 30-day window specified then you are best to just cancel your visa and start again!

Will a replacement vignette change my visa start date?

No, the only way to change your visa start date is to cancel your existing application and submit a new application. The dates on your vignette sticker are just your UK entry dates, an arrival window that you are given to enable you to enter and collect your BRP.

I am overseas and have missed my UK visa entry dates, what can I do?

Provided that the country you are in has a Biometrics testing centre then you can apply for a replacement vignette. You can check if there is one near you when you start the process - see above for the steps.

So right now, I am not sure what the official policy is here. Because when you arrive at Heathrow airport you now pass through e-gates, rather than speak to a Customs and Immigration Officer. We have had a few customers arrive a month after their 30-day window and come through without any issue. And continue to collect their BRP.

However, me personally would find this too risky and would not advise it! Rather ensure that any travel you do is completed to enable you to arrive in this 30-day window.

If you'd like to share any experiences you have here with me, I'd love to hear about them and then I can update this with your 'first-hand experience". E-mail me please!

Can I do a priority replacement vignette?

If you are looking for the fastest way to get a replacement vignette then you can pay for Priority Processing. You will be give the option to pay the ‘priority processing’ fee, which says that your application will go to the top of the pile. We suggest you write priority everywhere as in our experience it does not always get treated as such!

Do I have to send my passport away when I apply for a replacement vignette?

Yes, you will have to attend your Biometrics again and handover your passport. Just the same as when you applied for your passport. Depending on where you live, there may be the option to keep hold of your passport, this is a service that some biometrics testing centres offer…for a fee, of course!

I have missed my 30-day entry, do I have to start a new visa application?

No you don’t, provided you are still within the validity of your visa you can apply for a replacement entry vignette. If a lot of time has passed since your visa start date, and you have not travelled to the UK, then you could just cancel your visa and apply again. Depending on the time frames you should be able to get your money back, except for the User fee to have your Biometrics taken.

Why does my Entry Vignette only show 30-days on it and not the full visa term?

The prior to March 2015 the Vignette sticker did show the full grant of leave, two years if you were on a Tier 5 and five years for the UK ancestry. But since that date it changed to the Vignette sticker only being valid for 30-day which is the time period given to allow you to arrive in the UK and collect your BRP. So, the dates on your travel vignette are not incorrect!

What date does my 30-day entry vignette start from?

Your 30-day entry window begins on the day you gave as your UK arrival date on your application form. So if you said you arriving on April 1st then your entry vignette will show April 1st to April 30th.

What happens if I decide to change my travel date after I receive my 30 day entry vignette sticker?

You will need to decide whether you are better to cancel your application entirely or to apply for a new replacement vignette for a new 30-day arrival window. I would suggest you weigh up the costs of each. I don't think it is much more to just cancel your visa application entirely, but you will have to have a healthy bank account because these refunds can take many weeks to arrive!