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I have seen message threads on the net refer to a 28 day grace period for disregarding overstaying when a person applies for further leave to remain (FLR) and indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Can anyone confirm this? If so, does the person have to give any sort of explanation for why their application is out-of-time?

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This is discretionary, but in general honored for applications within that time frame. This grace period was introduced to allow for some leniency with regards to any variety of external reasons why an applicant might not have gotten an application in before their current leave expired although that isn't really officially stated. It just makes sense. Here is a link to the general guidance for case workers on the subject, page 5.

It should be noted, this does not mean that any of those 28 days are simply forgiven. For citizenship applications, they still may be considered and held against the applicant. 3C may not apply. And if the application ultimately fails, those 28 days are included into the entire period of overstay.

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The 28 day 'grace period' for overstayers is no longer a part of the rules as of 24 November 2016...

removal of the 28 day grace period for overstayers (which is permitted for applications for renewal of leave from those who have overstayed their leave to be in the UK), replaced with a provision to disregard overstaying in a limited set of circumstances

The Immigration Rules were amended with effect from 24 November 2016 to abolish the 28 day grace period, under which applications for leave to remain were not refused on the basis of overstaying if made within 28 day of the expiry of leave. The Immigration Rules now provide for current overstaying to be disregarded in a limited number of scenarios but otherwise it is a now a ground for refusal.

Source: Revised Guidance

The guidance goes on to list the 'limited number of scenarios'.

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