UK: Covid-19 Immigration Updates
The Home Office, a step or two behind the Irish authorities, has started to publish notices impacting immigration as a result of Covid-19. Some areas have been covered as follows:
If you are in the UK and your leave expires between 24th January 2020 – 31st May 2020:
- Your visa will be extended to 31st May 2020 if travel restrictions or self-isolation prevent leaving the UK.
- You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to update your details, providing:
– your full name (include any middle names)
– date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
– your previous visa reference number
– why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed
- You will receive confirmation when this is received and when the visa is extended.
(This is not the same as applying for an extension under immigration legislation!)
Applying for long stay visa from inside the UK:
- You can currently switch to a long-term UK visa from inside the UK until 31st May, including applications that would require you to apply from your home country.
- This includes those who have had a leave extension to 31st March 2020.
- You will need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the application fee, using the online application service.
Currently outside the UK:
- Many UK Visa Application Centre’s are currently closed or are providing limited services.
- For advice on Visa applications from your country please contact: – Europe, Africa and parts of the middle east – TLS contact – All other countries – VFS global
- The UK may not be able to send Visa Vignettes through some borders due to restrictions.
- You will be contacted if the VAC is closed.
(Note that: UK has stopped accepting visa applications in Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Iran, Jamaica,
Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, Suriname, USA and Venezuela.
In addition, it says that “UK has stopped accepting Priority Visa applications in Japan, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Brunei”.)
Return of Documents:
- If you have paid for courier returns and they are still open your documents will be returned.
- If your documents are held by VAC and you would like it to be returned contact the two links provided above.
- Return of documents will be carried out once Covid-19 is over.
- If the VAC in your country is closed and you urgently need to return to the UK, you can apply for an emergency travel document: https://www.gov.uk/emergency-travel-document
- Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk
- Phone: 0800 678 1767
* The Home Office website has been updated furiously overnight in a somewhat ‘piecemeal’ fashion. Some changes (relaxation of sponsor licence duties) have been removed
*Please treat any changes with caution, continuously check the information for more updates that could impact you and your family members
*The information requested to extend permission to remain does not apply to longer extensions of various categories of permission
*It is not yet clear what form of ‘permission to remain’ the extension will take and how the process will treat applicants with leave about to expire who cannot leave the UK
*There is nothing in place for people with pending applications who can no longer meet the requirements (i.e. financial requirements under Appendix FM)
On 25 March, the Home Office released two factsheets:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) factsheet: visa holders and short-term residents in the UK; and
Coronavirus (COVID-19) factsheet: visa customers outside of the UK.
More clarity needed – watch this space.