Following unprecedented action taken by the UK government to delay the spread of coronavirus the Home Office has updated its guidance to foreign nationals in the UK. Whilst the Home Office have been slow to issue this latest guidance, it is hoped that it will go some way to alleviate concerns that businesses and individuals may have. Our coronavirus immigration rules update should help to explain this further.
If you are in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020:
Home Office guidance states that if you fall in the above category of migrant whose leave expires between 24 January and 31 May, your leave will be extended to 31 May. Unfortunately, this extension of leave has not been unilaterally rolled out without conditions. In order to qualify for an extension you must demonstrate:
- that you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions to your home country; or
- because you are self-isolating in accordance with the guidance.
(If you are unsure about the guidance on self-isolating, this can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/)
You must inform the Home Office that you have remained in the UK if your leave expired after 24 January 2020, or if your leave is expiring before 31 May 2020. The Home Office has a dedicated Coronavirus Team that must be updated.
To update your records with the Home Office you should email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk with the following information:
- 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
The Home Office will contact you when your request is received and when your visa has been extended.
Applying to remain in the UK long term
The Home Office have relaxed the rules that require some migrants to return home for a visa, for example, if you are a Tier 2 PBS dependent, who has obtained sponsorship under Tier 2 (General). If you intend to apply to switch in the UK, you must do this before 31 May 2020. The requirements for individual visas have not be relaxed, only the way in which you can apply. You will still therefore be required to meet the same visa requirements.
If you are outside the UK and intended to apply for entry clearance
Many UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed or offering limited services. For advice on visa services in your country, contact:
- TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
- VFS global for all other countries
In some areas the UK cannot send visa vignettes across some borders and routes due to border restrictions.
If you have an appointment and the VAC is now closed, you’ll be contacted and told your appointment will not take place.
English Testing Centres are also affected. Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website or contact your test centre for more information.
Getting your documents
If your passport is currently held in a VAC and you would like it to be returned by courier, please contact either TLS contact or VFS global directly if you haven’t already paid for courier return.
As ever, we are available to give you free advice to address any concerns you have arising out of the Coronavirus immigration rules update in these difficult circumstances. Email email@example.com, call 0330 111 6682 or visit our scheduling page on our website to book in a phone or video call with on of team here.