COVID-19 updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the UK immigration system. Where do you stand?

In these testing times of uncertainty, clarity is of the utmost importance. Irrespective of one’s social, political or economic status, we are all impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in some capacity. To shed some light, here is some advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents.

(Updated as of 25 March 2020)

If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020:

“your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT).”

Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. Your email must be in English.

Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.

You should provide:

  • your full name (include any middle names)
  • date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • nationality
  • your previous visa reference number
  • why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed

You will be notified when your request has been received and when your visa has been extended.

If you’re applying to stay in the UK long term:

“during these unique circumstances you’ll be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country. You’ll need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the UK application fee. This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020. You can apply online. The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided.”

If you’re outside the UK:

“many UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed or offering limited services. For advice on visa services in your country, contact”:

  • TLS contactif you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
  • VFS globalfor 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 you’ve paid for courier return, your passport will be returned if courier routes remain open. 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. We will prioritise the return of all documents once VACs are open.”

British nationals abroad who need to apply for a passport:

“If your country‘s VAC is closed, you won’t be able to apply for a British passport. If you urgently need to travel to the UK, you can apply for an emergency travel document.”

For more information on how visa (applicants/applications/extensions) will be impacted during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, send an email to info@compasslaw.org.uk to book a telephone/skype consultation. The fee is £30.

To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service will be held remotely on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm (Bolton). Please be advised that our Preston drop-in service held on Fridays have been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Compass Immigration Law LTD:

“The direct route to immigration expertise.”


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At Compass Immigration Law Ltd, the well-being of our staff and clients is of the utmost importance. To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), for the foreseeable future, appointments will only be issued to clients on an ‘urgent’ basis.

As we continue to monitor the latest updates and advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE), we urge you to help us by not attending the office unless you have been instructed to do so by a member of staff.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 such as:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • Shortness of breath

Follow the NHS guidelines at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and do NOT attend the office.

Until further notice, our Friday drop-in service held in Preston will be closed. Though our Monday drop-in service in Bolton will remain open, to minimise risk, we urge you to contact us to arrange telephone/skype consultations where necessary.

If you have any queries or require information about the progress of your case, please get in touch using the contact information below.

Compass Immigration Law Ltd

T: 01204 531 535

E: info@compasslaw.org.uk