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 06 April 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.”

Application and Service Centres in the UK

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19). You cannot book an appointment.

If you’ve already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS or an SSC, you will be contacted to be informed that it has been cancelled. You’ll be advised when you can book a new appointment.

Your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment.”

If you’re on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and your business has been disrupted

 “You no longer need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each. The 12-month period you are required to employ someone for can be made up of multiple employees across different months.

Time when your employees were furloughed will not count towards the 12-month period.

If have not been able to employ staff for 12 months in total by the time your visa expires, you will be allowed to temporarily extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirement.”

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 here or contact your test centre for more information.”

Getting your documents:

“Due to worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions it may not be possible to return your passport at this time.

If you have submitted your passport and would like it returned, you must contact the visa application centre where you logged your application to see if courier return is available in your location.”

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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