COVID-19 Update: General Guidance
On Thursday 2nd April 2020, the Home Office updated its guidance addressed to the following persons affected by travel restrictions because of COVID-19: –
If you are a visa holder and a short-term resident in the UK:
- If you are in the UK legally but your visa is due or has expired and you cannot return to your home country due to travel restrictions or self-isolated reasons associated with COVID-19, you can apply to the Home Office to have your visa extended. It will be extended up to 31st May 2020 and you will not be regarded as an “overstayer” or be penalised in the future.
- Individuals must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team on CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk and email them of their current situation. For information on what to include in the contents of the email and who this requirement applies to, please visit: https://www.hudsonmckenzie.com/covid-19-visa-extensions-granted-and-advice-for-visa-customers-visa-holders-and-short-term-residents/
- If you would like to switch to a long-term UK visa, the requirement to apply from your home country no longer exists and you can do this from the UK. It will be valid up until 31st May 2020. Please see further requirements and details under “Visa Holders in the UK” at: https://www.hudsonmckenzie.com/covid-19-visa-extensions-granted-and-advice-for-visa-customers-visa-holders-and-short-term-residents/
- UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are closed on an interim basis. Therefore, an individual’s immigration status will not be negatively impacted when they cannot attend an appointment. If you have already made an appointment, the SSC or UKVCAS will be in contact with you regarding what to do next.
If you are a visa applicant outside of the UK:
- All Visa Application Centres (VACs) are
currently closed. To view the status of VACs in each country, please visit the
appropriate commercial partner:
1) uk.tlscontact.com for Europe, Africa and sections of the Middle East
2) vfsglobal.co.uk for all other countries
- If you have an appointment at a closed VAC, a commercial partner will be in contact to advise that the appointment will not occur during this time.
- Due to the hindered services of UKVI, the Home Office is unable to meet its standards of service in this current climate. Thus, applications are not encouraged, and it cannot be stated when an application will be decided on if you choose to apply in light of the pandemic.
- Commercial partners (TLS and VFS) equally have
hindered services. Asa result, new procedures have been formed:
i) commercial partners can no longer print and send visa vignettes across certain borders and passages
ii) commercial partners should be contacted where individual’s passports are currently held at a VAC but there are not any prescribed arrangements to return them via courier. If such courier return has been paid, commercial partners will send passports back where routes allow them to do so. Please remember it may not be possible to return passports at this time.
- If there are extenuating circumstances where individuals cannot apply for a visa, please contact the British embassy, high commission or consulate of the country where the option to issue a visa waiver will be considered.
Applicants for a Global Talent, Start up or Innovator Visa:
Individuals may still qualify for a visa where their endorsement from an approved sponsor has ceased because they have not been able to enter or travel to the UK. Individuals should still make an application, and this will automatically be decided on a case by case basis.
Should you require further information regarding the above, please get in touch with the UK Immigration professional you deal with at Hudson McKenzie via email at email@example.com or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.