COVID-19 Update: More Visa Application Centres to re-open
On 19th June 2020, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) updated its policy guidance in respect of re-opening of more Visa Application Centres (VACs), the issuance of Tier 4 concessions and the opportunity for passports to be returned to some individuals.
- From Sunday 28th June 2020, further VACs are scheduled to reopen. VACs that operate from Sunday to Thursday as their working week will open then whilst VACS that operate from Monday-Friday as their working week will open on Monday 29th June 2020.
- From Monday 22nd June 2020, a fixed number of VACs will reopen solely for the purposes of returning passports to eligible individuals.
- Sponsors in the UK who are sponsoring individuals on Tier 4 visas who have been seriously impacted because of COVID-19 will be subject to certain allowances.
Re-opening of VACs:
The following VACs will reopen between 28th and 29th June 2020:
Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa, Al Khobar, Almaty, Amsterdam, Antalya, Antananarivo, Athens, Beirut, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dar es Salaam, Doha, Dubai, Dublin, Ekaterinburg, Gaborone, Harare, Jeddah, Jerusalem, Kampala, Kigali, Kuwait City, Lilongwe, Luanda, Lusaka, Manama, Maputo, Mombasa, Moscow, Muscat, Nairobi, Nicosia (South), Novosibirsk, Nur Sultan, Oslo, Podgorica, Prague, Pristina, Rabat, Reykjavik, Riyadh, Rome, Rostov, Sarajevo, Skopje, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Tbilisi, Tel Aviv, Tirana, Vienna, Warsaw, Windhoek, Yerevan.
Tier 4 Sponsors
UKVI have enlisted the following set of allowances for sponsors sponsoring individuals on a Tier 4 visa affected by the pandemic:
- Sponsors can still sponsor students who will commence part of their studies via distance or blended learning in the 2020/2021 academic year. This is on condition that the students return to face-to-face learning once circumstances permit them to do so.
- Tier 4 visa holders who are either extending their leave or switching visa routes from another visa category are eligible to apply for leave to remain.
Individual Passport Returns
A restricted number of VACs will reopen only for returning passports to eligible individuals. Individuals will not be able to submit new applications to these VACs, but they can return documents to them.
VACs will contact individuals to arrange a collection time for their documentation. This will happen if their applications have already been determined and their passports are being held at a VAC.
For individuals whose applications have not been determined, a VAC will not contact them until a decision has been finalised. Should such individuals request for their passports to be returned to them even though their applications have been determined, they should contact their VAC and request for the return.
We advise that you check the appropriate commercial partner website to view if passport returns are being offered at their local VAC. We also advise that you continuously monitor the appropriate commercial partner website to check when booking slots for appointments go live and which VACs are open.
Please remember that UKVI are still not offering priority and super priority services at this current time. This will be reviewed in due course.
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require immigration advice, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at email@example.com or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.