COVID-19 Update: Health Measures and Visa Extensions
On Friday 22nd May 2020, The Home Office imparted new guidance on the future health measures at the UK border which are due to take effect from 8th June 2020. This guidance also contains supplementary information about visa extensions for migrants in the UK.
New Amendments- Entering the UK:
- Passengers must provide travel and contact information upon arrival into the UK. This includes filling in a contact locator form for the purposes of monitoring the spread of the coronavirus.
- Border Force officers will now conduct spot checks at the border. Individuals who refuse to fill in the relevant information may be liable to a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100.00.
- Individuals not included on the approved list of exemptions must self-quarantine in their stipulated accommodation for 14 days. This means they must not leave their accommodation unless in extenuating circumstances, such as to receive medical treatment, attend a funeral or buy food should it not be brought to them. This also includes not having visitors unless they are providing necessary care for the individual self-isolating.
- For individuals who are unable to declare where they will self-isolate, the UK government will arrange accommodation for them accordingly.
- Individuals who refuse to self-quarantine upon arrival may be liable to either a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £1000.00 or prosecution and a limitless fine. This will be determined depending on each individual case.
- Individuals should download the NHS contact tracing app upon arrival at the border.
- Public Health England will conduct random spot checks on a handful of UK arrivals, ensuring they possess all the necessary health advice and they are in quarantine.
Only a smattering of individuals will be exempt from self-isolating for 14 days or completing the online contact locator form and providing a contact detail declaration. This applies to diplomats, contractors, defence personnel and individuals employed in the security sector. A full list of exemptions will be published by the UK government in due course.
New Amendments- Visa Extensions and Switching Visas:
- Migrants who hold visas that have expired or are due to expire between 24th January and 31st July 2020 qualify for a visa extension. Originally, this used to be up to 31st May 2020 but now, such individuals are eligible for a visa extension up to 31st July 2020.
- Individuals who already have had their visa extended up to 31st May 2020 will benefit from an automatic visa extension up to 31st July 2020. No further action is required.
- Individuals who are either on temporary or visitor visas are still encouraged to return home as soon as possible when there is a viable and safe way to do so.
- To request for a visa extension, individuals must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team. You must supply them with your up-to-date records if you are in the UK, your visa is due to expire but you are not planning to stay, and you cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
- Should you wish to stay in the UK for a longer duration, you can apply to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31st July 2020. This applies to individuals whose leave expires between 24th January 2020 and 31st July 2020, those who have already benefitted from an automatic visa extension and visa applicants who would normally need to apply for a visa from their respective home countries.
- Should you meet the requirements for your designated travel route and pay the UK application fee, you can apply online to switch. The terms of your leave will remain unchanged until your application has been determined.
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or you require help with your visa application, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.