Immigration – COVID-19
The Home Office have released guidance for visa applicants and temporary UK residents, whose leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020. If this applies to you your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to Covid-19. You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team via email on CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk (you will receive a response within 5 working days) or by phone on 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Calls free of charge) to update them with your visa that is due to expire.
For those who are in the UK on short-term visas and expire before 31 May 2020, you can apply to stay in the UK long-term and make an in country application. You’ll still need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the relevant application fees.
UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are now temporarily closed. You cannot book appointments. For anyone who has appointments booked in these will be cancelled and you will be contacted by the Home Office to be told what to do next. The Home Office have confirmed that your immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment.
Important question about NHS frontline workers and their family, which we put to UKVI:-
There was an interesting post circulating about UKVI position if an NHS front line worker is here and sadly passes away will UKVI require his/her dependents to leave?
So we posed it to one of their management team and the response was
“I’m hopeful that decisions will be fairly generous and compassionate in relation to the virus” UKVI response as of 3rd April 2020
For applications outside of the UK:
- Most UK Visa Application Centres are now closed or are offering limited services
- Due to border closures and restrictions some countries are unable to receive visa vignettes sent from the UK
- Please check the relevant country specific TLS or VFS visa centre page for further advice
- If the visa centre you were due to attend has closed, they will be in contact with you to confirm that your appointment will not take place. They will contact you once the centres re-open to arrange your appointment
English Testing Centres are also affected
- We hope that these special measures will be extended as the situation continues, and we will regularly update this page.
For NHS frontline workers, the government has announced an automatic 1-year extension for those whose leave expires before 01 October 2020. Those who will be eligible will be doctors, nurses and paramedics employed by the NHS and their dependants. The Home Office has also lifted the restrictions on hours student nurses and doctors can work in the NHS.
For right to work checks and right to rent checks – the Home Office have introduced new temporary conditions namely that these can be carried out via video call and that documents can be uploaded online and sent by email.
For Judicial Review proceedings (including pre-action), the Home Office have requested that documents are sent electronically where possible. The email addresses to be used are UKVIPAP@homeoffice.gov.uk for PAP letters and UKVIJudicialReview@homeoffice.gov.uk for Judicial Review hearings in the Upper Tribunal. They will also respond by email where possible. They have also advised that there may be delays and they may not be able to meet certain deadlines.
We are also in the process of seeking guidance from the Home Office in regards to people who do not have valid leave in the UK and hope to provide an update shortly.
We are happy to provide specific immigration advice on Covid-19 related queries, we know that this is a troubling time but we have the experience and resources in place to provide full immigration advice on an urgent basis. Please contact us and we can book you in for an initial phone consultation with an immigration solicitor.
Please find below a link to the latest Covid-19 Home Office guidance:
Please note information is correct as of 02 April 2020.