Impact of Coronavirus on Your Visa:
The Home Office Will Extend Your Visa
If you’re in the UK and your leave (visa) expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020, the Home Office can extend it up to 31 May 2020. This is if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Here is What You Need to Do
You need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update your records if your visa is expiring and you were not planning to stay in the UK.
- You should provide:
- your full name (include any middle names)
- date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
- your previous visa reference number
- why you can’t go back to your home country, for example, if the border has closed
- The email must be in English.
The Home Office aims to reply to your email within 5 working days.
If You Would Like to Remain in the UK on a Long-Term Basis
You can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country. You will need to meet the requirements of the route you are applying for 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
The UKVI closed all UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres and Service and Support Centres because of coronavirus (COVID-19). You cannot book an appointment at this stage either. If you’ve already made an appointment to attend these centres, the Home Office representative will contact you to inform you that your appointment is now cancelled. They will also tell you when you can book a new appointment. You need to note that your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment.
Tier 1 Entrepreneurs
If you are 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 months. To be furloughed means that the workers are told to stay away from work for a certain period of time.
If have not been able to employ staff for 12 months in total by the time your visa expires, the UKVI will allow you to temporarily extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirement.
If You’re A Doctor, Nurse or Paramedic Working for The NHS
The Home Office will automatically extend your visa by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020. They will also extend visas of all your family members. This is provided their visas were due to expire before 1 October 2020.
The extension is free. You do not need to pay the immigration health surcharge either.
Unlike all other migrants who need to contact the Home Office, you do not need to apply. The Home Office will contact NHS employers to identify all workers who may be eligible for this extension. The Secretary of State will tell you and your employer if you have received an automatic extension.
No Limit on the Number of Hours
There is no longer a limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer each week if you work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic and you are a:
- tier 4 student
- tier 2 worker and your NHS job is a second job
- visiting academic researcher
- holder of a short-term visa and can volunteer
The deadline for pre-registration nurses to sit the Occupational Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is now 31 December 2020.
If You Are Outside The UK
All UK Visa Application Centres are closed. If you have an appointment, the UKVIsa Application Centre representative will contact you and inform you of the cancellation.
Getting Your Documents
Due to worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions you may experience challenges with getting your passport back. If you have submitted your passport and would like it returned, you need to contact the visa application centre where you logged your application and ask if courier return is available in your location.
Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator Visa
If your endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because you have not been able to travel to the UK you may still be eligible for a visa. You should make your application as planned and the Home Office will consider all applications on a case by case basis.
EU Settlement Scheme
Those EEA national or family members who submitted their applications under the EU settlement scheme should be aware that:
- the telephone helpline for EU settled status enquiries is closed, but emails to the Settlement Resolution Centre are still being answered.
- You can no longer send any documents by post
Due to staff absences, there will be considerable delays in the decision-making process.
A Home Office fact sheet, EU Settlement Scheme: Impact of coronavirus, exists but says nothing in particular.