The Latest End of July 2020 UK Coronavirus Visa News and Guidance: Just only a day ago, the Home Office updated its guidance in relation to its ‘automatic visa extension’ policy. The policy allowed those with visas expiring between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 to get an extension. It is provided you contacted the Home Office requested these extensions. The UKVI has now ended this policy.
Now that the majority of countries all over the world lifted their travel restrictions, the Home Office encouraged everyone to take all reasonable steps to either leave the UK or apply for another visa.
The Grace Period
If these recent changes affect you (if your visa expired or will expire before 31 July 2020), you’ll have an extra month to make the necessary travel arrangements. This grace period will start from 1 August until 31 August 2020.
During this grace period, your visa conditions will be the same as they were before. For example, if the UKVI allowed you to work or study – you’ll be able to continue doing so until 31 August 2020. However, you’ll also need to make the necessary arrangements for your departure – buying a ticket home and leaving the UK.
The Home Office also confirmed that you do not need to contact them, provided you leave under the end of the grace period up (31 August 2020).
If You Cannot Leave before 31 August 2020
There may be genuinely exceptional circumstances, where you simply cannot leave the UK before by 31 August 2020. In this case, you’ll need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to request additional time to remain in the UK. This request is known as requesting ‘exceptional indemnity’. If you submit your request HERE, I can email you the Coronavirus Immigration Team contact details.
When making this request, you’ll need to provide all your details and Home Office reference numbers and explain why you are unable to leave the UK before 31 August 2020.
After you make such a request, the Home Office will get back to you and request further information to decide whether you qualify for this ‘exceptional indemnity’.
Home Office made it very clear that your circumstances will need to be truly exceptional to get this ‘exceptional indemnity’. It may be a confirmed flight ticket (after 31 August 2020) or a positive coronavirus test result.
If your request is successful, you will not get a new visa. Instead, your ‘exceptional indemnity’ will be an equivalent of ‘short-term protection’ against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired’.
If You Intend to Remain in the UK After 31 July 2020
If you would like to remain in the UK after 31 July 2020, you’ll need to make a valid visa application by 31 August 2020. Making a valid application means that you’ll need: 1. Meet the suitability requirements; 2. Meet the eligibility requirements; and 3. Follow the correct procedure.
The Correct Procedure
The correct procedure consists of five elements:
- Completing the correct form;
- Paying the fee;
- Submitting your ID and supporting documents together with your application;
- Pay your Immigration Health Surcharge;
- Provide your biometrics.
With regards to biometrics (your photo and fingerprints), rather unprecedently, the UKVI said they could reuse the fingerprints you’ve already given with your previous application.
With regards to a photo of yourself, they’ll get in touch with you by email and provide instructions on how to send them an image of your face and your supporting documents.
It may mean that in certain circumstances, you do not have to attend Application and Service Centres to provide biometric information.
However, if you cannot send the requested information by email, they’ll help you book an appointment.
Before the Home Office makes a decision on your application, you’ll be able to enjoy the same rights (e.g. work or study) you had before the expiry of your visa.
If You Became an Overstayer
Overstayer is a legal term indicating that a person remained in the UK without a valid visa.
If your visa expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 and you became an overstayer. As a result, the Home Office confirmed that they would not be taking any further actions and disregard the overstaying period. However, they’ll do this on one condition – you take steps to either leave or renew your visa from 1 August 2020 until 31 August 2020.