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COVID-19 advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

COVID19

This advice is relevant to you if you are affected by travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19.

If you are in the UK and your visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020

As mentioned in our previous article, if you cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation related to the COVID-19, your visa can be extended to 31 May 2020. You can do so by providing the necessary information to the Coronavirus Immigration Team.

Importantly, your visa will not be automatically extended.

If you are applying to stay in the UK long-term

You can apply from within the UK until 31 May 2020. This includes applications where you normally would have to apply for a visa from your home country.

However, you must still meet the respective requirements of the visa you are applying for and pay the relevant Home Office application fees.

Application and Service Centres in the UK

All UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs), where applicants usually submit their biometric information in the UK during the visa process, are temporarily closed. You cannot book an appointment at the moment.

Moreover, if you have already made an appointment, you will be informed that your appointment has been cancelled and when you can book a new appointment in the future.

Your immigration status in the UK will not be affected due to the inability to attend an appointment.

If you are on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and your business has been disrupted

It is no longer a requirement for you to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each. The 12-month period can now be made up of multiple employees across different months.

However, the time your employees were furloughed will not count towards the 12-month period.

Additionally, if you fail to meet the requirement by the time your visa expires, you will be allowed to temporarily extend your stay in order to meet the requirement.

If you are a doctor, nurse or paramedic working for the NHS

As mentioned in our previous article, your and your family members’ visas will be automatically extended by a year if they are due to expire before 1 October 2020.

This extension will be free of charge and you will not need to pay for the immigration health surcharge for this extra year.

Furthermore, you do not need to apply for the extension yourself. The Home Office will contact NHS employers to identify staff eligible for this extension and they will inform you whether you have received an automatic extension.

No more limit on the numbers of hours you can work or volunteer each week for the NHS

This includes those who are working for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic and you are a:

  • Tier 4 student; or
  • Tier 2 worker and your NHS job is a second job; or
  • Visiting academic researcher; or
  • Holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer

If you are a pre-registration nurse in the UK

The deadline for you to sit the Occupational Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has been extended to 31 December 2020.

If you are outside the UK

All UK Visa Application Centres (VACs), where applicants usually submit their biometric information outside the UK during the visa process, are now closed. Should you wish to know the status of the VACs in your country, you could either contact TLS contact or VFS global. However, they do not have a lot of updates at the moment.

Furthermore, if you have an appointment at a VAC which is now closed, you will be informed that your appointment will not take place for now.

Getting your documents

Due to worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions, you may not be able to receive your visa vignette or have your passport submitted with a visa application returned to you at this time.

You could contact the VAC where you lodged your application to see if a return of your passport by courier is possible.

British nationals abroad who need to apply for a British passport

If your country’s VAC is closed, you will not be able to apply for a British passport, but you can apply for an emergency travel document should you urgently need to travel. 

If you are applying for a Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visa

If your endorsement from an endorsing body has expired due to inability to travel to the UK, you may still be eligible for a visa. Kindly note that this will be on a discretionary case-by-case basis.

You can read more about the Home Office’s guidance via the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents?utm_source=f05f1502-881e-4d25-bc01-792802d0ef1b&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Should you have any questions regarding your UK immigration status, please do not hesitate to contact our professional team of immigration lawyers at Barar and Associates at barar.london@bararassociates.co.uk or call us at 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via https://bararassociates.com/.