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Update COVID-19: family or private life visas

The Home Office updated their guidance relating to the impact of the COVID-19 on visa applications on the basis of family or private life.

Update COVID-19: family or private life visas 

The Home Office recently updated their guidance relating to the impact of the COVID-19 on visa applications on the basis of family or private life.

Those visa applications are for individuals applying as a fiancé, fiancée, proposed civil partner, spouse, civil partner parent, child, dependant or simply on the grounds of their life in the UK.

Provisions have been made to the minimum income and adequate maintenance requirement, the English language requirement and the requirement to provide specified documents as well as a break in continuous residence. Barar & Associates has explained the important points for you below.

Fiancés, fiancées or proposed civil partners

If you are in the UK with a fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner visa valid for 6 months and your wedding or civil ceremony has been delayed due to the COVID-19, you have two choices to allow the ceremony to take place:

  • Apply to extend your current visa until 31 July 2020 via an online form; or
  • Apply for an extension of a further 6 months of your current visa by completing an online form and submitting supporting documents.

Changes to the minimum income and adequate maintenance requirement

If you apply to enter the UK or to stay in the UK based on family or private life, you will need to meet the minimum income and adequate maintenance requirement.

Most individuals have seen their income reduced due to the coronavirus. Therefore, the Home Office will consider employment income for the period immediately before the reduction of income. However, the minimum income requirement should have been met for at least 6 months prior to March 2020.

Furthermore, if you are furloughed and, thus, your salary has decreased, the Home Office will take into consideration your salary as if you were earning 100% of your normal salary.

Moreover, if you are self-employed and you have a loss of annual income due to the COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020, this should be disregarded.

Changes to the English language requirement

If you need to take an English language test to meet the English language requirement for your visa application, and the test centre was closed or you could not travel to it due to the COVID-19, you can apply for an exemption.

Specified documents and break in continuous residence

The Home Office requires the provision of rigorous specified documents with family or private life visa applications and refusals are common for omission of or an error in one document.

Currently, in some cases, if specified documents cannot be obtained due to the COVID-19, the Home Office should be able to decide a visa application without them. However, the applicant could be asked to submit the specified documents after the date of the visa application.

Furthermore, if an applicant is outside the UK and unable to travel back due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and his/her visa has expired, a short break in his/her continuous residence will be disregarded. However, the applicant is expected to make his/her next visa application as soon as possible.

You can find the requirements for family or private life visa applications in the Immigration Rules accessible via this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules

Should you have any questions about family or private life visa applications, please do not hesitate to contact our professional team of London Immigration Lawyers at Barar & Associates at barar.london@bararassociates.co.uk or call us on 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via https://bararassociates.com/.