On 24 March 2020 the Home Office released new guidance for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents who are affected by the current coronavirus epidemic.
The Home Office has confirmed that individuals’ visas will be extended to 31 May 2020 if they cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus. If an individual’s visa is expiring, they must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update their records, confirming their personal details and why they cannot go back to their home country (e.g. due to border closures).
If an individual is applying to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office has said that due to the unique circumstances of the pandemic, individuals will be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020 - this includes applications where the individual would usually need to apply for a visa from their home country. This applies to individuals whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020.
The guidance also confirms that an individual will not be regarded as an overstayer or be subject to enforcement action if they are unable to attend a biometric appointment due to the coronavirus or if there are delays in processing their application.
The Home Office has also provided guidance on the gov.uk website for individuals who are outside the UK and need to access visa services, as well as British nationals abroad who need to apply for a passport.
The full Home Office guidance can be found on the gov.uk website, and as the worldwide coronavirus situation develops, we expect further information and guidance to be released. If an individual has a specific immigration query related to coronavirus, they can email the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre at CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
If you have concerns about your immigration status and the impact of the current coronavirus outbreak, please contact an immigration adviser.