COVID-19 Pandemic and Visa Extension
Due to COVID-19 pandemic Visa Nationals who cannot return home will be able to extend their visas.
Visas Extension Details as of 24th March 2020
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced new visa extension regulations yesterday evening 24th March 2020, which states that any Visa National whose leave expires after 24th January 2020 and before 31st May 2020 who cannot leave the country due to travel restrictions or self isolation, will not be penalised for overstaying.
Home Secretary said
The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for circumstances outside of their control. By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work.
The Home Office advises that any Visa National who falls into this extension category, should contact the new dedicated COVID-19 Immigration team established within the UKVI to ensure a smooth process as possible.
The Visa National is expected to return overseas to their home country as soon as practicable once the border and flight restrictions are lifted. No immigration enforcement action will be taken during this time.
Visa Nationals are advised to email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk, to let the Home Office know their visa has expired and they will be issued with an extension. The new regulations will be kept under review in the event further extensions are required.
The Home Office has introduced the temporary relaxation of the UK Immigration Rules concerned with applying, in-country, to switch from one visa status to another, to facilitate remaining in the United Kingdom for a longer term, for example, Tier 4 (Student) to Tier 2 (General Worker).
The Home Office advise that applications shall be processed as efficiently as possible, but due to COVID-19 related operational pressures, some applications may take longer than usual.
Visa Sponsors requirements
In light of the current advice on self-isolation and social distancing, the Home Office is also waiving a number of requirements on visa sponsors, such as permitting non-EU nationals in the United Kingdom under work or study routes to undertake their work or study from home.