Temporary UK Visa Rules during Covid19 Lockdown

The Home Office UKVI has announced emergency measures and changes to the law relating to temporary visa holders and visitors from outside the EU who are currently in the UK. These changes take effect due to the restrictions announced by the UK Government to try to protect the public from the Covid19 pandemic.

If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020

Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

You must request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave the UK at present but are not planning to stay in the UK in the long term.

If you’re applying to stay in the UK long-term

You can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country. This temporary change therefore includes those people wanting to apply under the spouse visa rules.

You’ll need to meet the requirements of the route you are applying for and pay the UK application fee.

This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020.

You can apply online. The terms of your current leave (your current visa) will remain the same until your application is decided.

Application and Service Centres in the UK

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You cannot book an appointment at any UKVI office until further notice.

If you’ve already made an appointment

If you’ve already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS or an SSC, you will be contacted to be informed that it has been cancelled. You’ll be advised when you can book a new appointment. At present the Home Office are not taking new appointments for any type of application until there is clarity from the Government on when the Covid19 restrictions may be relaxed or removed.

Your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment.

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

You no longer need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each. The 12 month period you are required to employ someone for can be made up of multiple employees across different months.

Time when your employees were furloughed will not count towards the 12 month period.

If have not been able to employ staff for 12 months in total by the time your visa expires, you will be allowed to temporarily extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirement.

If you’ve applied for a Tier 4 visa and are waiting for a decision on your application

You can start your course or studies before your visa application has been decided if:

  • your sponsor is a Tier 4 sponsor
  • you have been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
  • you submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this (this only applies to students renewing their student visa)
  • the course you start is the same as the one listed on your CAS
  • you have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required

If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must stop your course or studies.

If you’ve applied for a Tier 2 or 5 visa and are waiting for a decision on your application

You can start work before your visa application has been decided if:

  • you have been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
  • you submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this
  • the job you start is the same as the one listed on your CoS

If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused your sponsor will stop sponsoring you and you must stop working for them.

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

Your visa will be automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020. Family members with a visa due to expire before 1 October 2020 will also have their visa extended.

The extension is free and you will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge.

You do not need to apply. We will contact NHS employers to identify staff eligible for this extension.

We will tell you and your employer if you have received an automatic extension.

Changes to the current restrictions on the number of hours you can work or volunteer

There is no longer a limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer each week if you work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic and you are a:

  • tier 4 student
  • tier 2 worker and your NHS job is a second job
  • visiting academic researcher
  • 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.

British nationals abroad who need to apply for a passport

If your country‘s VAC is closed, you won’t be able to apply for a British passport. If you urgently need to travel to the UK, you can apply for an emergency travel document.

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

If your endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because you have not been able to travel to the UK you may still be eligible for a visa. You should make your application as planned and we will consider all applications on a case by case basis.

Coronavirus Immigration Help

If you have immigration queries related to coronavirus, or any other aspect of UK Immigration Law please email us.

Telephone: 020 8401 7352 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)