The current COVID-19 pandemic is infiltrating every aspect of life be it education, business or travel. Because of the ongoing travel restrictions, non-UK nationals may be facing uncertainty with respect to the expiration of their current UK Visa or leave to remain in the country.
Since the situation is beyond the control of the travelers, the Home Office is making every possible effort to reduce the chaos. Also, individuals in the UK whose immigration status is influenced by the COVID 19 outbreak will be entitled to receive an automatic extension until 31st March 2020.
Scroll down to discover if your visa will be automatically extended or if you’re required to get in touch with the Home Office’s specialized Coronavirus helpline to get your query resolved. Note that the dedicated helpline is only responsive to the UK visa holders and applicants who wish to extend their visas. In case anyone else wishes to speak to the Home Office on the visa holder’s behalf, they should seek permission from the concerned person.
Non-UK Nationals whose visa has recently expired…
Non-UK citizens whose visa has recently expired or about to expire will be entitled to get an extension to their visa subject to their visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.
Apart from that, you’ll also get an automatic visa extension if you’re staying in the UK on a long-term standard visa category (generally, for 5, 10, 15 years). Noticeably, there are no formalities involved to get this extension and your updated expiry date will be automatically included in the Immigration’s systems.
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For Non-Chinese, Non-EEA Nationals
You must contact the dedicated Coronavirus helpline if you’re a non-Chinese or non-EEA resident living in the UK and has an expiry date stamped between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 on your visa. The Home Office will only be able to stamp an extension if you can prove you’re normally resident in China.
Chinese Nationals Whose Visa Was Issued Through British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS)
Chinese citizens whose visa was granted by the Irish visa authorities under the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS) should contact the helpline to discuss their case with the authorities.
Non-UK Nationals on a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
Those Chinese or non-UK nationals who want to switch to Tier-2 General Visa category from Tier-2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa may need to return to their home country to make their application. You’ll have to pay the relevant fee and fulfill all the prerequisites of a Tier-2 General Visa category.
UK Visa Application centers in China and other countries are presently closed. The reopening of VACs entirely depends on the situation and updates will be available on the official VACs website.
Non-UK nationals whose passport is at VAC will be returned via courier (this facility is not available for all countries). If your passport is held in a VAC, you can contact VFS Global for updates.
Due to the travel restrictions, it is currently not possible to apply for British Citizenship from any country. If you have an emergency and you want to travel to the UK, you may have to apply for an emergency travel document.
Your Access to Healthcare in the UK
Anyone living in the UK can get free of cost diagnosis and treatment of COVID 19. Also, no immigration checks are needed for visitors that are undergoing the diagnosis or treatment of the disease. The UK Government has also issued advice and guidance for the healthcare facilities and requirements of migrant patients. Make sure you immediately call NHS 111 to seek assistance if you have an unmanageable health condition and you’re finding it difficult to handle it on your own.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, almost all organizations have had to cancel their one-on-one support or guidance activities. Make sure you check online resources or have a telephonic call with a professional immigration lawyer to discuss your case.
In addition to that, you can also contact the dedicated Coronavirus immigration helpline to get your queries answered regarding immigration and visa services.
Don’t forget to read the Foreign Travel Advice issued by the UK Government especially if you’re planning a trip abroad. In order to avoid or manage risks, be certain to stay updated with the latest news and updates. The Foreign Office has also issued a detailed guide on travel safety that you must read if you have any scheduled travel plans for yourself or your family in the coming days.
Make sure you keep yourself updated with the latest advice for international travelers. Don’t forget to check this official link out to stay updated with the general public information issued by the UK Government. Feel free to share your thoughts on the current situation as we would love to hear back. Stay Safe…