The situation for people who are in the UK on an expiring visa and unable to leave because of travel restrictions is a very serious one, which the government has now addressed.
The official guidance says:
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).
The Home Office’s guidance continues:
You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update your records if your visa is expiring.
You should provide:
- your full name (include any middle names)
- date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
- your previous visa reference number
- why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed
The Home Office will let you know when your request is received and when your visa has been extended.
The extensions will last until 31 May, but ministers have said the situation would be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed.
A dedicated Covid-19 immigration team has been set up within the Home Office to make the process as “straightforward as possible” for visa holders.
The guidance also includes information on switching visas, it says:
If you’re applying to stay in the UK long-term
During these unique circumstances you’ll be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.
You’ll need to meet the same visa requirements 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 leave will remain the same until your application is decided.
ACTING QUICKLY IS KEY HERE, THESE OPTIONS MAY NOT LAST FOR LONG!
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