Amie Tsang, Senior Consultant, Immigration and Property, shares the Home Office’s latest advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents regarding coronavirus

The Home Office has issued further advice for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus.

If you’re in the UK and your leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020

If you had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 you were able to request an extension if you were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Now travel restrictions are lifting globally you will no longer be able to extend your visa automatically on this basis and you are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK.

If you decide to leave the UK

To allow time to make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK, if you have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, you’ll be able to stay within the UK to 31 August 2020.

From 1 to 31 August 2020, the conditions of your stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of your leave. So, if your conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during August 2020 ahead of your departure.

You do not need to contact the Home Office to tell us you are able to leave the UK during the grace period up until 31 August 2020.

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional assurance.

The grant of an assurance does not grant you leave but will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired.

After you’ve completed the form, you’ll be told what you’ll need to submit to show you can’t leave the UK.

For example, if you can’t leave the UK because you can’t find a flight before your leave/visa expires, you’ll need to submit a copy of a confirmed flight ticket. If you can’t leave the UK because you have coronavirus, you’ll need to submit confirmation of your positive coronavirus test result.

If you intend to stay in the UK

If you decide to stay in the UK, you should apply for the necessary leave to remain in the UK. You’ll also be able to submit an application form from within the UK where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

You’ll need to meet the requirements of the route you’re applying for and pay the UK application fee. This includes those whose leave expires before 31 August 2020.

The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided. If you are switching into work or study routes you may be able to commence work or study whilst your application is under consideration.

If your leave expires after 1 September 2020

You can submit an application form from within the UK where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

You’ll need to show your application is urgent, for example if you need to start a new job or course of study.

You’ll need to pay the fees and meet all requirements of your visa as normal, except the need to submit the application in your home country.

This is being kept under review.

If you have overstayed your leave

If your visa or leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 there will be no future adverse immigration consequences if you didn’t make an application to regularise your stay during this period. However, you must now do so by 31 August 2020 or make arrangements to leave the UK.

The above is part only of the guidance. Should you require further advice do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss how we may help. You can email me via amie.tsang@dbf-law.co.uk or call me on 0161 832 3304

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