Visa extensions for those
impacted by COVID-19

With many foreign nationals finding themselves unable to return home since the outbreak of COVID-19 due to flight cancellations and border controls, the Home Office last evening announced measures to extend leave up to 31 May for those individuals currently affected by the restrictions or self-isolation.

Anyone whose leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020 and is unable to leave the country ahead of their visa expiry must contact the dedicated Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) via

In doing so, their records will be updated and they will be issued with a visa extension until the end of May. Details of the specific information you must provide in the communication can be found here.

‘Switching’ extended

To help those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office is also temporarily expanding their in-country switching provisions.

Applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country can currently be applied for via the UKVI ‘in-country’ online submission process. The same visa requirements and UK application fees will apply.

Since applications may take longer than usual due to COVID-19 related operational pressures, an individual’s leave will remain in tact until their application is decided.

Compliance requirements temporarily lifted

In light of the current advice on self-isolation and social distancing, the Home Office also announced it is waiving a number of requirements on visa sponsors, such as allowing non-EU nationals here under work or study routes to undertake their work or study from home.

Smith Stone Walters

Should you require further clarity in relation to your current UK visa status during these turbulent times, please contact one of the team at Smith Stone Walters for advice.

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