5 January 2021
The Metropolitan Police have released a statement announcing that the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) London have temporarily suspended the processing of some Police Registration Certificate changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The period of suspension runs from Monday 7th December 2020 to Wednesday 7th April 2021.
Under UK immigration rules, certain foreign nationals are required to register with the police shortly after arriving in the UK or after getting permission to stay for longer in the UK.
After registering, migrants are issued with a Police Registration Certificate (PRC), a document which proves the holder has complied with the requirements of their UK visa. Migrants are required to keep their PRC for the duration of their stay in the UK, and must inform the police of any changes to their circumstances, such as a change of address or if they have been granted a new visa.
However, the temporary suspension means that migrants will be unable to update some changes until 7 April 2021, when a new online registration portal is due to be launched.
Latest advice for overseas visitors
The current guidance from police confirms that the suspension only applies to individuals reporting a change to their existing Police Registration Certificate (PRC).
If you have been granted a new visa within the UK or overseas, or if you need to report a change in your circumstances, you are advised not to book an appointment until the period of suspension ends on 7 April 2021. Those with appointments already booked are encouraged to cancel their booking and book a new appointment using the online portal when it launches.
Changes of address are unaffected by the suspension, and this can still be reported to a police station front desk.
During the period of suspension, you should only book an appointment with OVRO if:
- You need to register with the police for the first time, or
- You require a replacement PRC.
It should be noted that there will be no penalties for individuals who are unable to attend an appointment during this time, and future visa applications should not be affected by delays caused by the suspension.
The Metropolitan Police have produced a letter which migrants can present to UKVI Border officers when re-entering the UK, and can submit as supporting evidence when filing a visa application to the UKVI.
Further information on the new online registration portal will be released in due course.
Do I need a Police Registration Certificate?
You will usually need to register with the police and obtain a Police Registration Certificate if all of the following apply:
- You are 16 or older
- Your permission to stay in the UK is valid for six months or longer
- You are a citizen of a listed country
- You are not exempt
If you fail to register with the police when required, you could face a fine or a prison sentence. Your permission to stay in the UK may also be affected and you may be prevented from applying for or extending a UK visa in the future.
You can find out if you need to register by checking your visa vignette sticker in your passport if you applied for a visa from outside the UK, or by checking your visa approval letter from the Home Office if you applied from within the UK.
Speak to an immigration advisor
If you have any questions about obtaining a Police Registration Certificate, or if you need support with any aspect of your UK visa application, Smith Stone Walters can help.
To speak to a qualified immigration advisor, please contact us today.