Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UK Visa & Immigration Advice

COVID Immigration advice
Legally reviewed by: Nisha Leel In: Immigration

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UK Visa & Immigration Advice

Is your UK visa due to expire and are the travel restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) causing you worry about being able to travel back to your home country? 

With Coronavirus causing flights to be cancelled and areas around the world to be quarantined there is a risk that those currently in the UK on temporary visas will not be able to return home when they initially planned.

Our solicitors have started to receive enquiries from foreign nationals currently in the UK on a variety of visas about their rights and their ability to extend their stay.

If you are a UK visa holder and you are looking for ways to remain in the UK for longer than you planned due to the Coronavirus outbreak, for example by applying to extend your current visa, or applying for another visa, then get in touch.

Our immigration solicitors will be able to advise you on the options you may have and what steps you can take. We can help you to submit a visa or extension application and check your application for you if you wish to apply yourself instead.

Do not assume you can stay in the country after your visa expires, even if you do so as a direct result of the Coronavirus. If you overstay, your future visa applications will be affected.

Chinese Citizens in the UK

On the 17th of February (2020) the Home Office extended visas of Chinese citizens due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

All Chinese UK visa holders who are currently in the UK, whose visas are set to expire between 24th of January and the 30th of March have had their visas extended.

Those on extended visas, and those whose visa is due to expire after the 30th of March will need to follow Home Office announcements closely, as further announcements may be made, depending on the continuing impact of Coronavirus in China as well as on air travel.

Tier 2 and Tier 4 Visa Holders (Students and Workers)

When you are in the UK on a Tier 2 or Tier 4 visa you will need to meet the requirements as set out by that visa. However, due to the Coronavirus outbreak some exceptions have been put in place.

Sponsors will not need to withdraw sponsorship, due to exceptional circumstances, if:

  • A student cannot attend their studies for a period of over 60 days
  • An employee has been on unpaid sick leave for a period over 4 weeks

The Home Office will – due to the outbreak – not be taking compliance action against students, employees, employers or schools if the above happens. However, the decision whether or not to withdraw sponsorship remains with the sponsor.

This should be considered a temporary policy, and will be reviewed throughout the pandemic. If a student or employee takes long term leave without good reason, they likely will still lose their sponsorship.

Other Circumstances

Due to the rapid spread of the virus specific policy is not yet in place for citizens of countries aside from China. However, that does not mean you can not apply for an extension of your current visa. Likewise, if due to the outbreak you are unable to meet the requirements set out by a visa other than the Tier 2 or Tier 4 visa, you may still continue to remain in the UK due to the exceptional circumstances.

UK visa processing times may be affected, during and after the lockdown period.

If you are unsure of your own situation, and you want to find out more about which options may be available to you in order to remain in the UK longer, then get in touch with our expert Birmingham-based immigration solicitors today. 

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.