Have you been affected by the Coronavirus while applying for a UK Visa and need our expert assistance? Call us on +44 (0) 203 178 2048
Breaking Coronavirus UK Visa News – 02.11.2020 – UK announces Lockdown 2.0 – Home Office (UKVI) extends the Coronavirus guidance until 30.11.2020 – Visitors CAN apply for a long-term visa within the UK until 30th November 2020 if there is an urgent need to apply from the UK or cannot fly back home to apply.
31.07.2020 – Home Office extends the Coronavirus guidance for the last time to 31st August 2020- you must leave the UK by then, or apply in the UK for a long term UK Visa before 31st August 2020 deadline – see below for more information.
18.06.2020 – We have begun receiving our clients’ UK Visa approvals for cases submitted outside the UK! 90-day Entry Clearance Visas being issued instead of the 30-day paper vignette expected! See below for more info.
We are pleased to confirm that the Home Office (UK Visas and Immigration – UKVI) has updated their Coronavirus policy guidance (01.11.2020) to confirm that visitors stuck in the UK due to the COVID-19 lockdowns can to further extend their visa expiry date by asking for permission. Read below for more detailed information about the latest changes and how they may affect you.
The Coronavirus policy guidance issued by the UKVI explains the temporary changes (covering 01.11.2020 – 30.11.2020 only for now) that have been made to accommodate applicants stuck in the UK or looking to apply for a UK Visa during the next lockdown period (inside and outside the UK).
To keep things simple for you, we have broken up the UKVI’s Coronavirus policy guidance into sections below. Each section explains how the latest Coronavirus policy guidance may affect you depending on your specific situation. Please note that our advice to clients varies greatly depending on whether they are looking to apply for a UK Visa within the UK or their home country (or country of residence) outside the UK.
Last updated 02.11.2020 at 11 am (GMT)
Coronavirus UK Visa guidance reintroduced between 01.11.2020 – 30.11.2020 – Visitors stuck in the UK can switch in-country to a long-term UK Visa if they cannot return home or have an urgent need to apply from the UK!
We are pleased to confirm that on 1st November 2020, the Home Office has updated the Coronavirus guidance in response to the UK entering a second lockdown on 5th November 2020 until early December 2020. If you are still not able to return to your home country due to the Coronavirus lockdowns (and secured “exceptional assurance” from the Home Office if needed), you may be able to apply within the UK to a long-term UK Visa if you qualify.
If you are still stuck in the UK and unable to return to your home country, you can either:
- Continue to obtain “exceptional assurance” from the Home Office by submitting their online form (see link in the section above) and providing evidence to show you cannot leave the UK ASAP.
- If there is an urgent need, you can apply within the UK before 30th November 2020 for a long-term UK Visa (such as a Tier 2 (General) Visa or Tier 4 Student Visa), if you can satisfy the rules to qualify.
If you are a visitor stuck in the UK, we would recommend you read the following to ensure you understand the rules in place since 31st August 2020:
- You have been required since 31st August 2020 to obtain permission from the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) at the Home Office to remain in the UK beyond your visa expiry date. This temporary permission extended your visa expiry date, and you were expected to seek a further extension each time it was about to expire.
- If you need to extend your UK Visa expiry date again as you still cannot leave, you should submit an online form to the Home Office requesting “exceptional assurance” to protect yourself from breaking the immigration rules by overstaying the validity of your UK Visa – Click here to access the online form you need.
- If you have not contacted the Home Office and obtained “exceptional assurance” it could negatively impact any future UK Visa applications you may make as your records could show you as breaching the UK visa rules.
- If you want to remain in the UK and switch to a long-term UK visa category (such as a UK Partner Visa, Tier 2 company-sponsored work permit, or Tier 4 Student Visa), the new Coronavirus guidance allows you to apply from the UK up until 30th November 2020 IF there is an urgent need or you cannot apply from your home country due to Coronavirus. To switch to a long-term category, you will need to submit an application within the UK but can only do this if you satisfy ALL of the qualifying rules.
If you think you qualify for any category of longer-term UK residence visa, why not contact our UK Visa Experts today so we can assess your eligibility for free. Simply submit a call back request on this page, and one of our UK Visa Experts will call you back shortly to briefly discuss your situation and explain how we can assist you.
We’ve started receiving UK Visa Entry Clearance approvals for our clients worldwide since 1st June 2020, and our clients are receiving a 90-day UK Entry Clearance Visa stamped in their passport instead of the 30-days typically granted!
Since the UKVI (Home Office) began to process overseas UK Visa applications after the 3-month Coronavirus lockdown suspension, we finally began receiving UK Visa approvals again on 1st June 2020 from countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, etc. The excellent news for all our clients being approved in countries who’s visa centres have reopened is that they are receiving paper UK Entry Clearance Visas in their passports valid for 90-days instead of the typical 30-days. This shows the Home Office in the UK understands that UK Visa applicants worldwide may have problems travelling to the UK due to the effect of the Coronavirus lockdown on air travel, or their home country’s rules about travelling abroad. This forward-thinking decision is fantastic news for all of our clients that were worried about trying to arrive in the UK within the 30-days a UK entry clearance visa usually allows. Our clients approved since the lockdown began to end now have the peace of mind in knowing their UK visa has been granted finally, and they are no longer under pressure to fly to the UK! The good news just keeps on coming, day by day, and long may it continue after months lacking in positive UK Visa news.
The Coronavirus guidance has been updated for visitors unable to travel due to the COVID-19 lockdown intending on applying in the UK for a UK Spouse Visa, Civil Partner Visa, Unmarried Partner Visa, or Same-sex Visa
We are pleased to confirm that the Home Office has just clarified some concerns we had for our clients in the UK as a visitor that intend on applying for a UK Partner Visa. Many clients come from countries such as America, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc., that entered the UK before the Coronavirus lockdown using their passport (without applying for a UK Visitor Visa), and are stuck in the UK with their British partner (or partner holding an ILR Visa). The Coronavirus guidance confirms that “up to 31st August, applicants in the UK as a visitor or with leave of up to 6 months can switch into a family or private life route provided the requirements of the Immigration Rules are otherwise met”. The Coronavirus guidance previously implied that only visitors in the UK with Visitor Visas expiring before 31st July 2020 could apply to switch to a UK Partner Visa in the UK. As you can see from the update, any visitor in the UK whether they hold a UK Visitor Visa (a paper vignette sticker in their passport) or arrived using only their passport (under the visa waiver scheme) can apply up to the 31st August for a UK Partner Visa. This is excellent news for all of our clients waiting for this confirmation, and contact us today so we can start preparing your UK Partner Visa application immediately to get you at the front of the queue for consideration!
The guidance also confirms that if you are a visitor looking to apply for a UK Partner Visa in the UK before 31st August, and have slightly overstayed your valid visa, they will overlook this breach of the immigration rules if you apply ASAP. For your peace of mind, if you are in this situation, the Home Office stated “If you’re unable to travel back to the UK due to coronavirus travel restrictions and your leave has expired, a short break in continuous residence will be overlooked. You are expected to make your next application as soon as possible.
Why not submit a callback request to one of our UK Partner Visa Experts and they can call you for a free assessment, and explain the different levels of service we can offer you, and you can find more about our services and costs by clicking here.
If you are holding a Fiance(e) Visa or Proposed Civil Partner Visa in the UK, you can apply for a 6-month extension if you cannot get married due to the Coronavirus Lockdown.
If you find yourself in this terrible situation, our heart goes out to you, and we finally have some positive news for you. The Coronavirus guidance has just been updated to confirm you can either:
- Apply to the Coronavirus Immigration Team by email – CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk – for an extension of your current Fiancee Visa or Proposed Civil Partner Visa up until 31st July 2020;
- Submit an online application to extend your Fiancee Visa or Proposed Civil Partner Visa for another 6-months if you need more time to rearrange your wedding or ceremony.
- If you are reading this section after 31st July, the only option available is to submit an online application to extend your Fiance(e) Visa. Should you not be sure how best to do this, we recommend you contact once of our Fiance(e) Visa Experts so they can guide you.
Should you want to extend your Fiancee/Proposed Civil Partner Visa for 6-months, our UK Partner Visa Experts can assist you to do this. We can offer you different levels of services depending on whether you want our UK Visa Experts to do it all for you, or you simply want them to check your work as an insurance policy to keep the process cost-effective. Click here for a breakdown of our expert services and costs.
APPLYING IN THE UK – Our expert advice for VISITORS currently stuck in the UK due to the Coronavirus with visas expiring before 31st August 2020 that want to switch to a long-term UK Visa without going back to their home country
The latest Coronavirus guidance confirms that if you have already emailed the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) at the Home Office, and extended your leave in the UK to 31st July 2020, you DO NOT need to email them again to extend your visa until the 31st August 2020. If this situation applies to you, you have the following three options:
- You can leave the UK before 31st August 2020 – and remember to keep copies of all email correspondence you had with the Home Office for when you next apply for a UK Visitor Visa (or arrive using your passport) to prove you did NOT overstay but were stuck here due to the lockdown.
- You can submit an online UK Visa application in the UK to switch into a longer-term residence visa (if you qualify) – if you can satisfy the rules for any longer-term residence visas (such as a Tier 2 Work Permit, a Tier 4 Student Visa, UK Partner Visa, etc.), you only have until 31s August 2020 to apply.
- You can email the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if you cannot leave the UK before 31st August 2020. If you find you cannot leave the UK before the final 31st August 2020 deadline, you MUST email the Corona Virus Immigration team to explain the reason why you are stuck in the UK and remember to attach documentary evidence to prove the reason you are stuck. You should also submit evidence to prove you have taken every reasonable measure to try to leave, but it is out of your control. The Home Office will assess each person’s situation on a case by case basis, and provide further instructions about any exemptions they may grant you until you can leave.
Should you need to contact the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) via email, you can use the following email address – CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk
When you email the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT), you must provide the following details:
- your full name (include any middle names)
- your date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
- your nationality
- your previous UK Visa reference number
- Explain why you cannot go back to your home country – for example, if the border has closed or you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, etc.
- Attach PDF documentary evidence to prove you cannot leave the UK, and to show you have taken all steps possible to try and leave.
The Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) at the UKVI will confirm when they have received your request AND if your UK Visa has been extended. We recommend that you ALWAYS look after this evidence (either an email or letter from the Home Office) in the future to ensure you can always prove you never broke the UK immigration rules during the Coronavirus crisis when applying for any further UK Visas.
Anyone that has already contacted the Coronavirus Immigration Team and received an email back confirming their short-term UK Visa has been extended due to the lockdown will automatically have their visa extended again until 31st August 2020. The Home Office has stated that you can stay until that time, but if you cannot leave the UK by 31st August 2020, you MUST email the CIT team to get permission to stay beyond this date.
Applying within the UK to switch from a short-term (i.e. Visitor Visa) to a long-term UK Visa to be able to live here (such as a UK Spouse Visa, or Tier 2 (General) Visa – We are even more pleased to confirm that due to he extraordinary circumstances caused by COVID-19 & the Coronavirus, the Home Office have relaxed the rules for the first time! All visitors that cannot leave the UK due to the Coronavirus regardless of their current visa expiry date can apply for a long-term UK Visa WITHOUT having to return to their home country or country of residence to apply! This is fantastic news for hundreds of our clients, as the latest Coronavirus guidance update permits you to switch Visa in the UK until 31st August 2020. Please note that we do NOT expect this date to be extended for the fourth time, and you should plan to either leave the UK before 31st August 2020 or submit a residence visa application before this deadline expires.
IF YOU ARE A VISITOR IN THE UK AND WANT OUR EXPERT ASSISTANCE AND FIVE-STAR SERVICE TO ASSIST YOU, REQUEST A CALL-BACK NOW OR CALL US ON +44 (0) 203 178 2048.
APPLYING IN THE UK – Our expert advice about the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown if you wish to apply for a long-term UK Visa in the UK shortly
We are pleased to report that it is BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR FIRST MIGRATION when applying for our clients in the UK to secure their UK Visa or British citizenship approvals. We recommend all clients provide us with their supporting documents electronically (via Dropbox or Google Drive) to ensure we can prepare and submit their applications online as planned before their current UK Visa expires.
ALL UKVCAS BIOMETRIC CENTRE OPERATIONS OPERATED BY SOPRA STERIA ARE NOW OPEN AND CAN BE APPOINTMENTS CAN BE BOOKED FOR SOME APPLICANTS DEPENDING ON WHEN THEY SUBMITTED THEIR ONLIEN APPLICATION.
We recommend that all clients check the Sopra Steria UKVCAS website daily to see if you can now log in and book your biometric appointment & click ick on the news link at the top of the page – click here.
Should your UK Visa be expiring shortly, rest assured that the date of application is the date you submit the online form and pay the government fees online. This must be carried out before your current UK Visa expires. Should the Home Office & the UKVI temporarily close the UKVCAS biometric centres in the UK due to the Coronavirus lockdown, we will still submit your application in-time. In this situation, we will wait for the UKVCAS centres to re-open and reorganise your biometric appointment. Rest assured we would work to ensure you have your biometrics taken at the earliest opportunity to enable us to secure your UK Visa or British citizenship approval ASAP. All applicants in the UK should note that while we can still submit our clients’ UK Visa & British citizenship approvals during the UK Coronavirus lockdown, the Home Office online system will only permit the UKVI caseworker to approve your application once your biometrics have been recorded on the biometric system. This is a fail-safe procedure built into the UKVI system, and if our clients cannot have their biometrics taken during the Coronavirus lockdown, a decision can only be made once the biometric centres re-open.
Should you be looking to apply for a UK Visa or British citizenship in the coming weeks or months, why not call our UK Visa Experts (or request a call-back on this page) to see how we can assist you in ensuring you secure your future in the UK.
APPLIED IN THE UK – Our expert advice about the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown if you have ALREADY APPLIED for a UK Visa or British Citizenship in the UK
If you have applied for a UK Visa or British Citizenship within the UK, our advice about the impact of the Coronavirus and COVID-19 lockdown depends on the stage of the application process you have reached. For our clients in the UK where we have already submitted your application, the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown will affect you in the following ways:
- If we have submitted the online UK Visa application form(s) and you have NOT attended your biometric appointment – Firstly, do not panic. The most crucial thing is that you have submitted the online application form and paid the government fees so you will be protected under Section 3c leave of the immigration rules. This will automatically extend your current expiry date if no decision is made before the expiry date, and you will remain in the UK lawfully. AS ALL UKCVAS BIOMETRIC CENTRES IN THE UK ARE TEMPORARILY CLOSED, we will book your biometric centre appointment as soon as the biometric centres begin to re-open – Click here for the Latest Coronavirus UKVCAS Biometric Centre Closures.
Once the UKVCAS centre you want to attend re-opens after the UK Coronavirus lockdown ends, and you have booked your biometric appointment, you just need to take your passport, BRP Visa ID Card, the appointment confirmation printout, and copies (or the originals) of all of your supporting documents to your biometric as planned. Rest assured your dedicated UK Visa Expert will rearrange the earliest biometric appointment for you once the centres opened again and the UK lockdown ends (which it will).
- If we have submitted the online UK Visa application form(s) and you have ALREADY attended your UKVCAS biometric appointment – You are in the fortunate position that the Coronavirus lockdown should not impact your application (at this stage). As your biometrics will have been recorded on the UKVI system, the Home Office caseworker can still review your digital supporting documents we uploaded onto their system and approve your application thanks to the perfect application First Migration submitted on your behalf. PLEASE NOTE THE UKVI HAVE WARNED OF DELAYS IN APPLICANTS RECEIVING THEIR DECISION DUE TO THE LOCKDOWN. Your dedicated UK Visa Expert will receive your positive decision email from the Home Office caseworker at the Home Office’s earliest opportunity. You will eventually receive your new BRP card at your home address after we receive your approval email, and you will have no more UK Visa worries for some time.
If you have any doubts, queries or concerns about the impact the Coronavirus and COVID-19 lockdown will have on your UK Visa application, request a call-back from our UK Visa Experts (on this page) to enable us to give you the peace of mind you deserve.
APPLYING OUTSIDE THE UK – Our expert advice if you are looking to apply for a UK Visa outside the UK during the Coronavirus lockdown
Over the past few months, we have been working with our clients around the world (from Chile to New Zealand) to rush the preparation of their applications to beat the gradual worldwide closure of the UK Visa biometric centres. Since 1st June 2020, we have slowly seen an increasing number of countries end their lockdowns, ad we are now submitting our clients’ overseas applications in most countries worldwide. As you can appreciate, we are concerned there may be a second lockdown worldwide, so if you qualify for a UK Visa and wish to come to the UK, you should try and apply ASAP to beat any second lockdown.
For your information, the UK Government have outsourced their biometric centres to two companies globally, and they are VFS Global (the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia) and TLS Contact (Africa, Europe and Russia).
As of 1st June 2020, many countries have begun to unlock and we are once again submitting overseas UK Visa applications and starting to book our clients’ biometric appointments. Please check the website links above and check the country where the application will be made to see if the news banner at the top of the webpage confirms if the visa centre in that country has reopened yet. If the visa centre has reopened, please contact us and we can either start the application process or complete the process if we have already applied and are waiting to book the biometric appointment.
If you find yourself stuck in a country in lockdown and were hoping to apply for a UK Visa, we would recommend that you check the website page for your local VFS or TLS Contact centre daily to see when they reopen (and you can apply again):
- VFS Global (the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia) – Click here to access the VFS website & select the country you are looking to apply in for a UK Visa
- TLS Contact (Africa, Europe and Russia) – Click here to access the TLS Contact website & select the country you are looking to apply in for a UK Visa
You will need to select the country you are looking to apply from and check to see if the biometric visa centre in is closed. If it is open, we can still assist you in applying, and if it is closed, you should check if it is reopened daily.
If you would like to discuss your situation and see who we can assist you throughout the Coronavirus crisis, why not call or request a call-back from one of our UK Visa Experts.
APPLIED OUTSIDE THE UK – Our expert advice if you have already submitted your UK Visa online application but NOT had your biometrics taken as the visa centre in your country has closed due to Coronavirus
For all our clients worldwide, that have submitted their online UK Visa applications, but have NOT had their biometrics taken as their local VFS Global or TLS Contact centre has been temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus, we can confirm the following:
- We have ensured that all your supporting documents have been submitted using the online document upload portal on the VFS and TLS websites. This will ensure that although you cannot have your biometrics taken, the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) can still review your case and make a provisional decision on the UKVI system.
- Your dedicated First Migration UK Visa Expert will be checking your local VFS Global or TLS Contact centre website daily, and we recommend that you do the same using the following links:
- As soon as your local biometric centre opens (VFS Global or TLS Contact) in your home country, please contact us your UK Visa Expert will contact you instead. Subject to the country you are applying from, we will reorganise the earliest biometric appointment for you to complete the application process.
- As the Home Office has been able to work on your UK Visa application throughout the Coronavirus crisis using the digital application system, we expect to receive positive news about your application reasonably quickly (by email).
- Be warned that there may be new procedures relating to your passport introduced when the biometric centres open, and you may be required to purchase the Express Return Courier service from TLS or VFS when a decision is made on your application, so they can return your decision letter and passport with your Entry Clearance paper vignette stamped in it. We are being advised this will most probably become standard practice as the visa centres worldwide no longer want applicants to collect their passports in-person.
Should you have any queries, doubts or concerns about your application due to the scenario explained above, do not hesitate to call one of our UK Visa Experts today.
APPLIED OUTSIDE THE UK – Our expert advice if you have ALREADY SUBMITTED your UK Visa online application & HAD YOUR BIOMETRICS TAKEN as the visa centre in your country
For our clients around the world that are fortunate enough to have already submitted their online application, had their documents submitted, AND had their biometric data taken, they must wait to receive your decision by email from the Home Office or British Embassy/High Commission.
An important point: if you have already paid the biometric visa centre (VFS Global or TLS Contact) for their PASSPORT RETURN COURIER service, the visa centre you attended will courier your passport back to you. If you did NOT purchase the PASSPORT RETURN COURIER service, you should be contacted by VFS Global or TLS Contact (depending on which company took your biometrics) to arrange for you to pay for this service to return your passport back to you when the visa centre reopens. Please note that in light of the Coronavirus crisis, many biometric visa centres worldwide are restricting applicants from collecting their passport when a decision has been made. Moving forward, it appears at this stage that the VFS or TLS will look to courier all passports back to applicants when a decision has been made, rather than permit them to return to the visa centre to collect the decision.
If you have any queries about this information, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can fully brief you with the latest information we have received from other clients that will receive their decisions before you.
APPLIED OUTSIDE THE UK – Our expert advice if you have been APPROVED and received your paper vignette in your passport and cannot fly to the UK due to the Coronavirus global lockdown
On 28th April 2020, the Home Office released new guidance for any applicant that has had their UK Visa APPROVED, received the 30-day paper vignette visa stamped int their passport, but CANNOT fly before their visa expires. While we have waited for many months without the Home Office responding to ANY emails requesting a new paper vignette, our first client received a response to their request on 28th July 2020. The reply has advised our client to attend the TLS Contact/VFS centre in their home country WITHOUT an appointment, and simply hand over her passport for restamping of the Entry Clearance Visa paper vignette. Once our client hands over the passport shortly, they will be issued a new 90-day paper vignette visa to finally be able to enter the UK.
This means you now have two options to obtain a new Entry Clearance paper vignette visa:
- You can go back to your local TLS Contact or VFS centre (where you had your biometrics taken) WITHOUT an appointment, and hand over your passport to have the visa reissued – and note his is definitely the fastest way to resolve this issue, as the CIT Team at the Home Office have been very slow in responding to these requests.
- You can email the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) and request their assistance – and note that we have emailed them for many clients over the past 4-months and have only received one reply to date.
Should you wish to email the CIT Team (CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk), you will need to confirm the following information in the email:
- In the email’s subject line, you must state clearly “REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA“
- The visa holder’s name.
- The visa holder’s nationality.
- The visa holder’s date of birth.
- The visa application’s GWF reference number (found on the top of the online application form or Document Checklist).
Once you have sent this email, make sure you look after a copy of the email for your records. The Home Office will email you when the visa centre in your home-country reopens to arrange for the replacement 90-day visa to stamped in the passport
THE HOME OFFICE HAS CONFIRMED IN WRITING THAT NO UK VISA HOLDER THAT IS UNABLE TO TRAVEL TO THE UK TO COLLECT THEIR BIOMETRIC RESIDENCE PERMIT (BRP) CARD DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN WILL BE PENALISED.
Important point: you do NOT have to reapply for your UK Visa all over again in this situation as the visa is NOT cancelled if you fail to arrive in the UK before the Entry Clearance sticker expires. Once the Coronavirus lockdown ends, you simply must organise for a new Entry Clearance sticker to be issued at the earliest opportunity and get to the UK as soon ASAP.
ANY FIRST MIGRATION CLIENTS THAT HAVE APPLIED AND FIND THEMSELVES IN THIS SITUATION WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR OUR EXPERT ASSISTANCE TO ORGANISE FOR THE VISA TO REISSUED. Rest assured that when you signed up for our service, we advised you that we would work with you until you set foot on British soil (for a fixed fee). As you would expect, WE WILL HONOUR OUR PROMISE and work with you until you get here at NO EXTRA COST considering this unprecedented crisis.
Our UK Visa and British Citizenship services are tailored to your needs, so you can choose the price you want to pay, for the service you require.
For access to our knowledge & experience, we offer consultation services via Skype or Phone Call. If you want to be cost-effective and secure your UK Visa or naturalisation approval by yourself, consider our Expert Checking Services. For an extra fee, we’ll even provide our Expert Document List & bespoke templates to save you time.
If you want a guaranteed approval though, you are looking for our Full Representation Services. With this service, you are allocated your own dedicated UK Visa Expert to manage the entire process, with a no-win, no-fee guarantee. Whichever service you choose with First Migration, expect a professional and stress-free service.