Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 01 July 2021)

Spouses and minimum income

Quite a big group of people under particular pressure during the crisis is families where one partner is on, or about to apply for, a spouse visa or visa extension. Loss of earnings as a result of the coronavirus-induced economic crash may mean that the family fall foul of the financial requirements.

Until 8 June 2020 there was no published concession for people in this situation. There is now a section of the guidance on Changes to the minimum income and adequate maintenance requirement. It says:

If you’ve experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus up to 31 October 2021, we will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income, provided the minimum income requirement was met for at least 6 months immediately before the date the income was lost.

If your salary has reduced because you’re furloughed we will take account of your income as though you’re earning 100% of your salary.

If you’re self-employed, a loss of annual income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 31 October 2021 will usually be disregarded, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications.

This concession initially applied only for loss of income up to 31 August 2020, but was extended repeatedly, most recently until the end of October 2021. 

Expiring entry clearance

Between 28 April and 31 December 2020, the Home Office offered a concession for people who had secured entry clearance to the UK but couldn’t use it before it expired after 30 days:

If your 30 day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, you can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year. This does not apply to other types of visas.

This process will be in place until the end of 2020.

This concession now seems to have expired; the main guidance page no longer mentions it. However, entry clearance is now being issued for 90 days rather than 30 days as standard. Those unable to travel within the 90 days can apply to extend it at a cost of £154. The Home Office says “we strongly advise that you only… apply to replace an expired vignette, when you are confident you can travel to the UK”.

Visa centres overseas

If the visa application centre in your country is still closed because of coronavirus, you can instead make an appointment in any other country that you’re allowed into. You can also apply for a visit visa from any visa application centre in the world (even if the one in your country is open, it appears). These concessions are due to end on 31 December 2021. 

Posted on Jul 01, 2021.

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