Coronavirus update for immigration rules as of 24 November 2020
Some people who were in the UK when the pandemic hit were unable to leave before the expiry of their visa because of travel restrictions. The government had been allowing people in this situation to easily extend their visas through a simplified online application process, but that concession has now been replaced with “exceptional assurance”, a promise of extra time to stay that falls short of proper leave to remain.
Exceptional assurance was initially available only to those with a visa expiring up to 31 October, but has now been extended to 30 November as part of the second England-wide lockdown.
People requesting exceptional indemnity/assurance need to fill in an online form to explain why they can’t leave by 30 November.
The Home Office announced on 31 March that around 2,800 doctors, nurses and paramedics with leave due to expire by 1 October would get a free one-year extension. Family members are included and there are no fees involved.
On 20 November came a further extension: the scheme will now cover visas expiring up until 31 March 2021. However, unlike the first phase in which extensions were “automatic”, those with visas expiring between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 will have to apply to have them extended for free. At time of writing, the second phase of the scheme was not yet open but people will be able to claim back visa fees paid in the meantime.
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). This concession is due to end on 31 March 2021.
Posted on Nov 24, 2020.