Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 30 March 2020)
UK visa application centres
Within the UK
All visa application centres within the UK are closed as of 28 March.
Sopra Steria, which runs the network of Visa and Citizenship Application Centres on behalf of the Home Office, has the following message on its website:
The UKVCAS service is currently suspended
The worldwide response to COVID-19 continues to affect the UK’s Visa and Immigration Service. As a result, the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS), led by Sopra Steria on behalf of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), has suspended all services to help protect the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff.
This will remain under review with UKVI as the situation evolves.
Customers with Existing Appointments
If you already have an existing appointment, you do not have to do anything. UKVCAS will automatically reschedule your appointment. Initially appointments will be rescheduled for 6 weeks ahead of your original appointment.
Impact on Visa Applications
UKVI has now issued guidance that all foreign nationals whose permission to stay in the UK expired from 24th January 2020 may access a visa extension until 31st May 2020 therefore you will not be disadvantaged in any way due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Please refer to UKVI’s Immigration Guidance at GOV.UK for more information on applying for this extension.
Don’t worry if you can’t book an appointment or your appointment has had to be rescheduled. UKVCAS are making the Home Office (UKVI) aware of all affected customers for records to be updated. Your immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment or enrol biometrics at the Post Office.
Service and Support Centres are also closed.
Anyone with an expiring visa is referred to the visa extension guidance outlined above. To reiterate: someone stuck in the UK on an expiring visa should contact the coronavirus helpline to get an extension.
Outside the UK
A second Home Office factsheet notes that “many of the UK’s Visa Application Centres (VACs) are currently closed and we anticipate more closing”.
Those with appointments at a closed visa centre should be contacted. Those awaiting a decision and who want their passport back should contact the company which runs the visa centre in question, which will either be TLScontact or VFS Global.
But “if applicants are concerned about their passport, they can contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team at [email protected]”.
Posted on Mar 29, 2020.
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