COVID-19: Important information about your visa
UKVI have released guidance for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 you were able to request an extension if you were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Now that travel restrictions are lifting globally, you will no longer be able to extend your visa automatically on this basis and the UKVI expect you to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK.
If you have overstayed your leave
If your visa or leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, there will be no future adverse immigration consequences if you didn’t make an application to regularise your stay during this period. However, you must now do so by 31 August 2020 or make arrangements to leave the UK.
If you decide to leave the UK
To allow time to make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK, if you have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, you’ll be able to stay within the UK to 31 August 2020.
From 1 to 31 August 2020, the conditions of your stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of your leave. So, if your conditions alowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during August 2020 ahead of your departure.
You do not need to contact the Home Office to let them know you are able to leave the UK during the grace period up until the 31 August.
If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional indemnity’, by contacting the coronavirus immigration team (CIT). The indemnity does not grant you leave but will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired. The Coronavirus Immigration Team should provide you with further advice on what you need to do to request an indemnity. This will include providing details of the reason why you are unable to leave the UK and supporting evidence, for example, a confirmed flight ticket with a date after 31 August or confirmation of a positive coronavirus test result.
You can find further information on the most up to date Covid-19 guidance published by the UKVI.
If you are currently in the UK, need to extend your leave and are not able to do so (for example, because you do not meet academic progression or cannot normally switch in-country), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, should you wish to enquire if, and how, time limits may affect you as a result of Covid-19, please contact us at email@example.com.
It is not currently possible to book an appointment through the UKVCAS website.
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have temporarily changed the way they process applications in response to COVID-19 and announced a new biometric reuse policy. Some applicants who have previously submitted biometrics to UKVI will not have to repeat the whole process, and will be able to complete this step through an Identity Verification (IDV) app. You will not have to attend an appointment, and you can submit your biometrics and supporting documents UKVI using your smartphone. UKVCAS will contact you directly to inform you if you are able to use the app, and tell you how and when to do it.
If you have not previously submitted your biometric information in the UK, you will not be able to use the app, and UKVCAS will contact you to book an appointment to provide your biometric information at an application centre.
Most UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) have resumed services where local restrictions allow.
Priority and Super Priority services are only available in some locations. If available, you’ll be able to purchase these services when booking your appointment.
For more information, and for updates to the status of VACs, including opening times in your country, check with:
- TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
- VFS global for all other countries
Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted.
Some English Testing Centres are also resuming services. Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, the Pearson Test of English website or the LanguageCert website or contact your test centre for more information on where we are reopening and how you can book your Secure English Language Test.
If you are making a visa application from within the UK (including a BRP replacement application), you should ensure you use your UK postal address. If you have already submitted an application and used the University address, you should contact the relevant courier (TNT) on 0345 608 0630 to organise delivery to an alternative address.
The UKVI have confirmed that you are not required to register with the police or report a change of circumstances if social distancing measures prevent this. As police stations have suspended registrations and as this is not an essential activity, you do not have to register or update the police of a change of circumstances at this time. Once police services reopen, and social distancing measures are lifted, you should register and/or update any change of circumstances with the police as normal.
Please check the website of your police force for updates.
If you are considering taking an interruption from your studies, you are strongly advised to speak to an adviser to understand all of your options, and implications, before you do so. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work conditions continue to apply as normal and as defined on our Working in the UK during studies section.
While normal work conditions continue to apply to you, as a result of Covid-19, the UKVI have also included the following guidance:
- Work restrictions for Tier 4 students who are working or volunteering for the NHS as nurses, doctors or paramedics have been lifted. This means that if you are a Tier 4 student and you are working or volunteering as a nurse, doctor or paramedic, there is no restriction on the number of hours you can work.
Please be aware that this only applies to those who are working or volunteering as a nurse, doctor or paramedic.
- If your studies have been suspended, and you are not able to engage on a remote basis, the UKVI have confirmed that, for work purposes, this is considered to be a vacation period so you may work full time during the suspension/interruption.
Please note, this only applies if, due to the nature of your programme, studying on a remote basis is not possible and you are therefore required to take an interruption of studies/suspend your studies for the time being and until further notice.
If you are a short term student and you have been given an exceptional extension of leave by the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) in this category as a result of Covid-19, you will be permitted to study on a further course other than the one you originally entered the UK to undertake.
These arrangements apply until 31 May, when they will be reviewed.
If you have immigration queries related to coronavirus, please email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.
You can also call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.
Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Calls are free of charge.