The Home Office has now released updated immigration guidance for visa holders offering extensions until 31 May 2020 for visas that expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020. The extension is not automatic: you will need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to update your immigration record if this applies to you.
Please read the full immigration guidance carefully.
In particular, it provides the following special arrangements:
Free extension if your immigration permission expires between 24 January and 31 May 2020
If your immigration permission expired, or will expire, between 24 January and 31 May 2020 the Home Office will extend it for you up to 31 May 2020 without your having to make an immigration application or pay a fee. However, you must contact its Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.
You can do this by email and we recommend that you email, rather than call, so that you have a record of the contact and save time waiting to speak to someone.
You must provide the information set out in the guidance:
- your full name including any middle names
- your date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
- your nationality
- your previous visa reference number
- reason why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed
The Home Office will let you know when your request is received and when your visa has been extended.
Applications in the UK when this would not normally be possible
You can apply in the UK under the same or a different immigration category if you would normally have to leave the UK to make the new application. For example, if you are here with a short-term student visa you will be able to apply in the UK under Tier 4, or if you wish to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa.
You make this application online and pay the fee for an application made in the UK.
This includes students whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020.
The deadline for applying under this provision is 31 May 2020.
Note that you will have to meet all other requirements of the immigration category you want to apply under.
If your immigration permission expires or expired between 24 January and 31 May 2020, and you cannot make use of this special provision or leave the UK, make sure you notify the Home Office's Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre as early as possible that you want a free extension under the provision explained above.
The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided.
Application and Service Centres in the UK
UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
You cannot book an appointment.
If you’ve already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS or an SSC, you will be contacted to be informed that it has been cancelled. You’ll be advised when you can book a new appointment.
Your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment
If you’ve applied for a Tier 4 visa and are waiting for a decision on your application
You can start your course or studies before your visa application has been decided if:
- your sponsor is a Tier 4 sponsor
- you have been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
- you submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this
- the course you start is the same as the one listed on your CAS
- you have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required
Note: It is not currently possible to directly apply to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a new ATAS certificate due to current circumstances. Current rules on the requirement to obtain an ATAS certificate continue to apply. If you urgently need to commence your studies and require an ATAS certificate, you must email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.
If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must stop your course or studies.