As the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic finally starts to ease in some countries, more than 130 VACs reopened the week beginning 13 July.
UK Visas and Immigration have confirmed that the following VACs also intend to reopen their doors this month:
Week commencing 27 July 2020:
- Kinshasa (DR Congo)
- Valletta (Malta)
- Port Louis (Mauritius)
- Abuja, Lagos (Ikeja), Lagos (VI) (Nigeria)
Week commencing 3 August 2020:
- Tallinn (Estonia)
- Helsinki (Finland)
- Riga (Latvia)
- Vilnius (Lithuania)
A number of VFS locations are also expected to reopen, in particular within the US and Canada.
Whilst 13 locations in the US reopened as of 13 July 2020, the VACs are currently running at 15-20% of normal capacity. The list of centres that have reopened are as follows:
- Dallas North
- Houston Southwest
- North Miami
- San Jose
Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Ottawa VACs are expected to have reopened as of 17 July.
Priority and Super priority services continue to be unavailable until further notice. This will be kept under review.
Whilst VACs are reopening, this is subject to local conditions within the jurisdiction of each country. These may close at short notice. The following VACs reopened but have now temporarily closed:
- Melbourne (Australia)
- Bengaluru, Pune (India)
- Los Angeles (Premium Application Centre only) (US)
- Antanarivo (Madagascar)
- Belgrade (Serbia)
It is advised that individuals attending their appointments must:
· wear a face covering. It is stated that face coverings will not be provided to applicants and individuals who do not adhere to this will not be allowed entry to the VAC;
· not bring additional individuals or family members that are not part of the applications, unless they are interpreters, attorneys, or someone providing required assistance to the applicants;
· follow social distancing guidance, this may refer to the advised 2-meter distance between individuals not of the same household;
· not attend the appointment if the applicant is sick or starts to show/feel symptoms of being sick. The Guidance advises for the appointment to be rescheduled should this be the case.
We recommend that before attending your VAC appointment you check online to see if there are any specific COVID-19 requirements to adhere to upon entry to the VAC and also to check that they remain open.
Gherson are continuing to monitor these developments and announcements. If you are an employer who needs assistance with sponsoring a foreign national or if you are looking to study, work, visit or migrate to the UK, please do not hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to assist you.
Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. The situation regarding policy and guidance based on the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to change at short notice. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by the Coronavirus closely, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Consultant and trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team