England entered a second lockdown on 5 November 2020, and the UK government issued an update on the same day aiming to provide clarity for “visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK, as well as British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus”. We provide a summary of some of these updates below. Please note that the summary below is not exhaustive.
If you are in the UK
- You are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK or to regularise your stay;
- You may be able to request to extend your stay under “exceptional assurance” if your visa or leave expires between 1 November and 30 November 2020;
- You will be expected to provide evidence as to why you cannot leave the UK;
- You will also be able to apply for the necessary leave to regularise your stay from within the UK, where you would usually need to apply from your home country;
- UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) Service Points will remain open during the lockdown;
- UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may be able to reuse your fingerprints if you are applying in the UK as a Student or Child Student (including Tier 4 applicants);
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrants can rely on multiple job roles across different months to meet the 12-month period of employment. (The Home Office’s COVID-19 policy also states that furloughed employees cannot be counted towards the 12-month period, although there are reports to the contrary which Gherson is clarifying with the Home Office Policy Team. Please continue to refer to our blog posts for updated information regarding the status of furloughed employees for the purposes of the job creation requirement);
- You may be able to start studying or working if you have made an application for a Student or Child Student visa (including Tier 4 visas), Tier 2 or 5 visas and are awaiting a decision (further conditions must be met).
If you are outside the UK
- Most UK Application Centres (VACs) remain open subject to local restrictions;
- You may be able to make an application online and select a VAC in another country if your VAC is closed due to coronavirus restrictions;
- You can apply for a visit visa from any UK VAC;
- Her Majesty’s Passport Office will accept online passport applications;
- Start-up and Innovator visa applications will still be considered on a case by case basis if the endorsement has expired due to the applicant’s inability to travel to the UK.
Please also note that on 6 November, the UK removed Denmark from its travel corridor list. The restrictions for Denmark were subsequently increased, and as of 4am, Saturday 7 November non-British or resident visitors travelling to the UK from or through Denmark are banned and will be denied entry. This travel ban has been implemented to protect public health following the COVID-19 mink outbreak in Denmark. Germany and Sweden were also removed from the travel corridor list as of 4am on 7 November 2020.
Gherson has a wealth of experience in dealing with UK visa and immigration matters. If you have any specific questions or queries in respect of your particular circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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.