Home Office allowing free visa extensions due to COVID-19

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Rachel Stamford
News Editor

UK Visas and Immigration is allowing anyone whose leave expires before 31 May 2020 to request a free visa extension.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is allowing free visa extensions to immigrants who cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19.

Anyone living in the UK whose leave expires between 24 January and 31 May 2020 may now request a free visa extension if they cannot return to their home country. UKVI stated on their “Visas and entry clearance” page that people affected should contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre with their full name, date of birth, nationality, previous visa reference number and why they cannot return home. All queries to the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre must be written in English.

The UKVI guidance, which was published on 24 March and last updated 25 March, states that “during these unique circumstances” immigrants will be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This includes applications that normally need to be applied to from someone’s home country. Applicants must meet the same visa requirements and pay the UK application fee.

The terms of leave will remain the same until the application is decided. UKVI will let applicants know when their request is received and when their visa has been extended.

An email sent by The University of Glasgow’s International Student Support to students stated: “The International Student Advisers understand that the current situation is challenging for everyone – keep a look out for our next International Student Message at the start of next week which will focus on wellbeing. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a query.”

If anyone has queries related to COVID-19, UKVI encourages them to email or call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. Calls are free of charge. The International Student Support team said students can find more details on how to contact them, including how to request a remote appointment with an International Student Adviser, on the International Student Support page.