Given the closure of Visa Application Centres and consulates and the quarantine measures affecting ports worldwide, the situation for non UK nationals in the UK who are subject to immigration control is particularly pressing, especially for those who are in the UK on an expiring visa and unable to leave because of travel restrictions. The Home Office previously granted visa extensions on request to those with leave expiring after 24 January 2020 and before 31 May 2020 who could not leave the UK due to coronavirus. Note that a request had to be made and was not automatic, apart for certain NHS staff.

On 22 May the Home Office announced that those with visas already extended would automatically have them extended further. There is no need for this group of people to take any action – only those who have not already asked for an extension will need to make a request for the extension to apply to them. Government guidance now confirms that those who are in the UK and whose leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020  can apply to extend their leave  – their visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus.

While the Government has offered this extension to help those who are unable to get home prior to 31 July, those currently in the UK on temporary visas, such as visitor visas, are advised that they should return home as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

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If you have any questions about these issues in relation to your own organisation, please contact a member of the team or speak with your usual Fox Williams contact.

Articles and commentary by our legal experts on the impact of Covid-19 are all available here.


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