The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the globe to its core. We at Kalsi Solicitors understand that this is an especially worrying time for those whom are currently in the UK on any given visa category that is due to expire, or those who wish to enter the UK to be reunited with their loved ones at this difficult time.
The Home Office issued a policy statement on 17 February 2020 for Chinese nationals whose visas are or have expired between 24 01 2020 and 30 03 2020:
“If you are a Chinese national in the UK and have been compliant with the conditions of your visa prior to the coronavirus outbreak, your visa will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020 if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.”
This is a welcomed approach particularly for those Chinese nationals who, due to stress and worries, may have forgotten or have been unable to extend their leave in the past couple of months.
Beyond this, a statement was also issued for visit visa holders stating:
“You’ll also get an automatic extension if you’re in the UK on a long-term standard visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years and you have reached the maximum stay of 180 days between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020. You don’t need to do anything to get this extension. You will remain subject to the same immigration conditions attached to your visa during the extension period. You will not automatically receive a new visa or Biometric Residence Permit card. Your new expiry date (31 March 2020) will be added to UK Visas and Immigration’s systems.”
The above does not apply to 6-month visit visa holders. It seems evident that the current approach is that anyone who is intending to stay in the UK beyond 31 March 2020, will need to either leave the UK or extend their stay in the usual ways. The policy statement is over a month old, and with talks of border closures and lockdowns, it indeed becomes a complex and perplexing situation. If your leave is due to expire in the next couple of weeks, you cannot simply assume that you can take a passive approach, as this can have devastating effects on your immigration status and future plans in the UK.
If you are in need of any immigration advice and intend to submit an application for extension of stay, then please do not hesitate to contact us.