Coronavirus - UK Visa Application Guidance
Coronavirus UK Visa Application Guidance
Time limited visas/leave expiring for staff that cannot leave the UK
- If your visa/leave expires between 1 September and 28 February 2021, and you intend to leave the UK but have not been able to do so, you must request additional time to stay, known as exceptional assurance, from the Coronavirus Immigration Team.
- If your visa/leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, andyou were previously granted an extension to your leave by the Coronavirus Immigration Team, you must have submitted a request for exceptional assurance to stay beyond 31 August 2020 as outlined above.
- If your employment with the College is temporarily extended as a result of the above you should follow the steps outlined on our Right to Work (RTW) checks webpage for “Non-EEA nationals who have submitted a request to extend their leave due to coronavirus amendments”.
- If your employment with the College will be continuing as expected you do not need to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to request ‘exceptional assurance’. You must submit an ‘in-time’ visa application as normal before your current visa expires and follow the steps outlined on the Right to Work Checklist [Word].
Out of country applications
- Some Visa Application Centres (VACs)are open but may offer reduced services due to coronavirus. Others will remain closed or subject to local and national restrictions. Please refer to the following websites for up to date information.
- Some English Testing Centres are also open. Others will remain closed or subject to local and national restrictions. Please refer to the Approved English Language Tests website for up to date information or contact the test centre directly by email.
- If you are a Tier 2/Skilled Worker applicant and where Visa Application Centres and/or English Language Centres are open, you are able to meet all visa application requirements and are able to travel:
- You should advise your department and agree a provisional start date
- You and/or your department should notify the Staff Compliance team of your provisional start date so that the team can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to enable you to submit your visa application.
- In the event that a CoS is issued and you are unable to apply for a visa and/or travel resulting in an amended start date or invalid CoS, you will still be able to apply for a visa. UKVI has advised that applications will be considered on a case by case basis.
- If you are a Global Talent Visa applicant and your endorsement expires because you are unable to travel, you will still be able to apply for a visa. UKVI has advised that they will consider applications on a case by case basis.
- If your 90-day travel vignette expires because you are unable to travel to the UK, you can request a replacement by completing an online form. The cost of replacing an expired 90-day vignette is £154 and you will need to make an appointment to resubmit your biometric information. You are advised to apply only when you are confident you can travel to the UK.
- Before travelling to the UKyou should check the latest information on:
- Travel restrictions: the relevant government website for your current location as well as the UK government website.
- If you are required to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK and your proposed contract start date falls within this period, please contact your line manager in advance to discuss work your arrangements in line with the “Remote working guidance” and “New starters joining the College during the remote working period"
If you are outside the UK, left before 17 March 2020 with valid leave remaining, and intended to return to make a further visa application, but were unable to do so before your leave expired because of coronavirus related travel restrictions, you may be eligible to return under the Covid Visa Concession Scheme, currently available until 31 March 2021. You can make an application by completing the online form.
In country applications (visa extensions and switches)
- Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) are open but may offer reduced services due to coronavirus. Others will remain closed or subject to local and national restrictions. Please visit: https://www.gov.uk/ukvcas for up to date information.
- You must submit an ‘in-time’ visa application before your current visa expires and follow the steps outlined on the Right to work checklist - Interim COVID [word]
- Whilst your application is pending, your current immigration status will remain unchanged until your application is decided.
- You are strongly advised not to leave the UK/Common Travel Area until your application is decided, as this will automatically withdraw/cancel your application.
- If you are applying for a different visa category, you may be able to apply within the UK, rather than returning to your country of residence, subject to meeting the standard visa requirements and paying the application fee.
Visa extensions for frontline health workers (T2/SW/T5)
- Some frontline health workers who work for the NHS are eligible for a free one-year visa extension. Unfortunately, even though you may be undertaking significant frontline NHS work, most College staff employed in clinical/medical-related roles are not sponsored under one of the eligible SOC codes listed at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-frontline-health-worker-visa-extension.
- The only exceptions would be if:
- You are sponsored by the College under an eligible SOC code and are undertaking frontline NHS/covid-19 medical work; or
- A close family member is sponsored by the NHS employer under an eligible SOC code
If you believe that you qualify under one of these exceptions, please contact the Staff Compliance team.
- Unless you qualify for one under one of the above exceptions, you will need to follow the standard visa extension process and pay the relevant visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees as normal.
Working from home in the UK (T2/SW/T5)
As many of you are working from home rather than your normal workplace, the UKVI has removed the requirement for the College as your sponsor to notify them of such changes of circumstances. Other changes must still be reported as usual.
Advice and support
- The latest Home Office Coronavirus Immigration Guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-immigration-and-borders
- Please note that the College’s guidance may change as required and at short notice in light of further Home Office guidance and clarifications.
- UKVI has set up a dedicated Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre (email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk or tel: 0800 678 1767 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) for those with immigration queries related to coronavirus.
- Alternatively, please contact the Staff Compliance team who are responding to queries wherever possible and/or will raise with the UKVI Premium Service team on an individual basis as necessary. Please note that the team is currently dealing with a high volume of queries due to the new Points Based immigration System, EU exit and the ongoing Coronavirus disruption. Whilst we will respond to messages as soon as we can, please be aware that we are prioritising those relating to the current month, and replies to other queries may therefore be delayed.
- Details of government support with medical treatment, employment and housing can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-get-support-if-youre-a-migrant-living-in-the-uk