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Home Office has made some additions to its guidance titled “Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents”, which it first published in March 2020 and has since updated regularly.

According to one of these updates, visitor visa applications from countries on the red list announced by the UK will be paused until the travel restrictions are lifted. While the appointment centers will con-tinue to receive and assess the applications, the decision will be submitted when the country leaves the red list. Those who have an emergency situation and have to come to the UK with a visit visa urgently will be able to apply for a visit visa with additional documents explaining their situation.

In addition, the use of "priority service" and "super priority service" has been removed for non-visit visa applications from countries on the red list. It is possible to get the visa result in 5 working days with an additional fee of £500 with priority service, and within 2 working days with an extra fee of £800 with super priority service.

As of 8 December 2021, the current red list includes Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. However, there are assumpti-ons that the list can be expanded.

Another important update made by the Home Office concerns the people who are currently in the UK on a time-restricted visa, and cannot return to their home country because it is is on the red list and there are travel restrictions. People in this situation, given that their visa will expire prior to 31 January 2022, can apply for an extension to their current visa under the “exceptional assurance” scheme. But they will be required to explain the reason why they cannot return to their country.

According to the statement, extension applications will be made by sending an e-mail to In this e-mail, information such as full name, date of birth, citizenship information, GWF of the Home Office or any referencing proof of the visa you have received, appli-cation reference number, visa type, visa expiry date should be brought to the attention of the Home Office. Those who want to extend their temporary visa within the scope of this exception have to pro-vide valid proof of why they could not return to their country. Reasons such as the suspension of flights between the two countries and the full quarantine centers in the opposite country can be count-ed among these valid proofs.

The current rights of these people, such as residency, work, receive education, and rent a house in the United Kingdom will still be valid during the period of extension, if they already held these rights with their current visa.

People who have previously extended their visa for any reason with exceptional assurance will be able to apply again.

So what do these updates mean? The United Kingdom has implemented two such changes following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, this may highlight the possibility of expanding the red list.

Halil İbrahim Koca

Immigration Adviser

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