On the 24th of March the Home Office published a new guidance stating all people in the UK affected by measures related to Coronavirus with their leave expiring between 24th of January and 31st May 2020 will have their visa automatically extended until 31st of May 2020. This is an extraordinary measure which applies retrospectively. The Home Office aimed to ensure individuals they will not be penalised for overstaying their visa when the situation is out of their control because of coronavirus.
A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI. Anyone with expired visa who cannot leave the country because of self-isolation or travel restrictions must send email to CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to let them know their visa has expired and they will be issued with an extension until 31st of May 2020.
Please not this refers only for individuals with expired visa who intend to leave the UK but cannot return to their country because of travel restrictions. The Home Office also stated that during these unique circumstances’ individuals will be able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May. This mean people can switch certain visa type from the UK while normally they would have to leave the country and apply outside UK. At the moment, there are no provisions for people with valid leave who are unable to travel to the UK because of travel ban. There is a risk, they may not be able to extend their visa. As soon as the home office will provide further guidance, we will update our clients in regard to their situation. We, LexLegal, recommend everyone with leave to remain in the UK who want to extend their residence in the UK make their applications before the visa expiry date in order not to lose their rights. The UKVI team said it will continue to process applications, however it may take longer than usual because of the exceptional circumstances.