As the world is still adjusting to life amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office is continuing to update its guidance for UK visa applicants and temporary residents in the UK. At the time of writing, visa holders whose leave to remain expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020 will have their visa extended until 31 May 2020 if they are unable to leave the UK due to current on-going travel restrictions. Applicants should contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to find out more about this extension if they haven’t already done so. Our Immigration Solicitors in London are also keeping up to date on this and all the other Home Office Immigration COVID-19 updates and we are happy to arrange a consultation so we can discuss any immigration matter in more detail.
Can I stay in the UK long-term?
Yes, it is possible to stay in the UK long-term. Migrants can apply from within the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications which would usually need to be made from outside the UK. Applicants still need to meet the requirements of the visa route they are applying for and pay the applicable application fee and Immigration Health Surcharge. This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020.
Some NHS workers and their family members will have their visas automatically extended as we discussed in our previous article.
Can I still go to the Application Service Centre?
No. Currently, all visa application service centres (where applicants go to give their biometric information and, in some cases, take their documents to be scanned and submitted to the Home Office) both in the UK and abroad are closed. It is not currently possible to book any new appointments. If you already had an appointment, you should have been contacted by the centre to say that the appointment has been cancelled, with further advice expected as to when new appointments are able to be made.
English language testing centres have also been affected by COVID-19 and Applicants have been advised to contact their test centre for further information.
When will I receive a decision on my application?
Applications, where Applicants were able to give their biometric information prior to the lockdown, should still be considered as usual. Applicants who have been unable to give their biometrics as outlined above will have to wait until they are able to rebook an appointment. Visa applications will then only be processed by the Home Office once this has been done. This can lead to significant delays for many Applicants; however, it is still crucial that the online visa application forms are submitted in-time to avoid becoming an overstayer in the UK which will cause many more issues in the future.
Advice for Tier 2 and Tier 4 Applicants where a decision has not already been made
Applicants who have applied for a Tier 2 work visa or Tier 4 student visa but have not yet received a decision due to COVID-19 may be able to start their employment or studies in the UK under the following circumstances:
- If they have been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS);
- If the application was submitted in-time (i.e. before their current visa expired) and they show their Tier 2 / Tier 4 sponsor evidence of this;
- If the job/course that is started is the same as the one listed on the CoS or CAS;
- For Tier 4 Applicants, they must have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required.
Applications that are eventually rejected as invalid or refused the sponsor will stop sponsoring the Applicant and they must cease working/studying.
The Home Office has published additional guidance for Tier 2 and Tier 4 sponsors to assist during this current situation.
Can I still see an immigration lawyer given the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Yes. We are a technologically advanced law firm and are well equipped for the current situation and have the resources and infrastructure to support you with any UK immigration issue.
The well-being of our team and our clients is our priority. We are following the advice to maintain social distancing, therefore we will hold all meetings with clients via video conferencing or via our telephone conferencing facilities for the foreseeable future.
Please contact our Immigration Team to arrange a consultation with us so we can assess your case in more detail and give you advice specific to your individual circumstances.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London for advice regarding UK Visas and Immigration during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative in order to advise on a UK Visa and Immigration application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful applications using our Immigration Solicitors in London during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department.
We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to speak with one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.