The UK Home Office extends its policy for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents who are in the UK with visas expiring between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. The policy has previously been in force for those whose visas expired by 31 March 2020 and then by 31 May 2020.
The updated policy on the government website states that everybody in the UK whose visas expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 will get an extension until 31 July 2020 if they cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19.
Importantly, migrants who already had their visas extended by the Coronavirus Immigration team to 31 May 2020 will get the extension until 31 July 2020 automatically. There is no need for them to contact the Home Office or complete the online form to get the extension. The Home Office, however, expects everybody to return to their countries as soon as it is safe to do so.
This policy also applies to those migrants in the UK who wish to switch to long term visas and are normally required to leave the UK to apply for entry clearance from their home countries. For example, visitors currently in the UK who wish to apply for spouse visas are now able to do that from within the UK if their visitor visas expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. They must meet all the requirements for leave to remain as defined in the Appendix FM, make a valid application and pay the application and health surcharge fees.
It is important to mention that as before this policy does not apply to long-term migrants who are in the UK (e.g. spouse, unmarried partner, Tier 2 workers etc.) and who require a regular extension, for example Appendix FM extension after 2,5 years. They must still make an application for extension prior to their leave expiring, submit it online and wait for the biometric centres to reopen to be able to submit their biometric details for their applications to be processed. The Home Office has reassured that if the applications were submitted in time (before the expiry of current leave to enter or leave to remain), applicants’ leave would automatically be extended by section 3c of the Immigration Act 1971 until such time that the biometrics centres reopen and the applications are processed, however long this may take.