I have received a number of emails and enquiries from different people facing different situations and what to do. These next few blogs are the latest information from the UKVI as to concessions currently being offered. This was published on the 27 January 2021 at 4.49pm. I know many will find it strange that the time is also stated. This is because sometimes we will receive updates twice a day. But this is the latest one so far. We have previously blogged on the previous changes.
As the UK and the world face challenging months with Covid 19, the Home Office / UKVI has set up a Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) and released the following guidance.
Out of the UK
If you’re planning to travel to the UK, you’ll need to make sure you comply with all travel restrictions including pre-departure testing. Please check the travel advice issued by your carrier and check what you need to do before you travel (https://www.gov.uk/uk-bo
Applying for a visa to the UK
There are changes at the UK border because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
You’re advised to consider border control guidance (https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control) and any current travel bans (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-measures-to-protect-the-uk-from-variant-strains-of- covid-19#travel-bans-to-the-uk—banned-countries) before you apply for a visa.
If you’re applying for a visitor visa, visit in transit or direct airside transit (DAT) visa from a country where travel to the UK is suspended, your application decision may be delayed. If your visa application is successful, you will receive your visa when suspension of travel is lifted.
If you applied for a visitor visa, visit in transit or direct airside transit (DAT) visa from a location where travel to the UK is suspended, but need to travel urgently for compassionate reasons, you can contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre (CIH) for guidance: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
You’ll need to use the heading ‘Visitor Visa – Urgent Travel Request’ in your email. Your email must be in English and you should provide your name, date of birth and full details of your circumstances.
Applications for visas for work, study or residence in the UK continue to be accepted from all locations but you must comply with UK border measures (https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control).
90-day visa to work, study or join family has expired
If you are out of the UK and you were granted a visa to travel to the UK but this has expired or will soon expire before you are able to travel you can request a replacement.
If your 90-day vignette has expired, you will need to apply for a replacement by completing the online form (https://www.gov.uk/transfer-visa). The cost of replacing an expired 90-day vignette is £154 and you will need to make an appointment to resubmit your biometric information.
We strongly advise that you only apply for a new visa, or apply to replace an expired vignette, when you are confident you can travel to the UK. The new vignette will be valid for a period of 90 days. If you cannot travel during this time, you may need to apply again to update your vignette.
If you have submitted an application for a replacement vignette, and are still awaiting a decision, but now no longer intend to travel, you should submit a withdrawal request at the Visa Application Centre that you applied from in order for your passport to be released back to you.
Please do not travel to the VAC with your passport until you have checked the commercial partner websites for the process in place for re-submitting your passport for your replacement visa, as this may vary depending on your location
Visa Application Centres (VAC)
Most UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) have resumed services where local restrictions allow.
Priority and Super Priority services are only available in some locations. If available, you’ll be able to purchase these services when booking your appointment.
Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted.
If your Visa Application Centre (VAC) is closed
You can apply for a visit visa from any UK VAC. You should apply for all other UK visas from the country you’re living in.
This concession has been extended to 31 March 2021.
If your VAC is closed due to coronavirus restrictions, you can apply online and select a VAC in another country worldwide (https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa) to submit your application and biometrics. You will need to make sure that you can travel to that country beforehand.
You will be able to make any type of UK visa application. You must select the country where you would like to submit your biometrics at the start of your application.
If you have already submitted your application through Access UK and now intend to submit your new application at a different VAC from the one selected in that application, you will need to make a new application and select the VAC where you will submit your application.
Unfortunately, you will need to pay the fee associated with your new application and request a refund for your earlier application (https://www.gov.uk/cancel-visa).
The Visa Application Centres will prioritise returning your passports if they are open. If they are closed, then they will not be able to return your passport.
If your passport is in a Visa Application Centre, and a decision on your application has been made, the Visa Application Centre will contact you to arrange collection.
If your application has not been decided, they will not contact you to return your passport until a decision on your application has been made.
To see if the VAC is open for passport return in your country, check with:
TLS contact (https://uk.tlscontact.com) if you are in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East VFS global (https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk) for all other countries