THE HOME Office has today announced it will extend the visas of people who cannot return to their home countries because of the coronavirus crisis.
Foreign nationals whose leave expired after January 24 and who are unable to leave the UK because of border restrictions or because they are self-isolating will be able to extend their visas until May 31.
Many visa holders have been unable to return home since the outbreak of COVID-19 as a result of flight cancellations and travel restrictions imposed by their home countries.
A number of countries have introduced mandatory 14-day quarantine for nationals returning home from the UK.
Home secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for circumstances outside of their control.
“By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work.”
A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been created within UKVI to handle the extensions.
As part of its efforts to assist those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office is also temporarily expanding the in-country switching provisions, meaning people can apply to switch routes while still in the UK.
No immigration enforcement action will be undertaken during this period for those affected who contact the Home Office, the department said.
If you are affected and want to find out more information and apply for an extension, email address CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk