Due to the pandemic still present, the Home Office has provided further COVID-19 updates. Barar & Associates has summarised the updates below for you.
If you are in the UK
The first Home Office COVID-19 update is that the Home Office has extended the ‘exceptional assurance’ option. If your visa expires between the 1st March 2021 and 31st March 2021 and you would like to leave the UK, but you have not been able to do so, you can apply to request additional time to stay in the UK under ‘exceptional assurance’.
If your application is granted, you will gain short-term protection against any adverse actions or consequences after your visa has expired. This is not a new visa or an extension of your visa. However, you will be subject to the same conditions of stay. This means that if your visa allows you to work or study, you can continue to do so during the period of your ‘exceptional assurance’.
If you have a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa and your business has been disrupted
As explained in our previous article, Tier 1 Entrepreneur applicants are able to combine different jobs from different months (to reach a total of 12 months) to fulfil the 2 full-time job creation requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Moreover, the new welcomed update is that employees on furlough can count towards the job creation requirement if they are paid or were paid at least 80% of their normal salary.
Furthermore, if you do not meet this requirement and your visa will expire soon, you can extend your visa for a further 2 years if you can evidence that you have created at least 2 jobs and you have been unable to employ staff for 12 months due to COVID-19.
If you have a Start-up visa and your business has been disrupted
The Start-up visa is normally granted for a period of 2 years and extension or renewal of this visa is not allowed.
The Home Office has confirmed that Start-up visa holders can apply for an additional 12-month permission to stay.
You will need to meet the requirement of this visa, including being endorsed by an endorsing body which must be satisfied that reasonable progress on your business plan has been made. They should take into account the consequences of the COVID-19.
If your 30-day or 90-day visa vignette to work, study or join family has expired
If you apply from outside the UK and your application is granted, you will receive a vignette giving you a specific period to enter the UK and collect your UK visa.
Those vignettes are normally issued for 30 days but due to the COVID-19 and the delay in travelling, they are currently issued for 90 days to allow more time for applicants to travel to the UK.
In some cases, 90 days is not sufficient either. Therefore, if your 90-day vignette has expired, you will need to apply for a replacement by completing an online form. Unfortunately, you will need to pay a fee of £154 and book another biometric appointment. Therefore, it is better to apply for a UK visa if you can travel to the UK.
Furthermore, if you have applied for a replacement vignette but no longer intend to travel to the UK, you should withdraw your application in order for your passport to be given back to you.
Lastly, the Home Office has confirmed that they will continue to replace 30-day vignettes for free until 31st December 2020.
Should you wish to discuss your UK immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team of expert immigration lawyers at Barar and Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 7487 8370. You can access more information about us via https://bararassociates.com/.