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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Factsheet: Visa Customers Outside Of The UK : Summary Of Main Points

01 May 2020 Grace McGill Blog

Guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) as at 24th April 2020.

Visa customers outside of the UK:

All of the UK’s Visa Application Centres (VACs) are currently closed. Where visa applicants have an appointment and the VAC is now closed, commercial partners are contacting customers to advise them the appointment is not going ahead.

For updates to the status of VACs in each country individuals should    access the relevant commercial partner:

Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East visit: uk.tlscontact.com & All other countries visit: vfsglobal.co.uk

Visa customers outside of the UK who are affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus should visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents GOV.UK page for the latest information and guidance.


If an individual’s passport is currently held in a VAC but they have not previously arranged for it to be returned by courier, please contact either TLS contact or VFS global directly but note that

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions it may not be possible to return their passport at this time.

If an individual have submitted their passport, and would like it returned, they must contact the visa application centre where they logged their application to see if courier return is available in their location. English Testing Centres across the world are currently seeing restrictions by the relevant local and national   authorities. For all the latest information, please visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, or applicants can contact their test centre directly by email. https://www.ielts.org/news/2020/covid19-information-for-our-global-test-taker-community

 Applicants for a Global Talent, Start up or Innovator visa :

If an individual’s endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because they have not been able to travel to the UK, they may still be eligible for a visa. They should make their application as planned and we will consider all applications on a case by case basis.

If an individual’s 30 day visa to work, study or join family has expired :

If an individual’s 30 day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, individuals can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year.

To make a request, individual’s should contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team ( link above ) and include their name, nationality, date of birth and their GWF reference number with ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’ in the subject line. If they have already contacted the team about this, please let the team know in the email.

Individuals will be contacted when our VACs reopen to arrange for a replacement visa to be endorsed in their passport and will not be penalised for being unable collect their BRP while coronavirus measures are in place.

What guidance does Home Office have for those who have a valid visa but haven’t travelled to the UK yet?

Applicants who hold a valid visa should check initially with their own government websites to ensure that they are up to date on latest travel restrictions from their current locations. In addition, applicants should check the Gov.UK website which is updated regularly.

How does Home Office plan to return passports to applicants in regions where there are VAC closures?

Applicants are advised that they should check the relevant Visa Application Centre (VAC) website relating to the applicant point where they submitted their passport. Where local permissions allow for customers who have paid for courier return, Commercial Partners are sending passports back (where courier routes remain open to allow them to do so). If applicants are concerned about their passport, they can should contact the visa application centre where they logged their application. In countries where significant movement restrictions are in place some of our VACs are closed and our Commercial Partner is required to comply with all local restrictions.

If an individual has applied for a visa from overseas but would now like to withdraw their application, how do they do this?

If the applicant wishes to withdraw their application before their biometric appointment and is overseas, they can do this in the same place as their application was made, on Access UK or Visas4UK. Customers in the UK should use the form on Cancel your visa, immigration or citizenship application GOV.UK page to make the request.

Source : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents?utm_source=1b9655f9-d25e-405b-b691-29aa736d7a48&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate#outside-uk


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