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Coronavirus (COVID-19) factsheet: visa holders and short-term residents in the UK Updated 9th April 2020

14 April 2020 Grace McGill Blog


Extending a visa

If an individual already has leave in the UK and planned to remain and apply to extend their leave when it expired, they must continue to do this.

 No individual who is in the UK legally and whose visa expired after 24 January 2020, or is due to expire, will be regarded as an overstayer or suffer any detriment in the future if they cannot  leave the UK because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19.

A visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if an individual cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19) but  Individuals must update their records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if their visa is expiring and were not planning to stay in the UK.

The Coronavirus Immigration Team will aim to reply to an individual’s application within 5 working days. Individuals do not need to do anything else once they have submitted the online e-form and their status in the UK is secure from the point they have submitted. This requirement to contact Coronavirus Immigration Team applies to individuals of any nationality whose leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 30 May 2020.

Switching visas

An individual can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications where they would usually need to apply for a visa from their home country.

You will need to meet the requirements of the route they are applying for and pay the UK application fee. This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020. Applications are made online. The terms of their leave will remain the same until their application is decided.

Completing their application

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19). An individual’s immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of them not being able to attend an appointment. If an individual already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS service point, or a Service and Support Centre (SSC), they’ll be contacted and told what to do next. Their immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of them not being able to attend an appointment.  

We have also temporarily suspended Priority and Super Priority services for UK customers. We will aim to meet the Priority/Super Priority service standard if an individual has already enrolled their biometrics. They will get an email when a decision has been made, followed by a decision letter.


If an individual applied for a Tier 2 or 5 visa and are waiting for a decision on an application : Individuals can start work before a visa application has been decided if:

an individual have been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) , an individual submitted an application before their current visa expired and show evidence to their sponsor of this , the job they start is the same as the one listed on their CoS

If an individual’s application is eventually refused the sponsor will stop sponsoring the them and individual must stop working for the sponsor.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa

If an individual is on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and their business has been disrupted, they no longer need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each.

The 12 month period they are required to employ someone for can be made up of multiple employees across different months.

Time when their workers were furloughed will not count towards the 12 month period.

Doctors, nurses or paramedics working for the NHS

An individual’s visa will be automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020. Family members with a visa due to expire before 1 October 2020 will also have their visa extended. The extension is free and they will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge.  Individuals do not need to apply. We will contact NHS employers to identify staff eligible for this extension. We will notify the individual and their employer if they have received an automatic extension.

Furthermore, there is no longer a limit on the number of hours an individual can work or volunteer each week if they work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic and they are a:

  • Tier 4 student
  • Tier 2 worker and their NHS job is a second job
  • visiting academic researcher
  • holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer

Further details of the updated guidance are to be found at :



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