With the ongoing lockdown, restrictions on travelling in and out of the UK, and your ability to travel as a result of having the Coronavirus, or having to self-isolate, you may be worried about how this will affect your immigration status in the UK.
The Home Office are making some concessions in light of the difficulties caused by the pandemic, and there are steps you can take to regulate your status in the UK for the short-term future, to help avoid future problems.
If you do intend to leave the UK and your visa expires between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021, you can apply for additional time to stay. This is known as ‘exceptional assurance’ and you can apply for it by emailing the Home Office directly at .
Make ‘Request for an assurance’ your email subject, and include in your email the following information:
At the time of writing, the Home Office guidance stated that in order to provide proof of not being able to find a flight home, you must send the Home Office a copy of your flight confirmation. Clearly, in most cases this will not be possible, and this guidance is expected to be updated accordingly. In the meantime, you should provide as much information or evidence as possible.
If you have obtained an assurance, or if you submitted a request for an assurance before the expiry of your visa, you should not be treated as an overstayer and this should not cause problems for future immigration applications that you make.
The Home Office describes its exceptions assurance as a ‘short-term protection’ after your UK visa has expired. The conditions of the visa you were on regarding, work, study, accommodation, or public funds should continue unchanged for the period of your assurance.
An exceptional assurance is a short-term measure put in place to facilitate those who cannot leave the UK as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you want to continue living in the UK you still require a visa even if you were granted an exceptional assurance. You can still apply for a visa at this time, and in most cases you will be allowed to apply from inside the UK where you would normally only be allowed to apply from outside the UK. Bear in mind that the time it takes to receive a decision on your visa application is likely to be subject to significant delay.
If you are still unable to leave the UK by the expiry date of your assurance, you will have to apply for another assurance and go through the process again.
The rules and exceptions are subject to frequent change as the pandemic continues. If you are unsure about your status, your visa, or the requirements of your stay in the UK at this time, seek advice from anto avoid confusion or detrimental longer-term consequences.
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