Coronavirus (COVID-19) immigration law update 30 July 2020
The Home Office has today issued new Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for temporary UK residents, including:
- Persons whose leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020
- Persons who intend to stay in the UK
- Persons who have decided to leave the UK
- Persons who have overstayed their leave in the UK
Persons whose leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020
The Home Office has confirmed that persons who are in the UK with leave that was due to expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 and who requested an extension of stay because of coronavirus (COVID-19) related travel restrictions or self-isolation will not automatically be granted a further extension of stay.
However, individuals in this category are to be given an extra 1 month ‘grace period’ within the UK to 31 August 2020. This grace period will take effect automatically and does not require an application to, or registration with, the Home Office.
During the grace period, any pre-existing conditions of stay in the UK will continue. For example, if you had a right to work or study then you will be able to continue to work or study until 31 August 2020.
Individuals who benefit from the grace period will be expected to take steps to either leave the UK or apply to regularise their stay in the UK, before 31 August 2020.
If you intend to stay in the UK
The Home Office has indicated that persons whose leave has been extended to 31 July 2020 or who are beneficiaries of the grace period to 31 August 2020 and who intend to stay in the UK, should now submit an application for further leave to remain in the UK in an applicable immigration category.
The earlier concession allowing applications that would normally need to be made from outside the UK to be submitted from within the UK has been extended. This means, for example, that short stay visitors whose leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 or who are beneficiaries of the grace period to 31 August 2020, can continue to apply for a long term UK visa from within the UK.
If you wish to apply for further leave to remain in the UK, you will need to make a paid application and satisfy the requirements of the relevant immigration route.
The terms of your current leave will remain the same until your application is decided.
If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020
If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as an ‘exceptional indemnity’.
It is important to note that an exceptional indemnity will not be granted automatically. If you have decided to leave the UK, but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you must contact the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) and request an exceptional indemnity.
It is anticipated that the Coronavirus Immigration Team will require details of the reason why you are unable to leave the UK and supporting evidence such as a confirmed flight ticket with a date after 31 August 2020 or confirmation of a positive coronavirus test result.
The exceptional indemnity will not extend your leave, but will, in the words of the Home Office: “act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired”.
If you have overstayed your leave
The Home Office has confirmed that persons whose visa or leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 and who did not apply to regularise their stay during this period will not face any future adverse immigration consequences on account of having overstayed during this period.
However, persons without leave are now expected to regularise their stay by either leaving the UK or applying for leave to remain before 31 August 2020. Remaining in the UK without leave and without making an application to secure further leave by 31 August 2020 will have future adverse immigration consequences thereafter.
Contact our Immigration Barristers
For professional advice and assistance with preparing an application for leave to remain in the UK, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.