22 May 2020
Entry Clearance Vignette Extensions
For those outside the UK and who have already made Entry Clearance applications, there may be concern about whether they will be able to travel prior to the expiry of their 30 day visa vignette - and for some migrants this time may have already expired.
The Home Office has confirmed it is possible to request a replacement vignette with new travel dates, and this can be requested any time until the end of the year. The Home Office will not charge a fee for this. However, it will not be possible for the vignette to be replaced until the visa centre in the country of application has reopened - at the time of writing, all centres are still closed and there is no update as to when they may reopen.
Visa Extension & Switching Scheme
The Home Office has announced that they are continuing the current scheme for extensions of visas for those unable to leave the UK, to 31st July 2020.
This scheme applies to those migrants whose UK visa is expiring on or before 31st July this year. Those migrants are able to apply for an extension of their current visa, without any additional Home Office fee payable. Their visa will be extended to 31st July under this scheme. This is also applicable to any migrants who may have already had their visas extended under the earlier versions of this scheme. Most recently, this scheme was available to migrants whose visa was expiring on or before 31st May (and the scheme gave extensions up to 31st May), so this continuation of the scheme through to the end of July is to allow those migrants whose travel continues to be disrupted, to remain in the UK without being in breach of their current visa.
In addition, the Home Office is also extending its ancillary scheme allowing migrants to instead switch into a long-term UK visa, if they prefer to do so rather than leaving the UK. This means that migrants who would normally need to leave the UK and apply for Entry Clearance for their particular visa (e.g. Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa wanting to apply for Tier 2 (General), cannot normally do so from within the UK and must be outside the country and apply for Entry Clearance instead), can instead make their application here in the UK.
This visa switching scheme is only available to those whose visa expires on or before 31st July.
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