THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
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The UK Home Office has confirmed that visa holders in the UK who are unable to travel home due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to extend their visa until at least May 31. The extensions will be available to anyone whose visa expired after January 24 and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.
Explaining the decision, Priti Patel, the UK Home Secretary, said that "The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for circumstances outside of their control. By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work."
In the Home Office's explanation for what to do, they say that "A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI to make the process as straightforward as possible. Anyone in this situation just needs to contact this team, via this email address CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk, to let them know their visa has expired and they will be issued with an extension."
The Home Office also confirmed that "To help those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office is also temporarily expanding the in-country switching provisions. This will mean people can apply to switch routes, such as from Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (General Worker), whilst remaining in the UK. UKVI will continue to process applications as quickly as possible, however some applications may take longer than usual due to COVID-19 related operational pressures."
Full information on the visa situation can be found by going to this web page www.gov.uk/government/news/visas-extended-for-those-currently-unable-to-return-home-due-to-covid-19