I have a UK Work Visa and did not enter the UK due to COVID-19

I have a UK Work Visa and did not enter the UK due to COVID-19

You have an approved UK work visa and you were not able to arrive in the UK due to COVID-19. You are not sure what your options are and need help!!

You have two options:

  • Obtain the FREE replacement visa (this is only available until the end of December)
  • Email the CIH and ask for your visa to be cancelled and try for a refund (The Coronavirus Immigration helpdesk (CIH) will let you know if your fee will be refunded or not, therefore there are no guarantees that you will receive a refund) 

The above options are for the 30 day visa, which is the vignette sticker inside your passport which gives you 30 days to enter the UK. The 30 day entry clearance to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family must be expired, or is about to expire by 31st December 2020, basically, if you have a vignette sticker inside your passport and you should have entered the UK in 2020. You can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year. This does not apply to other types of visas.

The FREE replacement visa will at least give you the opportunity to have your visa extended and you can ask for a new arrival date within 6 months. For example, if you hand in your passport on the 1st December 2020 and ask for a visa start date of 1st June 2021, you realistically should receive a visa valid from 1st June 2021 to 1st June 2023 and can enter the UK from 1st June 2021 on your new entry clearance sticker inside your passport (gives you 90 days to enter).

You should be aware that there are no guarantees that UK Visas and Immigration will honour the dates you ask for! We have noticed that they have been inconsistent with new visa start dates!!!!

Obtaining your FREE 90 day replacement visa – ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL THE END OF DECEMBER 2020. ********* ENSURE YOU HAND IN YOUR PASSPORT BY THE 2ND WEEK OF DECEMBER 2020************

You need to write a covering letter which contains your GWF number, full name, email address and put in the date you want to arrive in the UK (inside 6 months from when you courier your passport off).

1) What to do if you courier your passport to a VAC (Visa Application Centre):

You should courier your passport (securely, purchase a trackable service) to the VAC - see below links to find the address:

Australia VAC

New Zealand VAC - the guidance is different if you applied through an enrolment location operated by Immigration New Zealand - make sure to read the guidance in this link!!

Canada VAC   

Please include your cover letter and a pre-paid self-addressed envelope, which is trackable and signature on delivery. (If you are posting your passport to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, you must add in a pre-paid self-addressed envelope). 

Please address your envelope to 'Duty Manager - UK Visa Application Centre' mark the envelope 'Replacement Request' and add your GWF number next to that. Please ensure the VAC address is correct.  

2) Arrange an appointment with the VAC to hand in your passport:

You will need to log into the VAC website, putting in your GWF number and your password. See above links for access and opening/closing times. Make sure to take in your cover letter.

Please remember the 90-day replacement scheme with the UKVI is only available until the end of this year.


Send an email to the coronavirus immigration help centre (CIH). They will let you know if your fee will be refunded or not.

Your email must be in English and include:

  • your full name
  • your nationality
  • your date of birth
  • any UKVI reference numbers you have been given

Use ‘POST BIOMETRIC REFUND REQUEST’ as the subject line.

Coronavirus immigration help centre

The help centre will reply as soon as possible. Only contact them again if you need to tell them about a change of circumstances.

Stay safe, take care and all the best from the Restless World Team!