Last updated 1st June 2020
If your UK visa start/entry date is upcoming, you're probably wondering if you should still consider travelling to the UK as planned....
We are all facing uncertain times due to current COVID-19 pandemic. This is affecting everyone worldwide and we are sure you are wondering if you should or should not travel to the UK at this time.
There is currently no travel ban to the UK, but you must ensure that you check your countries official government website for travel advice before you go. For example, Australia has a travel ban, if an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident wishes to leave Australia they need to apply for an exemption visa.
Your UK working visa will not be taken off you (or cancelled) by the UKVI if you fail to enter into the UK during your 30 day vignette/30 day entry clearance (you will find this sticker inside your current passport, showing the dates that you can arrive into the UK). This has been approved and it will NOT be cancelled on you. Your UK visa will remain valid, see this blog for more information if your 30 day vignette has expired - https://www.restlessworld.com.au/blogs/news/official-covid-19-update-from-the-ukvi
From the 8th June 2020 the UK will introduce a 14 day self-isolation rule. Please see this blog for more information - https://www.restlessworld.com.au/blogs/news/covid-19-and-entering-into-the-uk
Below is a guide covering what you should check before you consider traveling during this COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
What to do before you consider traveling to the UK
1) Check your home country's travel advice, looking specifically at whether the UK have enacted a full travel ban
Below are links to the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand government websites for current travel advice and advisories.
2) Check the UKVI and Home Office Guidance on Immigration
Here you will find out if there are any updates on current UK working visas or 30 day entry clearance vignettes that have already activated or are about to start.
Below you will find an official update from the UKVI regarding 30 day entry clearance vignettes that have expired or are about to expire. We feel that the UKVI have left out some important details in their guidance, and we suspect that you will have a few questions to follow (we'll address this further down).
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Official update from UK Visas & Immigration regarding 30-day entry vignettes:
If your 30 day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, you can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year.
To make a request, contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. You’ll need to include your name, nationality, date of birth and your GWF reference number with ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’ in the subject line. If you’ve already contacted the UKVI about this, please let them know in your email.
You’ll be contacted when the VACs reopen to arrange for a replacement visa to be endorsed in your passport.
You will not be penalised for being unable collect your BRP while coronavirus measures are in place.
This process will be in place until the end of 2020.
For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/
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What do we think?
We agree that the above advice is not complete, and leaves some important questions unanswered...
1) How far in advance can you move your entry date to? For example, can you move your date to May 2021?
2) Will the expiry date of your UK work visa also be extended - or will it remain the original expiry date - if you request a new date for your 30 day entry permit?
3) Will you be required to submit a new application and have your biometrics done again? Or do you simply have to submit your passport, and a new 30 day entry permit will be issued and affixed in your passport?
4) If the UKVI are not going to extend any visa dates so that the visa applicant has the full years allocated to them, will the UKVI guarantee a refund of the IHS and guarantee that the visa applicant (especially Youth Mobility Visa holders) can apply again for the same visa in future?
We have already emailed the UKVI and the Coronavirus Immigration Help Desk asking these questions, and we are still waiting on a respone. You too can email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Desk and ask these same questions if you wish. It is our hope that the UKVI will update their guidance to be more thorough, ensuring that all of your options, and the processes involved will be made more clear.
As always, we will continue to monitor this situation, and will update all of our posts and information sources as new details come available.
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Coronavirus Immigration Helpline Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk
Telephone UK: 0800 678 1767
(Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm / calls are free of charge)
Due to Data Protection Regulations the UKVI can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about their specific query.
For more details & information, please check out our other COVID-19 related posts below: