What does COVID-19 mean for your UK Visa & UK Travel Plans?

As you might expect, we are receiving a high-volume of emails and inquiries regarding COVID-19, and what that means for your UK visa & travel plans. In order to alleviate some of the pressure on our staff, we have created this handy FAQ page that will hopefully help you find the information you need. Though the situation is changing rapidly, here is what we know right now:

  • The UK have not banned travel to/from Australia, New Zealand, or Canada
  • The UK advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.
  • The Australia government is enforcing a travel ban for all Australians effective March 25th, 2020. Anyone returning to Australia must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
  • The Canadian government recommends you avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice, and that anyone returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
  • The New Zealand government recommends that you do not travel overseas at this time, and that anyone returning to NZ must self-isolate for 14 days upon return.

Here are some of the more common questions we are receiving on a daily basis…

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I'm in the UK and my visa is about to expire or has expired. What should I do?

If you are in the UK and your visa expires between 24th January 2020 and 31st May 2020, you will be allowed to extend your visa, but ONLY if you are unable to return back to your home country due to travel bans or self isolation. Australia, Canada and New Zealand are still allowing their citizens to return home.

Australian Government Travel Guidance
New Zealand Government Travel Guidance
Canadian Government Travel Guidance

You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) to update your records if your visa is expiring or expired.

You MUST provide:
• Your full name (include any middle names)
• Date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
• Nationality
• Your previous visa reference number
• Why you can’t go back to your home country (for example if the border has closed)
• We also recommend attaching a picture of your BRP Card to the email

The UKVI will let you know when your request is received and when your visa has been extended. BUT - if you can leave the UK, you should do so, and return to your home country.

My 30 day entry clearance (vignette sticker inside your passport) has started or about to start. What should I do?

You must check your country's official website for travel advice before thinking of travelling to the UK. There are no updates or guidance from the UKVI or Home Office on any extensions at this time. We highly recommend that you sit tight, be patient and what for further instructions from the UKVI. It is not advisable to travel at this time.

Can I cancel my visa and get a refund if I have not entered the UK yet?

You can only cancel a visa application that has not been processed by the UKVI. If you contact the UKVI and ask to have your approved visa canceled, you may forfeit your visa fees and there is no guarantee that the UKVI will be willing or able to issue you with a new Youth Mobility visa, given that you may only receive this visa once in your lifetime. If you choose to cancel your visa, and reapply at a later date, you are doing so at your own risk - and may not be approved. Our best advice right now is to hold tight, and await further guidance from the UKVI on the status of current visas/vignettes.

Should I apply for a UK Entry Vignette Transfer?

We highly recommend to those who have a current 30 day entry clearance in their passport to please hold off on applying for a vignette transfer for the next 30 days. Updates from the UKVI will be announced and there may be some sort of extension issued to the validity, so hold tight! If it does turn out that applying for a vignette transfer is the best option for you, this blog post has some additional information that may be helpful.

I'm in the UK and have no employment, can I access public funds?

Please check your BRP Card and if it says 'no access to public funds' you are not entitled to access public funds. We highly recommend that you leave the UK and return to your home country. If you are in an emergency and are having difficulties departing please contact your country's consulate in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk).

I'm stuck in the UK and have no funds?

If you are in an emergency and are having difficulties departing please contact your country's consulate in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk).

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The best advice we can offer right now is, for those of you who are currently abroad - return home while you still can. Follow all of the UK’s travel guidance, as well as your home country’s travel guidance, and self isolate for 14 days upon arriving home. For those of you who are still at home with current visas, or visas due to activate soon - hang tight, and wait for an official update & guidance directly from the UKVI.

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We have also created a mailing list specifically for notifications and updates from the UKVI. When the UKVI do make an official statement with further guidance for travellers holding UK visas, we will relay this information to you directly. Please note: We will not be sending regular emails or updates via this list - only relevant UKVI updates will be communicated.

Sign up here » http://eepurl.com/gXxBQr

If you have further questions, please email us again at covid19@restlessworld.com.au or call us toll free on 1300 95 75 95 or +61 429 389 226.

If you need more information, we have a few blog posts that might help…

» My UK Working Visa is about to start - should I still travel to the UK?
» I already have a visa for the UK, but can't travel due to COVID-19
» Should I apply to transfer my UK Entry Vignette to a later date due to COVID-19
» COVID-19 and my current UK work visa or UK entry vignette / 30 day entry clearance