As announced 23 March 2021, this is the current COVID 19 concession:
If you are in the UK
If your visa expires by 30 June 2021 and you are unable to leave the UK due to reasons directly related to the pandemic (i.e. your flight has been cancelled or you have COVID 19) you can request additional time to stay known as “exceptional assurance”.
To do this you will need to submit your request with the subject header “Request for an assurance” to firstname.lastname@example.org providing the following details:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Home Office or GWF reference number
- Type of visa
- Expiry date if visa
- Reason for request
- Evidence of flight or evidence showing why you can’t leave.
Whilst your request is pending you can continue to stay in the UK as per the conditions of your most recently expired visa.
If you are granted exceptional assurance it will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your visa has expired.
If you have already been given assurance but your circumstances have changed or you are still unable to leave the UK by the assurance date previously given, you must reapply using the same process. You will need to mention that you are making a subsequent application and will be required to submit new supporting evidence.
If you intend to stay in the UK
To remain in the UK, you will need to meet the requirements of the relevant route and apply for permission to stay.
The terms of your current permission will remain the same until your application is decided.
When switching into the work or study routes you may be able to start working or studying whilst your application is under consideration, depending on the terms of your current permission.
You can also apply for permission to stay in the UK if you have been issued ‘exceptional assurance’. Your application must be submitted prior to the expiry of your ‘exceptional assurance’.
If you have overstayed
If your leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 and you didn’t submit an application or request for exceptional assurance to regularise your stay during this period, there will be no future adverse immigration consequences. However, you must make arrangements to leave the UK.
If you are applying to enter the UK or remain on the basis of family or private life
If due to travel restrictions you haven’t been able to return to the UK and your leave expires between 1 March 2020 and 31 May 2021, a short break in continuous residence will be overlooked. You must submit your next application as soon as possible. However, if you returned to the UK but failed to make a valid application upon re-entry, you must now make arrangements to leave.
If you intend to leave the UK and your visa expires between 1 December 2020 and 31 May 2021 you may request ‘exceptional assurance’ to allow you to stay longer. You must follow the above-mentioned process.
If your leave expires after 31 October 2020, you can submit your application from inside the UK where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country provided one of the following applies to you:
- Your application is urgent – due to a family emergency you are unable to apply from outside the UK, or
- You cannot apply from outside the UK due to the pandemic.
If you are here on a 6months fiancé visa and your wedding or civil ceremony has been postponed due to COVID 19 you can either submit a request for ‘exceptional assurance’ or apply to extend your stay for a further 6 months to allow the ceremony to take place.