Updated Home Office coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

Updated Home Office coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

The Home Office has updated its ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents’ guidance webpage. The updates include confirmation that a limited number of UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centres, visa application centres overseas and English language test centres are resuming services, directing customers to a separate webpage setting out the new measures for individuals entering the UK from 8 June 2020 and inserting a link on how to cancel an existing application due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

UKVCAS centres

UKVCAS centres A controlled and phased reopening of UKVCAS centres will begin from 1 June 2020. The guidance webpage directs users to a separate ‘UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services’ webpage which sets out a list of centres that will reopen from 1 June 2020. It also confirms that applicants may be offered an appointment at another centre if their nearest centre is currently closed. Applicants will have the option to wait for another appointment at a closer centre without affecting their immigration status.

As set out on Sopra Steria’s website, only those with pre-existing appointments (that were postponed during lockdown) will be permitted to rebook their appointment. All affected individuals will receive an email from Sopra Steria setting on how to do this. Applicants are advised to monitor their mailbox regularly. The website also confirms that:

• this service will be available at a reduced number of locations with a lower capacity

• the new approach, including the opening of other centres will be reviewed ‘regularly’

• there may be a delay to normal service standards

Visa application centres

Some visa application centres overseas are resuming services, subject to local restrictions. Those with pre-existing appointments will be contacted by the commercial partner. Applicants are advised to monitor the website of either TLSContact or VFS Global for further updates. 

English language test centres

English language test centres are also resuming services. Applicants are advised to monitor the website of the relevant test provider or contact their test centre for further information.

New measures for those entering the UK from 8 June 2020

A textbox has been inserted directing users to the relevant ‘Entering the UK’ webpage, setting out the new measures for those entering the UK from 8 June 2020. For further information, see: LNB News 26/05/2020 6

Cancel an existing visa, immigration or citizenship application

A new heading has been inserted directing users to the relevant ‘Cancel your visa, immigration or citizenship application’ webpage for further information. It confirms that if the applicant has already provided their biometric information and is unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, they must email the coronavirus immigration help centre at data-sf-ec-immutable=""> with this request. This email should have ‘cancellation request’ in the subject line, must be in English and include their:

• name

• nationality

• date of birth

• previous UKVI reference numbers

The coronavirus immigration help centre will then reply and confirm if the fee will be refunded or not.

Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

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