Coronavirus: FURTHER UPDATE to immigration guidance

Please see news of an UPDATE to immigration guidance the Home Office published on 29 July, announcing an end of the automatic visa extensions for visa holders unable to leave the UK, which supersedes this guidance published in May 2020

This news article has been retained for information.


On 22 May 2020 the Home Office updated their immigration guidance relating to coronavirus confirming a further extension (until 31 July 2020) for those whose visas are expiring but are unable to leave the UK. This only applies to those who would be leaving the UK if they were able to travel, so those who have always intended to extend their current visa should follow the normal processes.

The initial extension scheme, which ran until 30 March 2020, applied only to Chinese nationals, and those normally resident in China, who were unable to leave the UK. This was then extended in March to run until 31 May 2020 and applied to anyone whose UK visa was due to expire, or had already expired, and could not leave the UK because of travel restrictions or they are self-isolating.

The guidance now states that anyone with 'leave' (i.e. a visa) which expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 can request an extension of their visa until 31 July 2020. Those who have already been granted an extension to 31 May, however, do not need to submit a request as their visa will automatically be extended to 31 July 2020.

Those who are unable to leave the UK and are requesting an extension for the first time must complete and submit an online form provided by the Home Office's 'Coronavirus Immigration Team' listing their:

  • their full name (as it appears in their visa, including any middle names)
  • date of birth (in the format dd/mm/yyyy)
  • nationality
  • details of, and reference numbers from, their current/ previous visa
  • an explanation of why they cannot go back to their home country, for example if a border has closed.

The Home Office will let them know that their request has been received, and when their visa has been extended. The extension will be recorded in Home Office systems but they will not receive a new visa or other physical document.

The relaxed rules on switching from one visa route into another from within the UK also continue. Instead of requesting an extension of their visa until 31 July 2020, those who will be taking up other activities in the UK, and meet the relevant requirements, may be able to apply for a new visa under a different route without having to leave and apply from outside the UK.

Any queries about switching into a different visa route for activities within the collegiate University should be discussed with the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) as early as possible.

Those whose visas are coming close to expiry but are applying for extensions should follow the normal processes to apply to extend their visa before their current visa expires. SIT is continuing to receive and process Tier 2 and Tier 5 CoS extension applications and to advise and assist applicants through the visa extension process. They also provide as much assistance as possible to those applying to switch into, or extend under, different visa routes from within the UK.

Any issues or queries about visa or travel issues for UK visa holders and applicants should be discussed with the Staff Immigration Team (SIT).

Students should contact the UAS Student Immigration for more information. 

The latest information from the University on coronavirus is provided on the Oxford and coronavirus pages.

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