UPDATED 2 November 2020
On 1 November 2020 Home Office guidance was updated to state that those whose visa expire before 30 November 2020, and intend to leave the UK but are not yet able to do so, could apply for 'exceptional assurance'.
The guidance and links in the news article from September below remain in place (now applying to those with visas expiring before 30 November 2020) but Home Office guidance now also states that if a visa holder's conditions allowed them to work, study or rent accommodation they may continue to do so during the period of their exceptional assurance.
On the 4 September the Home Office updated their immigration guidance relating to coronavirus announcing that visa holders whose visa expires between 1 September and 31 October 2020, and intend to leave the UK but have not be able to do so, may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’. A link to an email address for the Coronavirus Immigration Team is provided within the Home Office guidance page.
This is in addition to those visa holders whose visa expired between 24 January and 31 August 2020, which was detailed in our news on 29 July 2020. Now travel restrictions are lifting globally the Home Office expects individuals to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK.
It is important to note, that 'exceptional assurance' is not an extension of visa conditions or rights to reside and work in the UK, it only acts as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your visa and rights have expired while you are trying to arrange to leave the UK. Details and supporting evidence of why you are unable to leave the UK will be required when requesting 'exceptional assurance'.
If a visa holders leave expires after the 31 August 2020, and they can show the application is urgent, for example to start a new job or course of study it may be possible to submit the application from within the UK where this would normally need to submitted from their home country.
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. Before enquiries can be raised with the Home Office by either team, however, the Home Office would expect the visa holder to have contacted their Coronavirus Immigration Team for advice.