Visas, travel restrictions and the coronavirus

23 March 2020 | Applicable law: England and Wales

The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in how it is impacting us all right now. But for those individuals and businesses who are already entrenched in the convoluted process of immigrating to the UK, the degree of uncertainty caused by this pandemic may be even greater. Over the past few weeks, we have been dealing with a large volume of queries from clients who have been granted visas from overseas but can't travel due to restrictions and find themselves stuck and with a clock ticking on their passports.

It is important that anyone travelling should monitor the developing situation carefully, and we want to try and help alleviate some of your concern by bringing you regular updates.

The Home Office published guidelines in February focusing on Chinese citizens and residents of China stuck in the UK due to travel restrictions that were put in force in China before the rest of the world. They set out leave to remain by automatically extending visas to 31 March 2020 for those whose visas had or have an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

The Home Office is yet to release any further guidance for other nationalities and for Chinese citizens beyond the 3 March extension and we should not assume that they will adopt the same approach again, but we have been informed they will be updating this very soon. Each day brings new updates and we are adapting our working practices to comply with these changes and attain the best outcome for our clients.

We would advise for the time being if you are concerned about your current immigration status either in the UK or internationally, to get in contact with a member of our global immigration team and we will keep you informed of further developments. You can also refer to the Home Office's current evolving guidance in more detail here.

We will also be updating on similar scenarios around the world.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


Related experience

As a full-service law firm, we are able to provide advice and information about a wide range of other issues. Here are some related areas.

Join the club

We have lots more news and information that you'll find informative and useful. Let us know what you're interested in and we'll keep you up to date on the issues that matter to you.