The Home Office has announced a Covid concession for visa holders who are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of their visa

The Home Office has published guidance which provides a concession for eligible visa holders to return to the UK to extend their leave to remain or apply for settlement where their visa has expired while they have been overseas and unable to return due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

The Covid Visa Concession Scheme (CVCS) applies only to those who left the UK before 17 March 2020, when FCO travel guidance changed to recommend against overseas travel. To be eligible, the person must be in a visa category from which they would have been eligible to extend their leave, switch into a different immigration category or apply for indefinite leave to remain from within the UK. This does not apply to people who held entry clearance or leave to enter as a visitor.  

The Home Office will consider applications from people who left the UK after 17 March 2020, and will consider whether there was good reason for the person having departed after this date, such as the serious illness or death of a close relative overseas, and whether they ought still to qualify under the CVCS.

If they meet the eligibility criteria, they will be able to travel without a visa and will be granted 3 months’ leave to enter, outside the Immigration Rules, under the same conditions as granted previously. This provides the person with the opportunity to secure further leave to remain or settlement once in the UK.

To use the CVCS, a person must complete a short application. They do not need to attend a visa processing centre, nor do they need to provide their biometric information.

The person should give the UKVI at least 21 calendar days of their proposed date of travel.

A person can only use the concession once and cannot leave again and use it to return to the UK.