Guidance Published by the Home Office
The Home Office published its guidance on the Covid Visa Concession Scheme (CVCS) last week. The Scheme applies to applicants who left the UK before 17 March 2020, and whose visa has since expired, but have been unable to return to the UK due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. It allows them to enter the UK to make Leave to Remain (LTR) or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications.
Who is eligible for the CVCS?
To be eligible for the CVCS:
- applicants must have left the UK before 17 March 2020;
- when you left the UK, you still held a valid visa but has since expired;
- you were unable to return to the UK before your visa expiry date due to COVID-19 travel restrictions; and
- you intend to return to the UK shortly once the UKVI confirms that you are eligible for the CVCS. There are exceptions, for example, you cannot travel because of the travel restrictions remain in place, or you choose not to travel due to a COVID-19 risk to yourself or your family.
Applicants should give the UKVI at least 21 calendar days’ notice of the planned date of travel.
For those who left the UK on or after 17 March 2020 for compelling or compassionate reasons, the UKVI assesses each application on a case by case basis and may grant such permission if you had a good reason for leaving the UK. Compelling or compassionate reasons include serious illness or death of a close relative overseas or travel for receiving medical treatment overseas. This concession does not benefit people who had UK visitor visas; you have to apply for a new visitor visa to enter the UK if your current visa is expired.
How to apply for the CVCS?
Applications are made online by completing a SMART Form on the government’s website. You do not need to attend a visa application centre overseas. After submitting the form, you will receive a confirmation email from the UKVI. You should reply to the email within 48 hours of receiving it for your application to be considered. Following a successful application, the UKVI will confirm whether you meet the CVCS eligibility criteria within ten working days and advise whether you can benefit from the CVCS to enter the UK.
Following the completion of identity and security checks at the UK Border on arrival, a three-month single-entry Leave Outside the Rules (LOTR) will be granted to applicants. The LOTR is a single-entry leave and will be issued under the same condition as your previous grant of Leave.
After return to the UK, applicants must submit their application for LTR or ILR before their LOTR expires.
The CVCS is open for applications until 31 March 2021.
Travelling to the UK
For all travellers arriving in the UK after 4 am on 18 January 2021, you must have a negative coronavirus test result even if you are a British citizen or coming from a former ‘travel corridor’ country. The UK government has suspended all travel corridors until at least 15 February.
You must take the test within 72 hours before your departure time, and the result can be in English, French or Spanish.
You will need to show your test result when checking in to travel and when you arrive in the UK. You will also need to complete an online passenger locator form within 48 hours before you arrive in the UK.
How can we help?
The Home Office updates its COVID-19 concession guidance regularly for individual applicants and registered sponsors who are affected by COVID-19. If you need legal advice on implications for your duties as a registered sponsor or your own visa applications, please contact Taylor Hampton’s immigration today on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE.