In the statement made by the British High Commission on UK visa application made on the 5th of December 2021, it was announced that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will pause decision-making on visitor visa applications from all countries on the red list, including:
- Nigeria (added to red list on Monday 6th December)
- South Africa
Currently anyone travelling to the UK on this list must –
- Take a COVID-19 test 48 hours before the travel to England
- Quarantine in a hotel upon arrival in the UK costing a minimum of £2,285 for one person for 11 days
- Complete a passenger locator form before arrival in the UK
The UKVI will continue to accept visitor visa applications in red list countries however the assessment of the application will be paused until the travel restrictions are lifted.
Th move has been introduced in response to the UK declaring the new type of COVID-19, ‘Omicron’ a variant of public concern. The variant was first identified in South Africa although some reports suggest the new variant was found in Netherlands before it was identified in South Africa. No doubt that the reasoning behind the decision to pause issuing visitor visas from the red list countries is to minimize the number of people coming into the country. The UKVI will not process visitor visas for those wishing to travel to the UK for:
- Visiting family and friend
- Undertaking short term business activities (such as conferences and meetings)
- Student visas (for short term study under 6 months)
- Taking part in research or academic exchange programmes
- Medical reasons (such as private medical treatment)
In addition, anyone from the red list countries attempting to enter the UK on a visitor visa will not be allowed to enter, unless travelers have compelling and compassionate circumstances for their travel.
Other types of visa applications continue to be processed for applicants from the red list countries however the ‘priority service’ and ‘super priority service’ are not currently available.
The next red list update is scheduled for the 30th of December with the list being reviewed every 3 weeks. It is hoped that by the next update, UK scientists will have a better understanding of the nature and level of threat to the public health posed by Omicron.