Covid Visa Concession Scheme (CVCS): where leave expires while the holder is overseas and unable to return to the UK due to COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19 global travel restrictions, some people who had leave to enter or remain in the UK have been unable to return to the UK to make an application for leave to remain (LTR) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) before their current leave expires.

The UK Home Office has introduced this scheme which applies only to those who left the UK before 17 March 2020 when FCO travel guidance changed and who had, or are seeking to apply for, leave on an eligible route.

To be eligible:
+ the person must be abroad
+ they left the UK before 17 March 2020
+ their leave expired and they were unable to return to the UK before its expiry due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
+ they intend to return to the UK once confirmation they are eligible is given by UKVI, not less than 21 calendar days’ notice of their date of travel, unless either they cannot travel because travel restrictions remain in place or they choose not to travel due to a COVID-19 risk to themselves or their family, for example, showing symptoms, a requirement to self-isolate or being high-risk and unable to travel.

Migrants, subsequent to the Border Force Officer being satisfied on arrival following the completion of identity and security checks, will be granted leave outside of the Immigration Rules (LOTR) on arrival for 3 months with the same conditions as their previous grant of leave. A migrant will not be able to leave the UK and return under the same concession.

In some circumstances, where the person’s leave has expired whilst they have been abroad and unable to return to the UK, as a result of the pandemic, such as COVID-19, this absence from the UK will not count as a break in continuous residence if they wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

Those who contacted the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre (CIH), UKVI will communicate with all those who have contacted the CIH regarding their leave expiring while they were outside the UK and outline the next steps for returning to the UK to make their leave to remain application. CIH has full records (including email addresses) of all those who have previously contacted CIH whilst stranded overseas, and whose leave has expired or is about to expire. Those who have not previously contacted CIH will be made aware of this concession through the GOV.UK website.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Koshi Blavo Barna
UK Head of Immigration
Santa Fe Relocation UK
Tel.: +44 0203 457 3595

To read more immigration updates, click here

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