Chinese Visa holders in the UK concerned about the Corona Virus Image

Chinese Visa holders in the UK concerned about the Corona Virus

Urgent measures to control the spread of the deadly Corona Virus based on the World Health Organised advice by the government recently, has now led to new measures to allow Chinese nationals currently visiting the UK, “automatic visa extension” until March 2020.

If you are a Chinese national in the UK, your leave will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020 if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

Do Chinese visa holders (during Corona Virus) need to apply for an extension?

You’ll also get an automatic extension if you’re in the UK on a long-term standard visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years and you have reached the maximum stay of 180 days between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020. You don’t need to do anything to get this extension.

You will remain subject to the same immigration conditions attached to your visa during the extension period.

Do visa national from coronavirus countries have to apply for a Biometric Card?

You will not automatically receive a new visa or Biometric Residence Permit card. Your new expiry date (31 March 2020) will be added to UK Visas and Immigration’s systems.

Are you worried about overstaying your visit visa?

If you need a status letter confirming this extension or a new Biometric Residence Permit with a revised expiry date, you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline.

If you have already applied to extend your visa you don’t need to do anything.

If you are intending to apply to extend your stay in the UK before 31 March 2020 you should continue to do so.

What can non-Chinese, non-EEA nationals in the UK normally resident in China do?

If you are a non-Chinese or non-EEA national in the UK but are normally resident in China and your visa in the UK has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline.

The team will be able to extend your visa to 31 March 2020 if you can demonstrate you are normally resident in China.

You will remain subject to the same immigration conditions attached to your visa during the extension period.
Chinese nationals in the UK whose leave was granted by Irish authorities (British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS)
If you are a Chinese national in the UK with a visa that was granted by the Irish authorities and has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline to discuss your circumstances.

Chinese nationals in the UK with Crown Dependencies visa

If you are a Chinese national in the UK with a visa that was granted by a Crown Dependency and has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline to discuss your circumstances.

Chinese nationals switching to a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa in the UK
If you are a Chinese national in the UK on a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa and want to switch to a Tier 2 General visa you normally need to return to China to make your application.
You can exceptionally apply to switch from a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer to a Tier 2 General visa from within the UK if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

You will still need to pay the relevant fee and meet all the requirements of a Tier 2 General visa, other than the requirement that you usually have to apply in China.

British nationals in China who need to apply for a passport

Due to the closure of Visa Application Centres (VAC), it is not currently possible to apply for a British passport from China. If you urgently need to travel to the UK, you can apply for an emergency travel document.

British passports that were due for collection at a VAC have now been delivered to the British Embassy in Beijing or the Consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. You will be contacted to make arrangements to collect your documents.

The Home Office is monitoring the situation, and as soon as we are able to re-open the VACs we will prioritise the return of documents to our customers.

Chinese or third-country nationals whose passport is at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)
UK Visa Application Centres in China are currently closed.
Where possible we will return passports currently held in VACs to customers via courier, where courier return has been requested. This will not be possible in all locations.

If your passport is currently held in a VAC, but you have not previously arranged for it to be returned by a courier, please contact VFS Global directly.

The Home Office continues to monitor the situation and updates on when the VACs will re-open will be available on VFS’s website.

As soon as we are able to re-open the VACs we will prioritise the return of all documents to our customers.

Does a sponsor have to report an absence due to coronavirus of Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 visa holders?

Sponsors do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.

Should an Employer Sponsor withdraw Tier 2 sponsorship because of the coronavirus?

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if they consider there are exceptional circumstances when:

  • a student will be unable to attend for more than 60 days
  • an employee is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more

Should an Education Sponsor withdraw Tier 4 sponsorship because of the coronavirus?

Decisions on whether to withdraw a student from their studies or terminate employment are for sponsors to make.

The Home Office understands the situation is compelling and will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are unable to attend their studies/work due to the coronavirus outbreak, or against sponsors which authorise absences and continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences for this reason.

The Home Office will keep this under review, especially if the length of absences mean a potential repeat of a period of studies become necessary.

However, reporting absences is best to practise.

Other immigration queries

For any other immigration queries related to coronavirus, you can contact the coronavirus immigration helpline.

Coronavirus Immigration Helpline
Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm)
Calls are free of charge.

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

Due to Data Protection Regulations, we can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about their specific query.

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