We have been receiving unprecedented queries from clients who are in the UK and nearing their visa expiry dates, but unable to return to their home country due to COVID-19 travel restrictions or medical reasons. Previously, the Home Office granted automatic Visa extensions until 31 March 2020 to all Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa has expired and unable to return due to Coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Now, the Home Office has widened the concessions to all other foreign nationals, including the opportunities to request for Visa Extensions and to Switch Visas in the UK.

  1. Visa Extensions until 31 May 2020 

You may submit a formal request for Visa Extension, if you are in the UK and your Visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020. Your request may be accepted if you are facing Coronavirus-related:

  • Travel restrictions from the UK and/or to your country of residence
  • Medical circumstances preventing travel such as self-isolation

Do note that your request does not lead to an automatic extension, as a decision would be made based on the details you have provided. If your request is denied, you may become an overstayer if your visa has expired and this could have a serious implication on your immigration history.

  1. Switching in the UK from one Visa category to another long-term Visa category

Normally, the Immigration Rules do not allow switching in the UK for certain Visa categories which means you may need to return to your home country in order to obtain a different UK Visa. However under the current exceptional circumstances, the Home Office now permits switching in the UK for Visa Applications where it is unjustifiable to leave the UK and submit the Visa application abroad due to reasons related to COVID-19.

This temporary provision is open until 31 May 2020, with the usual online application procedure and relevant fees applicable.


  • We have seen recent successful cases of switching from Visitor Visa to Spouse Visa, where the indefinite disruption to Article 8 Family Life is unreasonable
  • Switching from Tier 4 or Tier 5 Visa to Tier 2 Visa, where an urgent start to employment would be disrupted by being stranded abroad due to travel restrictions.


  1. Under the new Extension policy above, am I allowed to overstay my visa without any negative implications?

The Home Office has stated that individuals who have submitted their request will not be subject to enforcement action and the overstaying period will not be held against them in future applications. However, there has been no confirmation that this request attracts the same continued right to reside or work as with other applications for leave under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971. The result of the request is also of significant bearing, as a denied request would lead to you to being an overstayer.

We have received particular concerns from clients who are planning to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the 10-years’ Long Residence route in future – our advice is to  exercise caution and ensure that we submit a credible request, to ensure approval. Plan your ILR route further using our guide here https://qc-immigration.com/indefinite-leave-to-remain-10-years-long-residence/

  1. Under the new Switching policy above, would I be considered an overstayer while waiting for the decision of my new Visa application?

As long as you take prompt action and submit your new Visa Application prior to the expiry of your existing Visa, the conditions of your existing Visa are likely to continue until you receive a decision on your new Visa Application. This includes any right to reside, right or prohibition to work, recourse to public funds etc.

To understand how your rights may continue beyond the Visa Expiry date in some circumstances, read here about your section 3c rights https://qc-immigration.com/work-waiting-visa-application/

Individual circumstances may vary hence ensure you obtain up-to-date legal advice tailored to you. QC Immigration has been supporting clients and families affected by Coronavirus issues, book a Consultation with us to plan your next steps carefully.

Need more information?

Learn more about how we work and support you through the UK Immigration Application Process.

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What do our users say

Thank you very much for your contribution and good job you have done for me and my family. Today, I feel that thanking you is not enough. You will remain in our hearts and we will always have this deepest and sincere regard for you, as you have always shown your kindness and your work have been appreciated by the whole family.

Long Residence Settlement (10 years) client – Mauritian

Qiyin is an extremely diligent and thorough immigration lawyer. She took the time to fully understand my case and application for the highly skilled migrant program. She was very careful to consider both the short and longer term issues related to my application and provided very balanced and frank advice. My highly skilled migrant visa was successfully renewed thanks to her advice and help. I highly recommend her.

Tier 1 (General) visa client – Singaporean

I would like to thank you for all the hard work you’ve done for us in the past few years! I am now finished with the whole process and had my UK Citizenship ceremony. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Entry Clearance Settlement (Spouse) visa client – Canadian

Thank you for all your help. I got the visa this morning and look forward to going on holiday. See you again in 30 months for the next visa.

PEO same-day service (Spouse leave to remain) client – Thai

We are so glad that our friend recommended you to help with our ILR application and we have no doubt it may have been a different story if we were applying without your support! We appreciate your professional approach and knowledge on immigration matters and wish your business well in the future (we are sure you will be very successful). Have no doubt we will be using your services for our application for Citizenship.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (Spouse) client – Russian

The QC Immigration team has proved an absolute star on the immigration front and my son’s fiancée is now happily settled, thank you again.

Partner (Fiancée) Settlement Visa – Brazilian

Many thanks for all your work on our application, especially since I contacted you on short notice! I contacted you on Sept 22nd and we signed up with you on/around Sept 27th! So we pulled this all together a little over 3 weeks.

Premium Service (Fiancée) Partner visa client – American

You have exceeded our expectations by saving us so much time and money when organising this! Thank you for also co-operating with our investment manager and accountant to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Tier 1 Investor (Super Premium Service) client – Chinese

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client - Dutch

EEA Permanent Residence client – Belgian

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch

My family and I were very emotional receiving the good news today. Thank you for all your help and we will definitely recommend you to our European friends who are planning ahead after Brexit!

Naturalisation (British Citizenship) client – Dutch