UK OFFERS VISA RELIEF FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS
The Voice of Chandigarh:Travel Trade Reporter
The UK has announced visa extensions until 31 May for all foreign nationals in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in extraordinary travel restrictions being imposed around the world to curb the spread of the virus. The extension is meant to provide some much-needed relief to foreign nationals who are unable to return home due to these restrictions.
Individuals who are in the UK and whose visa expired after 24 January should email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk, and they will be issued an extension until 31 May. This timeline will be kept under review in case further extension is needed. The UK is also temporarily expanding the in-country switching provisions. This will mean people can apply to switch routes, such as from Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (General Worker), whilst remaining in the UK.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for circumstances outside of their control. By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work.”
Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India, said: “I am acutely aware of how distressing the current situation is for travellers unable to return home. This announcement will hopefully provide some reassurance to the many Indian nationals currently in the UK. Separately, in India, my staff and I are working around the clock to make sure that British nationals in India who need help are receiving support.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
· Indian nationals in the UK: Individuals must email CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to request a visa extension if their visa expired after 24 January. Emails should outline the situation for why individuals are unable to return, their name and their previous visa reference number. For any queries, please contact the free helpline: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
· British nationals in India: The Government of India has announced that the visa period for all international visitors in India can be extended until midnight 15 April upon submission of an online application to the Foreigners Registration Office. We encourage all British nationals to read and follow our travel advice and social media channels for the latest information, and to call the following consular numbers if they require immediate assistance: New Delhi: +91 (11) 2419 2100; Chennai: + 91 (44) 42192151; Mumbai: +91 (22) 6650 2222.
· We are also collecting information on British nationals in India who want to return to the UK, to help us understand how best to support them and to advise them when commercial flights to the UK become available. Please email Conqry.Newdelhi@fco.gov.uk with your details including name, age, date of birth, passport number, visa status, date of arrival and planned return, contact, location, and any special circumstances (such as medical condition).