In the light of the Immigration Rules, this relates to the UK visit visa extension or renewal and Covid-19 Exceptional Assurance from inside the UK.

UK Visitor Visa Extension Requirements and Guidance 2020

Perhaps applying for a UK visit visa extension is not a norm but an exception. Therefore, a person may only apply for an extension of stay as a visitor if there are some pressing reason and real need of doing so. Therefore, an extension or renewal of a visitor visa depends on the type of visit visa. And also the purpose of the extension. Certainly, a person on a standard or marriage visit visa can apply for an extension in the UK. However, a visitor on a Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) or a transit visa cannot apply for an extension. Moreover, switching from and to visitor visa is not possible in the UK.

UK Visitor Visa Extension Requirements

Quite clearly, the UK visitor visa extension application requirements are:

  1. In terms of Paragraph V 8.2 of Appendix V for visitors, an applicant needs to make a valid application for a UK visitor visa extension or renewal by comply with the requirements in paragraphs 34 – 34C of Part 1 of Immigration Rules
  2. In terms of paragraph V 8.5 of Appendix V, the visitor should not be in breach of the immigration rules. Perhaps, the only exception is overstaying for up to 14 days as per paragraph 39E of of the Immigration Rules relating to Exceptions for Overstayers.
  3. After getting an extension, a visitor needs to continue to meet the suitability and eligibility requirements as per paragraph V 8.4 of Appendix V

UK Visa Extension Fees and Processing Time

The UK visit visa extension fee for the main applicant and dependants is £993/- per applicant. Moreover, the UK visit visa extension processing time is usually within 8 weeks.

Is extending visitor visa beyond 6 months possible?

Perhaps, only in exceptional circumstances, a person visiting the UK might contemplate furnishing an application outside the Immigration Rules so as to extend his/her stay beyond six 6 months. However, in a limited number of circumstances, it is possible to submit a request for an extension of a visitor visa under the rules for extending visitor visa beyond 6 months.

Who Can Apply for UK Visitor Visa Extension?

Indeed, an applicant may apply for UK visitor visa application for:

  1. Private Medical Treatment
  2. Marriage
  3. Academic Visits
  4. PLAB Test
  5. Clinical Attachment

Impact of Coronavirus on UK Visa and Immigration

For latest updates and details please refer to UK Visa Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance

1. Private Medical Treatment

In terms of paragraph V 8.8 of Appendix V, a visitor can get an extension for Private Medical Treatment. However, such an extension is only granted for the purpose of continuing medical treatment inside the UK. Accordingly, for the extension of medical visitor visa UK, an applicant needs to meet the additional requirements for an extension of stay in the UK. And in terms of paragraph V 8.6, an applicant needs to provide evidence of payment for medical treatment in the UK and medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner.

2. UK Visa Extension Requirements for Marriage Visitors

As per paragraph V 8.7 of Appendix V for visitors, if the initial duration granted is for less than six (6) months to a standard or marriage or civil partnership visitors, then an extension of such a visa might be allowed. However, a person on a marriage visitor visa cannot remain in the UK for more than 6 months. Certainly, the 6 months period means original grant plus the extension.

3. UK Visa Extension Requirements for Academic Visits

As per paragraph V 8.9 of Appendix A, an academic visitor on sabbatical leave for research in the UK is allowed under the Rules to apply for an extension of stay. Moreover, the dependant spouse, partner or child accompanying an academic visitor can also extend their leave in the UK. However, the cumulative period of such a stay inside the UK should not exceed more than twelve (12) months. Certainly, the cumulative period means original grant plus the extension of stay.

4. UK Visit Visa Extension Requirements for PLAB Test

Furthermore, in terms of paragraph V 8.10 of Appendix A, a visitor undertaking a Professional & Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) Test can get an extension up to six (6) months to re-sit in the PLAB Test. However, the applicant needs to meet the stipulations of Paragraph 22(b)(i) of Appendix 3 of the Immigration Rules. Accordingly, the applicant needs to provide written confirmation to re-sit in the PLAB Test from the General Medical Council.

5. UK Visitor Visa Extension for Clinical Attachment

As per paragraph V 8.11 of Appendix A, a visitor passing the PLAB Test successfully can get an extension of stay for undertaking an unpaid clinical attachment {as per paragraph 22(a) of Appendix 3 of Appendix V for Visitors}. However, the total period the applicant can remain in the UK should not exceed more than 18 months. Certainly, the total period means the original grant plus the extension of stay. Please note: in the Immigration Rules there is no provision for extensions of stay beyond these limits.

UK visit visa extension success rate

Perhaps, approximately more than 700 applicants every year apply for a UK visit visa extension every year. However, during 2016-18 the number of decisions relating to UK visit visa extensions is showing a gradual downward trend. Accordingly, in 2018 the number of UK visit visa extension decisions have decreased to 721 from 890 in 2016. And the number of UK visit visa extension grants in 2018 have decreased to 658 from 760 in 2016. However, the UK visit visa extension success rate during 2016-18 have increased from 85.63% (2016) to 91.26% in 2018.

Type Decisions Success Rate
Main Applicants 2016 884 85.86%
Dependants 2016 6 16.67%
Total 2016 890 85.39%
Main Applicants 2017 729 90.67%
Dependants 2017 6 50.00%
Total 2017 735 90.34%
Main Applicants 2018 711 91.70%
Dependants 2018 10 60.00%
Total 2018 721 91.26%

UK Visitor Visa Extension Covid-19 update

A person on a visitor visa is need take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply for extension to regularise stay in the UK. A visitor is allowed to access UK Visa and Immigration services as these are essential public service and will continue to operate safely under local and national Covid-19 restrictions.

UK Visitor Visa Covid-19 Exceptional Assurance

If a visitor intends to leave the UK but have not been able to do so due to coronavirus pandemic and the visa expires between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021 then may request for additional time to stay i.e. exceptional assurance. A visitor can submit request for an exceptional assurance by emailing [email protected] with the following details:

  1. full name
  2. date of birth
  3. nationality
  4. Home Office, GWF or any other reference number
  5. type of visa
  6. expiry date of visa
  7. reason for request
  8. evidence of flight or evidence showing reason the visitor can not leave the UK
  9. the subject header of the email should read “Request for an assurance”
UK Visitor Visa Extension Covid-19 Supporting Documents

In the email the visitor needs to attach evidence to show: why he/she is not able to leave the UK? For instance, if a visitor can not leave the UK because he/she can not find a flight due to Covid-19 before his/her visa expired then needs to provide a copy of a confirmed flight ticket. If a visitor can not leave the UK because he/she has coronavirus then needs to provide confirmation of positive Covid-19 test result.

If a visitor has previously completed the online form to request exceptional assurance and is awaiting the outcome and his/her flight is imminent then may need to send the details as the above email address. The Home Office usually considers such requests and contact the applicant. During this time, the visitor is not treated as an overstayer or suffers any detriment in any future immigration applications for this consideration period.

Grant of UK Visitor Visa Extension Covid-19

If a visitor is granted ‘exceptional assurance’ it will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after leave has expired. If conditions allowed a visitor may continue to do so during the period of the exceptional assurance. However, exceptional assurance does not mean grant of extension of UK visitor visa. The exceptional assurance only means to protect those visitors who are unable to leave the UK due to COVID-19 restrictions and not to facilitate travel, other than to return home.

If a visitor has already been given assurance but the circumstances have changed or the visitor is unable to leave the UK by the assurance date previously given then needs to reapply using the process above. The visitor will need to clearly state: why he/she is making a subsequent application and needs to provide new supporting evidence.

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