LS Legal News Bulletin
Q&A Relating to the Updates Announced by the Home Office in light of COVID-19 published on 27 March 2020
Thursday 2nd April 2020
Hifza Nuyani, Solicitor
The Home Office has published new updates in light of COVID-19 on 27 March 2020. Please find below some of the new questions we have been asked and the answers below:
Q: I want to contact the Home Office about my Immigration enquiry, but how can I contact the Home Office during COVID-19 outbreak?
A: The Home Office has set up an email address and telephone contact number to deal with any query related to COVID-19. You can use the following contact details to contact the Home Office:
Telephone Number: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Q: I have submitted an online application and I have an upcoming appointment at the Visa Application Centre (Sopra Steria) inside the UK to submit my biometric information. Will my appointment take place as scheduled?
A: All the Visa Application Centres are closed since 27 March 2020 until further notice. If you have an upcoming appointment, then it will be automatically cancelled by the Visit Visa Application Centre and you will receive an email to confirm this.
You will also be given a refund by the Visit Visa Application Centre and you will be informed to book a new appointment.
Q: Can I attend my appointment at the Visa Application Centre in my home country?
A: Many Visa Application Centres are closed globally due to COVID-19 outbreak and there will be many more closing down until further notice. If you have an appointment booked at the Visa Application Centre outside the UK, you should be contacted by the Visa Centre staff to re-schedule your appointment. It is advisable that you contact the Visa Centre to enquire whether you will be able to attend your appointment.
Q: Will I be able to collect my passport from the Visa Application Centre in my home country?
A: Yes, many Visa Application Centres outside the UK are returning passports. You will need to contact the nearest Visa Application Centre directly to find out the procedure of obtaining your original passport and ID documents.
Q: I have an upcoming Appeal hearing at the First-tier Tribunal, will I need to attend in person?
A: In light of the current government provisions on COVID-19, the HM Courts and Tribunals Service has suspended physical attendance at hearings. It has been announced that the hearings will be conducted remotely however, there will be some Court buildings that will remain open during the pandemic in order to facilitate the hearings that cannot be heard by video or telephone.
Q: Is my Appeal hearing going to be listed on the same date as scheduled previously by the Court?
A: It has been announced by the First-tier Tribunal that all the current scheduled hearings are vacated. This means that you will be issued with a new hearing date and you will be informed about your hearing.
Q: Will I need to file evidence in support of my appeal?
A: You will need to file evidence and skeleton arguments within 15 working days before your Appeal hearing date. The Home Office will then have 10 working days to make submissions and respond to your evidence and skeleton argument to the Tribunal. After considering the response, the Immigration Judge will decide whether your matter can be decided without a hearing.
Q: My Upper Tribunal hearing is upcoming, will that be affected by COVID-19 outbreak?
A: Yes, all Upper Tribunal hearings have been cancelled and all the parties are being informed. If a hearing is necessary to take place during the pandemic period, then it will be conducted remotely.
Q: Do I still need to attend my reporting event at the Home Office during the pandemic period?
A: The Home Office has temporarily deferred all reporting events and you will be informed about your next reporting event by an SMS text message.
Q: I wish to voluntarily depart from the United Kingdom, can the Home Office assist me with this during the pandemic period?
A: Due to many flights being cancelled around the world, the Home Office cannot assist anyone with departing from the United Kingdom at present however, the Home Office will try and help wherever possible.
Q: Do I need to pay NHS for Coronavirus treatment?
A: There will be no charge for any patient receiving any treatment for Coronavirus regardless of their immigration status.
Q: I have submitted my application under the EU Settlement Scheme, can I post my ID documents to the Home Office?
A: The Home Office is unable to accept any ID documents by post at this time. In addition, you cannot attend any ID document scanner locations as this service has been currently suspended.
Q: Can I contact the Home Office in relation to my EU Settlement Scheme application?
A: You can contact the Settlement Resolution Centre for any enquiry using Link
Q: Can I attend my British Citizenship ceremony during COVID-19 outbreak?
A: Most British Citizenship ceremonies have been cancelled by many Local Councils therefore, it will be advisable to contact your Local Council to confirm whether your British Citizenship ceremony will take place.
Q: Can I request my file of papers from the Home Office? Also known as Subject Access Request.
A: The Home Office is only accepting Subject Access Requests made online and the Home Office is only providing data that is held electronically.
We hope the above information will be useful.
In light of the current pandemic, there are many changes implemented by the Home Office and relevant departments on regular basis.
If you wish to discuss your immigration concerns or you require any assistance with your immigration matter during the pandemic period, please speak to our experienced Solicitors and Caseworkers, who will be happy to assist you with your matter.
Get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07535959450/02081445588 and book your consultation now!