If you’re a health worker, you may be eligible for a 1-year extension to your visa for free. This is because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
To get the extension, you must:
- have a visa that expires between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021
- work for the NHS or an independent healthcare provider in an eligible profession
The extension will apply from the date your visa is due to expire.
You’ll need to extend your visa in the normal way.
If you’re eligible, your family members may also be able to get a 1-year extension.
Your visa will be extended if you’re a:
- biological scientist
- dental practitioner
- health professional
- medical practitioner
- medical radiographer
- occupational therapist
- social worker
- speech and language therapist
- therapy professional
Check with your employer if you’re not sure whether you work in an eligible profession.
Family members who are ‘dependants’ on your visa may also be able to get a 1-year extension to their visas for free.
A dependant is either:
- your husband, wife or partner
- your child under 18
To be eligible for an extension, both of the following must be true:
- you’re an eligible health worker and your visa expires between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021
- your family member’s visa expires between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021
The extension will apply from the date their visa is due to expire.
If you’re a health worker with indefinite leave to remain, your family members will not be eligible to extend their visas for free. They’ll need to extend their visas in the normal way.
Apply for the extension
Your employer will tell UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if you’re eligible for the extension.
If you are eligible, you can apply online. You’ll need to provide:
- a photo of yourself
- a photo of your biometric residence permit (BRP)
If you’re including a family member in your application, you’ll also need to provide:
- a photo of your family member
- a photo of your family member’s BRP
If you or a family member does not have a BRP, a photo of the personal details page (or ‘biodata page’) of a passport can be used instead.
You will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS).
If you’ve already applied for an extension
If you’ve already paid a fee for a visa extension but you’re eligible for a free extension, you can claim that payment back.
How you apply depends on the status of your visa extension application.
If you’ve applied for a Tier 2 (Health and Care) visa extension you do not need to do anything. UKVI will contact you about your application.
If you’ve had a decision on your application
You can claim back one year’s worth of visa fees.
To apply, email the UKVI NHS team with the subject line “COVID-19 health extension - ex gratia claim”.
You should include:
- the unique reference number for your application
- your full name
- your passport number
- your employer
- your role
You’ll also need to attach a scan or photo of a letter from your employer confirming that they will continue to employ you in one of the eligible roles.
If you’re eligible, you’ll receive a one-off payment to the bank account used in your visa extension application. It can take up to 6 weeks to receive a payment.
If you’re waiting for a decision on your application
You can either:
- wait until you get a decision, and then apply to claim back one year’s worth of visa fees
- email the UKVI NHS team to withdraw your existing visa extension application and apply for a refund
If you would like to withdraw your existing application, you must:
- use the subject line “COVID-19 health extension - refund request”
- include the email address used in your visa extension application
It can take up to 6 weeks to receive a payment. After you receive your refund you can apply for a free extension.