Guidance

Transferring a visa: ECB17

Updated 12 April 2016

1. ECB17.1 Transferring a visa (or leave) where an applicant’s passport has expired whilst overseas

Where an applicant’s passport expires during the validity of a multi-entry visa, the visa (or leave) may be transferred to the new passport at their request. Applicants may be advised that any visa (or leave) endorsed in the expired passport remains valid and so applicants can, if they wish, present their expired passport with the new passport. They would not therefore need to request any transfer.

For transfers, the visa vignette in the expired passport must be presented, unless the applicant can demonstrate that the expired passport has been retained by the issuing authority. If the leave is being transferred, the old visa should be cancelled without prejudice by placing 2 diagonal lines through it (to prevent any misuse). Case notes must be updated to indicate that the remaining validity of the leave has been transferred to passport number xxxxx.

If required, you may ask for supporting documentation to establish that their circumstances have not changed. Entry clearance officers (ECOs) should use i-search to obtain information on an applicant’s leave granted in the UK. If information is not available on i-search you must make a referral to Evidence and Enquiry Unit.

There will be a vignette transfer fee for this service. (See the visa fees page on GOV.UK for the current fee.)

If leave is transferred, the ECO will be issuing entry clearance with leave to enter and not leave to remain; leave to remain can only be issued in-country.

Any visa holder seeking to transfer an existing visa to a new passport is not making a fresh application for entry clearance and so cannot be compelled to provide biometrics as part of the transfer process, regardless of whether their initial application was accompanied by biometric enrolment. As part of the transfer process, ECOs should request that the applicant provides their biometric data, but should not automatically refuse the application if the applicant does not wish to do so.

If applicants do not provide their biometrics, they must be advised that we will need to undertake further enquiries to establish their identity which may delay their application. If the ECO is not satisfied that the applicant is the person who is entitled to the new document, the application must be refused.

If the biographical details (eg name or date of birth) differ in the two passports, and the applicant is unable to give a reasonable explanation, the ECO should seek further advice from the entry clearance manager (ECM). Advice is also available by contacting the Settlement Ops Policy Mailbox

2. ECB17.2 Replacing a visa (or leave) where this has been lost or stolen (excluding 30 day short validity (travel) vignettes)

If the applicant loses their passport and visa, or has their passport and visa stolen, they are applying for a replacement using transfer of conditions. There will be a vignette transfer fee for the service. (See the visa fees page on GOV.UK for the current fee.)

You will need to see a police report or other evidence that satisfactorily establishes that the passport is no longer in their possession. This also applies if an applicant had ‘leave to remain’ granted in the UK (excluding on a BRP) and is now applying to have it replaced overseas. See Biometric information: case working for further information on replacing a BRP lost overseas.

If required, you may ask for supporting documentation to establish that their circumstances have not changed. ECOs should use i-search to obtain information on an applicant’s leave granted in the UK. If information is not available on i-search you must make a referral to Evidence and Enquiry Unit.

In the case of loss of a Home Office travel document the ECO may have to issue entry clearance on a Uniform Format Form (UFF). See ECB8.13.10 for further information.

A new CAS/CoS is not necessary in an application to transfer any leave granted under the points based system.

For replacement visas/leave, case notes and other records must be updated to take account of the lost or stolen passport and visa. For information on the current fee for a Transfer of Conditions see the page on GOV.UK for the current fee.

Any visa holder seeking to transfer an existing visa to a new passport is not making a fresh application for entry clearance and so cannot be compelled to provide biometrics as part of the transfer process, regardless of whether their initial application was accompanied by biometric enrolment. As part of the transfer process, ECOs should request that the applicant provides their biometric data, but should not automatically refuse the application if the applicant does not wish to do so.

If applicants do not provide their biometrics, they must be advised that we will need to undertake further enquiries to establish their identity which may delay their application. If the ECO is not satisfied that the applicant is the person who is entitled to the new document, the application must be refused.

3. ECB17.3 Replacing a 30 day short validity (travel) vignette

30 day vignettes can also be replaced using a transfer of conditions and not as a new application for leave to enter. For information on the current fee for a Transfer of Conditions see the visa fees page on GOV.UK.

If the applicant has been granted a 30 day vignette and fails to enter the UK within the 30 day validity period, they must make an application for a replacement 30 day vignette by applying for a Transfer of Conditions.

If the applicant loses or has their passport (& vignette) stolen before they travel to the UK, they will need to replace the passport and report the loss/theft to the police before making a Transfer of Conditions application for a replacement 30 day vignette. Where it is reasonable for them to do so, the applicant should provide evidence that they have reported the loss/theft to the police. Where no evidence is available the case should be referred to an ECM.

For all replacement visas, case notes and other records must be updated to take account of the lost or stolen passport and visa.

4. ECB17.4 Visa endorsements

The Entry Clearance visa is deemed as ‘activated’ once it has been used to enter the UK. This means that transferring or replacing an activated visa is not a fresh application.

Therefore, for entry clearance that has been ‘activated’, the ECO should endorse the vignette ‘TO COMPLETE STAY WHICH EXPIRES ON’. The original expiry date must be entered in the additional endorsement field along with the category of visa, for example, ‘Tier 4 Student’. You should be sure that the appropriate visa conditions are selected from the drop down menu, for example: (Code1) No recourse to public funds.

Posts must note that due to IT constraints the exact conditions will not always display correctly. This will be in instances where there is a second asterisk in the conditions field, the second asterisk will default to the expiry date. In these circumstances a manual correction may be the only option.

For ‘unactivated’ visas that have not been used to enter the UK the endorsement should be the appropriate category of visa as in the original endorsement. Leave to enter has not yet begun and the endorsement would not be ‘TO COMPLETE STAY’. The unused visa should be cancelled.

If the passport and visa are lost before they are used for travel, a fresh application will be required and the same conditions satisfied (see section 2).