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When You Should Use the Coronavirus Immigration Helpline

The Coronavirus Immigration Help Center was created by the home office to answer immigration questions that are now arising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of the restrictions in movement, by the way of “lockdowns” enforced in most countries, a lot of individuals, students, and workers whose visas have expired or about to expire are becoming increasingly worried about what becomes of their immigration status.

The Home Office, in lieu of this, moved to introduce a dedicated telephone number and email address to answer queries from foreign nationals residing in the UK that have had their immigration status called into question by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can contact the coronavirus helpline:

Phone number: 09006781767

Email address: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

The guidance was published earlier for Chinese citizens and Chinese residents who could not go back due to travel restrictions in China. As well as for people who are in the UK on an expiring visa, and intend to travel out of the UK or intend to extend their visas but are unable to because of the travel restrictions. On March 24th updated guidance was published to cover not only Chinese citizens and residents but it now includes other nationalities as well.

If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020, and will not be able to leave the UK due to travel restrictions and self-isolation related to the coronavirus pandemic, your visa will be extended till May 1st, 2020. To update your records if your visa is about expired, you can contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT). You will be required to provide some basic information about this. Which includes;

  • Your full name (include any middle names)
  • Nationality
  • Your previous visa reference number
  • Date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • Also provide a reason you can’t go back to your home country, i.e Closed Borders.

You will be notified when your request has been received and your visa extended.

Can I apply to stay in the UK long- term?

In normal circumstances, you will not be able or allowed to apply for a visa extension while you are in the UK, you will be required to apply from your home country. However due to the situation of travel restrictions, you may be able to apply to switch from within the UK to a long-term UK visa until May 31st, you will be required to provide the same visa requirements and pay the UK application fee. The same requirements also apply if your leave was automatically extended to March 31st. Applications can be done online while the terms of your leave will remain the same until your application result comes out.

Note, new appointments cannot be booked as the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centers (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centers (SSCs) are temporarily closed to help protect the health and wellbeing of staff and customers in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19). For those who earlier made appointments with the UKVCAS service point or the service support center (SSC) and cannot attend due to the closure, your immigration status will not be affected and you will be contacted and instructed on the next step to take.

UK visa applicants outside of the UK

A lot of UK Visa Application Centers (VACs) are either closed or offering limited services. People in Europe, Africa, and parts of the middle east can contact TLS contact for advice on services in their various countries, while for all other countries, contact the VFS global. People with an appointment with the VAC, which has been temporarily closed down, will be contacted and informed about the cancellation of their appointments.

The British nationals abroad who may need to apply for a passport will not be able to do so if their Country’s VAC is closed. Alternatively, if there is an urgent need to travel to the UK, you can put in an application for an emergency travel document.

What is an Emergency Travel Document?

An emergency travel document is also known as an emergency passport given for urgent travel to those who can’t get a passport on time. Travel plans which include dates and countries you’ll be traveling to, will be printed on your emergency travel documents. If for any reason you might want to change your travel plans after you have been issued your travel document, you will have to apply for a new one. With an emergency travel document, you can travel to your destination through a maximum of 5 countries.

To travel through other countries with your emergency documents, you may need a visa to leave the country you’re currently in and to also travel through other countries.

You can be eligible for an emergency travel document if all the following apply;

  • If you are a British national
  • If you are outside of the UK
  • If your passport has been destroyed accidentally, stolen, lost, recently expired, full, or with the home office passport office/ foreign embassy.
  • You should be able to present proof of your travel plans, such as bookings and confirmation.
  • Or if your travel is urgent and there is no time to renew or replace your passport before your travel date.

Note that, it is impossible to obtain an emergency travel document if you have never had a UK passport. You can apply for a UK passport. Contact our immigration solicitors if you are unsure so we can guide you through the process.

Related article: Read also 'COVID-19: UK Visa Application service points worldwide - Reopening plans in Phases'

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O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija dealt with my case and I found her very professional and experienced in dealing with my application. The care and attention to detail was exceptional. I would definitely recommend Reiss Edwards!".

Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into steps that are easy to follow. Cruised to 3 successive wins on my Tier 1 graduate/entrepreneurship visa which allowed us to play our part in making the UK a better and healthier place!".

Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

Hakeem Salam

"I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them".

Top Notch Immigration Service

"Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them".

Mo Hussein

"I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation".

Gallagher Jones

"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly".

Richard Stone

"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, I was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that I wasn't disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle their case, contact Reiss Edwards".

Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is definitely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind".

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards".

Florence Giwa

"I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them".

Amir Sandeep

"The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help".

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