COVID-19 Update on Guidance January 2021

By Dominic Magne

The Home Office has on the 23rd December announced an extension to the 31st January 2021 for those who are unable to leave the UK on account of the pandemic. The link to the website is here: -

It may well be extended again.

The essential requirements are as follows: -

If you intend to leave the UK but have not been able to do so and you have a visa or leave that expires between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021 you may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.
Please submit your request for an exceptional assurance by emailing with the following details:
• full name
• date of birth
• nationality
• Home Office, GWF or any other reference number
• type of visa
• expiry date of visa
• reason for request
• evidence of flight or evidence showing reason you can’t leave
The subject header of your email should read “Request for an assurance”.

There are two important aspects to note: -

  • The Home Office has not given a blanket extension. An individual must apply, and will only be protected if they do so , in accordance with the form required. All such individuals would need to ensure that a copy of the request has been retained and is accessible.
  • The legal basis for any such grant is unclear and as it is unclear, the Courts have yet to determine the extent to which an applicant may or may not be protected pending the granting of any such assurance or in the face of a refusal.

If an individual has permission to remain that is due shortly to expire, it is advisable that they apply to extend their permission under the Immigration Rules before the expiry of their existing Leave to Remain. By so doing, they will benefit from their existing visa being automatically extended whilst the application is being considered and pending any in time appeal to the Immigration Tribunal.

To arrange a consultation, call +44(0)20 8399 3939 or email