Visa Extensions Eligibility for Healthcare workers in the UK during COVID- 19


For health care workers who are waiting to extend their visas now, there is good news for you. With COVID- 19 in the limelight, the UK government has announced that health care workers are eligible for a visa extension for 1 year free of cost.

Eligibility Factors to avail the Free Visa Extension


You are eligible:

  • If your visa expires in the period between October 1 2020 and March 31, 2021

  • If you are working for an independent Healthcare provider in any eligible or suitable profession or with the NHS

  • The visa extension is considered to be applied from the expiry date of your visa.

  • In case you are eligible, then automatically, the rest of your family members are eligible for the one year of free visa extension.

You are not eligible:

  • If your visa expiry date is dated after March 31, 2021

  • If you are changing your employer

  • In such a case, you need to proceed with the visa extension in the normal procedure.

What are Eligible Professions?

In case you happen to be one of the below-mentioned professionals, your visa is eligible for the free visa extension:

  • Biochemist

  • Biological scientist

  • Dental practitioner

  • Health professional

  • Medical practitioner

  • Medical radiographer

  • Midwife

  • Nurse

  • Occupational therapist

  • Ophthalmologist

  • Paramedic

  • Pharmacist

  • Physiotherapist

  • Podiatrist

  • Psychologist

  • Social worker

  • Speech and language therapist

  • Therapy professional

In case of doubt, it is best to consult with your employer about your profession and whether you are eligible for the same.


Eligibility of Family Members


Your family members, who happen to be dependents against your visa, are also eligible for the one-year free visa extension.


Dependent includes:

  • Your child under 18 years of age

  • Your husband, partner, or wife

In order to attain extension eligibility, the below-mentioned criteria should be met:

  • If you are an eligible healthcare worker, and the visa expires between the time period of October 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021

  • If the visa of your family member expires, between the time period of October 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021

  • The visa extension is considered to be applied from the expiry date of your visa.

Suppose you happen to be a health worker with an indefinite leave to stay, then your dependents or family members are not eligible for a free visa extension. Their visas need to be extended by the normal procedure.

Steps to follow to get the free Visa extension

  • First, your employer will have to inform the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), about your eligibility for the extension

The eligible health worker can apply online. Please provide:

  • Your photo

  • The photo of your BRP – Biometric Residence Permit

If family members are included in the application, please provide:

  • Family Member’s photo

  • Family Member’s BRP photo

In case, you do not have a BRP or even your family member does not have, then it is best to take a photo of the personal details in a passport. This can be shared for the same purpose.

Also, healthcare workers do not have to pay the Immigration health surcharge (IHS).

What happens if you already applied for a visa extension?

  • Suppose you had already paid the fees for your visa extension and now if you are eligible for the free extension, the payment can be claimed back.

  • Depending on the status of the visa extension application, you can apply for the free extension. Suppose you had applied for the visa extension under Tier 2 (Health and Care), you need not do anything. The concerned officials will contact you.

In case a decision has been made on the application

  • Make sure to claim back one year’s visa fees. In order to apply for the same:

  • Send across an email to the UKVI NHS team, and make sure to give the subject line as “COVID-19 health extension - ex gratia claim”. Send the email to UKVINHSTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk

Along with this, attach:

  • The unique reference number for your application

  • Your full name

  • Your passport number

  • Your employer

  • Your role

  • Alongside, attach a photo or a clear scan of the employer letter affirming that they will employ you in the future too, in the eligible professional roles.

Once eligible, they will send the one-off payment to the bank account that was used for your visa application. The time for processing and receiving the payment will take about 6 weeks.

In case you are still awaiting a decision for your visa application:

The following steps can be undertaken:

  • You need to wait for the decision and then go forward applying for the visa fees worth for one year.

  • Then send across an email to the UKVI NHS team, mentioning that you would like to withdraw the extension application and also apply for a refund.

For the withdrawal of the visa extension application, you need to do the following:

  • Send across a mail with the subject line: “COVID-19 health extension - refund request”. The mail needs to be sent to UKVINHSTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk

  • Add the email address that you had used to apply for your visa extension application

  • The time for processing and receiving the payment will take about 6 weeks. Once that is done, you can apply for a free visa extension.

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