The Government has reached a landmark £75 million agreement with airlines to ensure that British travellers stranded abroad will be able to return home safely. More information about this is available on the Government website here.
British tourists and short-stay travellers are advised to return to the UK now, as transit becomes increasingly difficult with the closure of international borders and cancellation of flights.
Non-essential travel abroad by British nationals should not be undertaken. This advice is in place indefinitely for the moment, and will be subject to review.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice remains under constant review to ensure it reflects the latest expert assessments of risks to British people. The latest guidance can be found on the FCO website here.
Experts continue to monitor the situation and any possible changes to travel advice will be informed by the best possible scientific input.
New measures will extend visas for foreign nationals already in the UK and who are unable to return home, until at least 31 May 2020. Anyone who cannot leave the UK before the expiry of their leave due to travel restrictions or self-isolation, must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) by email to advise of their situation. The email address is: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. The requirement to contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team applies to individuals of any nationality whose leave has expired on or after 24 January 2020 or will expire by 31 May 2020.
Current visa rules require people in certain categories to return to their home country to apply for a new visa if they wish to remain in the UK for a different purpose (e.g. student or skilled worker). In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Home Office is waiving the requirement that such applications are made overseas and will allow switching into these routes to be made from within the UK.
Those switching routes in-country still need to pay the relevant fees, meet the requirements of the rules for the route they are applying and will remain subject to immigration control, including criminality checks. The Home Office will endeavour to process applications as quickly as possible, but in the current circumstances some applications may take longer than normal to process, including those wishing to switch category.