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What if I am stuck in the UK due to the Ebola crisis?

This blog post looks at old changes announced within immigration law. Take a look at our blog to read some more recent updates.

Over the last 6 months, the Ebola crisis have hit large parts of West Africa, in particular Liberia, Sierra Leon, Guinea and Nigeria.

It is estimated that hundreds of visitors from this region have visited the UK just before the outbreak, but due to the flight restrictions, have not been able to return back to their home country.

According to UK immigration rules, foreign nationals are required to leave the UK before their visa expires; however if there are exceptional and compelling circumstances, the Home Office may exercise discretion to extend the visa further.

In order to apply for an extension as a visitor, applicants will need to complete an FLR (O) visa application and to explain their predicament in a covering letter. If possible, supporting documents should also be provided to confirm their arguments.

Because the application will be submitted outside of the normal rules, there is not a set time for the Home Office to decide on an application; however it is often between 3 to 6 months.

If the visa is granted, the amount of time the visa may be valid for will vary from case-to-case and it will depend on the most current circumstances at the time of application. It may be that the outbreak is still on-going, in which case a longer-length visa should be expected, or if the outbreak has passed, then applicants may need to make travel plans back to their home country as soon as possible.

Recently, a few of the flight restrictions have been lifted and we are aware that UK airports and international airports have included a number of safety precautions in their procedures, such as screening and health checks of visitors from “high risk” countries. This has now become a standard procedure for safety reasons and travellers who do not cooperate with authorities may be returned to their last destination. Meanwhile, those who are permitted entry to the UK is deemed safe by the health officials but would face an issue if the crisis exceeds past their visa expiry date.

It would be well-advised that, those in the UK who are unable to return home should contact a UK immigration specialist in order to ensure they do not fall foul of the law. For further information or for any immediate queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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