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Visa updates in response to COVID-19

  • April 01, 2020

As we have stated previously, BDI Resourcing are aware that the current COVID-19 situation has caused concern in regard to IMG’s and relocation to the UK. Within this Blog Article we specifically discuss recent Visa updates that have been put in place to help Doctors.

  1. NHS Frontline Workers Visas Extended

It has recently just been released that Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics with Visas due to expire before the 1st October 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year free of charge. This extension, announced 31 March by the Home Secretary, will apply to around 2,800 Doctors.

The Home Secretary has stated that this Visa Extension has been put in place to allow those Doctors currently working in the NHS to focus fully on combatting coronavirus and saving lives. Priti Patel went on to state “We owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do”.

Whilst this may not apply to the majority of our IMG Community, we hope this extension of Visas demonstrates to you how valued overseas NHS Staff are to the UK.

  1. Extension to Visit Visas due to Expire before 31 May 2020

If you are currently in the UK on a Visit Visa, which is due to expire before the end of May 2020, and are consequently unable to leave because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to Coronavirus, your Visa can now be extended.

To apply for an extension to your UK Visit Visa you must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to update your records. To do this click here. You will need to provide the following:

  • Your Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Your Previous Visa Reference Number
  • The Reason as to why you can’t go back to your home country (i.e the border is closed).

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

  1. Switching to a long-term UK Visa from the UK

Another positive reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic is that IMG’s are now able to apply from the UK to switch to a long-term Visa rather than having to travel back to your home country. This new policy is being implemented until the 31 May.

To be eligible for this you’ll need to meet the same visa requirements and pay the UK Application fee. The fee for a long term Standard Visa depends on it’s length ranging from £361 for 2 years to £822 for 10 years. You must apply and pay for this online as the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres and Service and Support Centres are temporarily closed because of Coronavirus.

  1. Delay to Visa and English Language Services if you’re outside the UK

Understandably, many of our IMG Community will be concerned about how to get Visa’s to come into the Country, whether it be a Visit Visa, a Tier 2 Visa or even a Dependant Visa.

Many UK Visa Application Centres are now closed or offering limited services dependant on their location. Some centre’s remain open for collection of documents such as passports. If you have a pre-booked appointment with your Visa Application Centre, you’ll be contacted directly and your appointment will be rescheduled once the centre reopens. If your country’s Visa Application Centre is closed you wont currently be able to apply for a British Passport. If however you urgently need to travel to the UK, you may be eligible to apply for an Emergency Travel Document – whereby you will need to provide proof of your travel plans.

To find out the services being offered by your Country’s Visa Application Centre, contact:

Some English Language Testing Centres have likewise been affected, with some IELTS and OET testing being suspended in line with official requirements of healthcare authorities.

To find a full list of the locations in which IELTS testing has been suspended and the dates the Centre’s are expected to resume, follow the link here.

Relocating to the UK

If you are an international doctor who would like to relocate to the UK, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK.

Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group each day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS.

Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.


GOV.UK. 2020. NHS Frontline Workers Visas Extended So They Can Focus On Fighting Coronavirus. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2020].

GOV.UK. 2020. Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice For UK Visa Applicants And Temporary UK Residents. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31 March 2020].


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