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COVID-19 Restrictions: How To Handle Visa Overstays

07:05 PM April 10, 2020

The widespread of COVID-19 across the globe has forced many governments to put up measures in a bid to combat the rapid spread of the disease to protect its people. One of these measures put in place is closing up borders and restricting travel in and out of the country especially to and from the worst-hit areas. As we all know, this pandemic hit the world so suddenly halting most operations in an instant, the travel industry being the most affected. This means that those people who had traveled to foreign countries are unfortunately not able to return home due to these restrictions.

If you are stuck in a foreign country, you are probably worried about so many things besides your health and safety. In addition to canceling your flight itinerary and following for your refund, there is your visa that is expired or almost expiring. You are probably wondering how to go about handling visa overstays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are a few tips outlining how to handle the situation.

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Do not panic

There is so much panic and anxiety going on around the world following the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, with the lockdowns and quarantines, the movement of people is restricted causing even more panic over travel itineraries. Considering that you are in a foreign country with your visa almost expiring or already expired, your worry is understandable. You, however, do not have to panic, as this is happening all over the world. You are not in this alone. What is most important for you right now is your health and your safety. Make sure you follow government guidelines to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.

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Follow up on new information

With most parts of the world under travel restrictions, the immigration departments are availing information to the public on a daily basis. Check out the website of the immigration department of the country that you are in for any information on visa extensions. If you do not find the website, look for their presence in the social media pages. You should also not miss the local media news for they might have announcements concerning visa extensions. If you hear any announcement calling people for visa extensions, make sure you visit their offices near you promptly to have your visa extended.

Your embassy located in the country that you are in also has available information regarding visas and how to go about extending them. Visit their website or social media pages to check any available information. You can also contact them for guidelines regarding visa extensions.

The following are some information about visa extensions availed from selected countries in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schengen Area

If you are in the Schengen Area and can’t travel due to COVID-19, you should not worry about overstaying your visa as you can get a temporary residence permit or 90 days visa extension. Be sure to contact the immigration office near you to be assisted in the process. There is also a three months extension for residence permit holders expiring between March 16 and May 15, 2020 as well as for long-stay visa holders.

Canada

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If you are a Temporary Residence Visa holder in Canada, visit the IRCC Website to apply for an extension of your visa before it expires.

The Philippines

The Bureau of Immigration is discouraging foreigners from going out to file for visa extensions during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Foreigners whose visas expire during the ECQ will be given a chance to apply for extensions within 30 days after the quarantine is lifted without penalties. However, if your visa has expired before March 17, you will have to pay a fine.

The United Kingdom

If you are in the United Kingdom, in self-isolation or held by travel restriction in regards to COVID-19, contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team for assistance if your visa is expiring before 31 May 2020. You will have your visa extended to 31 May 2020.

Conclusion

Considering that COVID-19 is a global pandemic, immigration offices are bound to be lenient on foreigners. There is a need to save lives and that is why lockdowns and quarantines are being enhanced to ensure the spread curve is flattened. In this view, expect to have a smooth process extending your visa wherever you are.

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, visa, visa overstays
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