Get specialist immigration advice
Coronavirus - if your visa is ending and you can’t extend your visa or leave the UK
If your visa expires before the end of September 2021, you need to ask for more time to extend your visa or leave the UK. This is called ‘exceptional assurance’. Check how to apply for exceptional assurance on GOV.UK.
For example, you might not be able to leave the UK because:
you have a medical condition which makes you ‘extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus – check if you’re extremely vulnerable on GOV.UK
the country you need to go to won’t let you in because of coronavirus
you can’t arrange travel in time
If you need help with an immigration problem, you can contact your nearest Citizens Advice for free and confidential advice.
They might be able to help you with issues like:
applying to the EU Settlement Scheme
problems with coming to the UK or staying in the UK - for example, applying for entry clearance, leave to enter, leave to remain or residence permits
becoming a British citizen - also known as ‘naturalisation’
your right to work, claim benefits and use public services in the UK
getting replacement immigration documents
If your problem is complicated
Your local Citizens Advice can help you if they have a specialist immigration adviser. If they can't help you, you can:
ask them to refer you to another organisation or a solicitor
search for an immigration adviser near you
Immigration specialists must be registered with the OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) - check if a specialist is registered with the OISC on GOV.UK.
All Citizens Advice advisers are registered with the OISC.
Before you get specialist immigration advice
Check if you have to pay for it and what the fees are. Getting help from Citizens Advice is always free.
If you decide to work with the specialist, make sure:
they confirm their advice in writing
they keep you updated on your case at least every 3 months
you have copies of any original documents you give them
If the specialist is a solicitor, you can get advice about what will happen before, during and after your appointment on the Law Society’s website.
If you need help paying for a solicitor
You might be eligible for free legal help - this is called ‘legal aid’. You can get legal aid if you’re on a low income and you’re:
experiencing domestic abuse
applying for asylum
a victim of trafficking
If you’re under 18, you can get legal aid for all immigration and citizenship applications if you:
have been separated from your parents
aren’t being cared for by someone with parental responsibility for you
If you can get legal aid, make sure you choose an adviser with legal aid funding. If you choose an adviser without legal aid funding, you could end up spending thousands of pounds.
Page last reviewed on 28 July 2019