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Get specialist immigration advice

This advice applies to Scotland

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 2022, 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 the country you need to go to won’t let you in because of coronavirus.

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

EU Citizens Support Service

If you have any questions about the EU Settlement Scheme or need help applying, you can call our free, confidential and impartial EU Citizens Support Service.

You can call the service helpline on 0800 916 9847. It's open Monday 9am to 1pm, Wednesday 1pm to 5pm and Friday 9am to 1pm. If you call outwith these hours you can leave a voicemail and an adviser will get in touch with you.

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:

You can also contact the Ethnic Minorities Law Centre (EMLC) - they give legal advice and representation on all immigration issues.

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 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

Find out more about help with legal costs.

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.

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