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USA: Coronavirus

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 37380, tabled on 20 April 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reciprocal arrangements the Government has made with the US Administration to extend the length of visas for UK and US citizens currently in either country whose visas are due to expire and who are unable to return home because of the covid-19 pandemic.

Answered on

27 April 2020

The UK is in regular contact at the highest levels with our US partners on our joint response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, including discussions on how to enable travelling nationals to return home where necessary. It is up to individual countries how they manage their response to the virus, including immigration policy.

British travellers currently in the USA will be allowed to leave to return home. British travellers who entered the USA on an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa and are concerned that their period of admission is about to expire are able to apply for Satisfactory Departure from the US Customs and Border Protection. This discretionary authority permits US Citizenship and Immigration Services and US Customs and Border Protection to extend an ESTA admission for a period not to exceed 30 days.

Most US citizens in the UK can stay for up to 6 months without a visa. If US citizen's visa is expiring and they cannot leave the UK at present because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19, they are able to request an extension from the Home Office's Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) and their visa will be extended to 31 May 2020.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.