Fri | Dec 9, 2016

How to switch visa to new passport

Published:Tuesday | December 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I have just got a new passport. How would I go about transferring my visa to a new passport?

Any advice would be appreciated.

- B.E.

Dear B.E.,

When an applicant's passport expires during the validity of a multi-entry visa, the visa, "or leave" stamp, may be transferred to the new passport at his or her request. An applicant should also be advised that any visa 'or leave' endorsed in the expired passport remains valid, so an applicant may, if he or she wishes, keep the expired passport with the new passport and, therefore, would not need to request a transfer.

With respect to transfers, the visa vignette in the expired passport must be presented unless the applicant can demonstrate that the expired passport has been retained by the issuing authority.

If 'the leave' is being transferred, the old visa should be cancelled without prejudice and the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) would place a diagonal line through it so as to prevent any misuse. This is because case notes must be updated to indicate that the remaining validity of the leave has been transferred to a particular passport number.

It should be noted that there will be a fee for the transfer service and the full-entry clearance fee is required for all applications where the applicant has stated that his or her passport has been lost or stolen.

The Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) Regulations 2006 enables an ECO to require a person who applies for entry clearance to provide a record of his or her fingerprints and a photograph of his face as part of the application. Any visa holder seeking to transfer an existent visa to a new passport is not making a fresh application for entry clearance, so he or she cannot be compelled to provide biometrics as part of the transfer process, regardless of whether or not his or her initial application was accompanied by biometric enrolment. However, visa holders are encouraged to enrol their biometrics when seeking to have a visa transferred to a new passport.

Stolen passports

If the applicant loses or has his or her passport and visa stolen, and the applicant is requesting a replacement visa 'or leave', then the full fee is required. If the applicant applies for a replacement visa 'or leave', he or she will need to send a police report, or other evidence, that satisfactorily establishes that the passport is no longer in his or her possession. This also applies if an applicant had 'leave to remain' granted in the United Kingdom and is now applying to have it replaced overseas. It may be that the British authorities may ask for supporting documentation to establish that the applicant's circumstances have not changed. An ECO may need to refer to the Evidence and Enquiry Department to obtain information on an applicant's leave validity granted in the United Kingdom.

Persons when transferring or replacing activated leave/visas will not need to make a fresh application. The British authorities will endorse the vignette 'To complete stay which expires on'. The expiry date will be entered in the additional endorsement field along with the category of visa, for example, 'Tier 4 student'. An applicant should be sure that the appropriate visa conditions are selected from the drop-down menu, for example, (Code1) No recourse to public funds.

For visitor visas, the endorsement would not be 'To complete stay' as visits lapse on leaving the United Kingdom. The usual 'visit' endorsement should be used, and the expiry date should be the same as on the original visa. When the British authorities are transferring or replacing a visa that has not yet been activated, no leave has been granted and the endorsement would not be 'To complete stay'. The endorsement will be the appropriate category of visa as in the original endorsement. The unused visa should be cancelled. Please note that if the passport and visa are lost before they are used for travel, a fresh application will be required and the same conditions satisfied.

Also, if the holder has not entered the United Kingdom by the visa's expiry date, the holder will be required to re-apply. If there are compelling compassionate reasons why the visa was not used, the visa may be extended by up to three months, provided there has been no change in circumstances and, in such cases, no fee should be charged.

n John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com.