Under a pilot scheme for a new service which the Home Office has recently launched, applicants for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visas who are applying from within the United Kingdom will be able to receive their passports back before a decision has been made on their visa
Previously, such visa applicants would have to surrender their passport to the Home Office for weeks, sometimes even months, whilst a decision on granting the visa was pending. This would leave individuals stranded in the UK, unable to travel abroad for work or leisure, until the Home Office had made their ruling.
The introduction of the passport return service will allow Tier 2 (ICT) applicants to have their passport returned within 7 to 10 days of their application being received by the Home Office. This means that Tier 2 (ICT) applicants will be able to continue to:
- use their passports during the application process; and
- travel overseas if they have valid leave that covers the period they intend to be out of the UK.
Those wishing to apply for leave to remain in the UK with a Tier 2 (ICT) visa would be well advised to make plans for their application early – applicants can submit their forms and supporting documentation up to three months before their current leave expires.
The Home Office states that, if this pilot scheme proves to be successful, additional routes will be considered for early passport return service.