Despite the impact of lockdowns and pandemic travel restrictions, it’s more important than ever for those moving to the Isle of Man to keep their immigration affairs in order and progress visa applications, writes Kinley Legal’s Christopher Kinley.
Some people moving to the Isle of Man have told us that they are considering putting their arrangements on hold completely, due to the current logistical headaches involved in physically moving to the Isle of Man from other parts of the world.
We always advise our clients not to be deterred and to start the immigration process as soon as possible, because getting the necessary immigration documents and approvals can often be a lengthy process. In particular, after submitting an application the waiting time for the immigration visa alone can be anything up to 14 weeks. Of course, we should not assume that the current restrictions will be in place exactly as they are now by the time a visa is issued in several weeks’ or months’ time.
The nature of the global pandemic response means that the future is rather unpredictable, but equally people cannot put their lives on hold for ever, and pandemic restrictions look likely to remain a fact of life for the foreseeable future. The good news is that all the systems are in place for us to keep helping people emigrating to the Isle of Man.
Last year, biometric visa application centres all over the world closed for several months from March 2020, causing major disruption to many people’s plans. In 2021, these centres have remained open, and have learned to operate efficiently with local pandemic mitigations in place.
The lack of applications for tourist visas at the moment in fact means that in many countries there is better availability for biometric appointments than ever before – good news for people applying for long-term visas and moving to the Isle of Man.
For certain visas, such as the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa, it is no longer even necessary to attend an appointment at the visa application centre (although if you don’t go to a biometric appointment, you will get an electronic permission rather than a paper visa in your passport).
For people already in the Isle of Man, or in the UK or Channel Islands changing or varying their Isle of Man immigration permission, it is important that your application is still made on time. During the Isle of Man’s second and third lockdowns in early 2021, no special measures have been introduced to help people by extending your permission or allowing applications to be made late.
During the current Isle of Man lockdown, the Immigration Service is not able to return any documents to us or our clients, meaning that applications made from within the Isle of Man are currently delayed until at least 19 April 2021. At present, this means that the normal situation is reversed: applications from overseas are actually being processed faster than those made within the Isle of Man!
If you would like to make an appointment for a meeting, call or online meeting with Christopher or any of the Kinley Legal team about moving to the Isle of Man, please get in touch by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or just complete our simple contact form, and we would be pleased to help.