ECB17 - Transferring a visa to a new passport, replacing a visa and dealing with unused visas
This is internal guidance for use by entry clearance (visa) staff on the handling of visa applications made outside the UK. It is a live document under constant review and is for information only.
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ECB17.1 Transferring a visa (or leave)
Where an applicant's passport expires during the validity of a multi-entry visa, the visa (or leave) may be transferred to the new passport at their request. Applicants may be advised that any visa (or leave) endorsed in the expired passport remains valid so applicants can, if they wish, keep their expired passport with the new passport and therefore do not need to request any transfer.
For 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 by placing a diagonal line through it (to prevent any misuse). PROVISO case notes must be updated to indicate that the remaining validity of the leave has been transferred to passport number xxxxx.
There will be a fee for the transfer service. (Please check our visa fees page for fee updates). The full entry clearance fee is required for all applications where the applicant has stated that their passport is lost/stolen - see ECB17.2 Replacing a visa (or leave) below.
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 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 cannot be compelled to provide biometrics as part of the transfer process, regardless of whether their initial application was accompanied by biometric enrolment. However, posts should encourage visa holders to enrol their biometrics when seeking to have a visa transferred to a new passport.
ECB17.2 Replacing a visa (or leave)
If the applicant loses or has their passport and visa stolen, we are issuing a replacement visa (or leave) leave and the full fee is required. If the applicant applies for a replacement visa (or leave) you will need to see a police report or other evidence that satisfactorily establishes that the passport is no longer in their possession This also applies if an applicant had 'leave to remain' granted in the UK and are now applying to have it replaced overseas. If required, you may ask for supporting documentation to establish that their circumstances have not changed. ECOs may need to refer to Evidence and Enquiry to obtain information on an applicant's leave validity granted in the UK.
In the case of the loss of a Home Office travel document the ECO may have to consider issuing a UFF. See ECB8.13.10 How to deal with the loss of Home Office travel documents for further information.
A new CAS / COS is not necessary in an application to replace any leave granted under PBS.
For replacement visas / leave, PROVISO case notes and other records must be updated to take account of the lost or stolen passport and visa.
ECB17.3 Visa endorsement
Transferring or replacing activated leave / visas is not a fresh application. You should endorse the vignette 'TO COMPLETE STAY WHICH EXPIRES ON' the expiry date must be entered in the additional endorsement field along with the category of visa, for example, 'Tier 4 Student'. You should be sure that the appropriate visa conditions are selected from the drop down menu, for example: (Code1) No recourse to public funds. However, due to IT constraints the exact conditions will not always display correctly. This will be in instances where there is a second asterisk in the conditions field, the second asterisk will default to the expiry date. In these circumstances a manual correction may be the only option.
For visit visas the endorsement would not be 'TO COMPLETE STAY' as visits lapse on leaving the UK. The usual 'VISIT' endorsement should be used and the expiry date should be the same as on the original visa.
If you 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 should be the appropriate category of visa as in the original endorsement. The unused visa should be cancelled.
If the passport and visa are lost before they are used for travel, a fresh application will be required and the same conditions satisfied.
ECB17.4 Dealing with unused visas
If the holder has not entered the UK by the visa's expiry date, the holder should re-apply. If there are compelling compassionate reasons why the visa was not used, the visa may be extended by up to 3 months provided there has been no change in circumstances. (In such cases no fee should be charged).