The British High Commission says it will “pause making decisions” on visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.

The decision was announced in a statement issued on Sunday by the commission.

The development comes hours after the UK added Nigeria to its travel red list as a result of concerns over the Omicron COVID variant.

Speaking in an interview on Saturday, Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, had announced a temporary ban on foreign travellers from Nigeria, adding that “only UK residents or citizens of the UK can enter the UK from Nigeria from that point onwards, and they would have to quarantine in one of the relevant hotels”.

On the announcement on the suspension of processing visitor visa applications in Nigeria, the UK said the decision will be in effect until the travel ban is lifted.

“To support the UK Government’s aim to protect public health from COVID-19 and associated variants of concern (VOC), UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will pause making decisions on visitor visa applications in all red list countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted,” the statement reads.

“Visit visas cover travel to the UK for tourism, visiting family and friends, undertaking short-term business activities (for example, attending meetings), undertaking short-term studies (under 6 months), taking part in research or exchange programmes as an academic, medical reasons (for example, receiving private medical treatment).

“If you apply for a visit visa in a red list country and you meet the UK Immigration Rules, your application will be paused. You will not receive a decision on your visit visa application whilst red list travel restrictions remain in place.

“You will not be able to request a refund of your visa fee once you have given your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). If you already hold a valid visit visa and are intending to travel to England as a visitor from a red list country, you will not be allowed to enter.

“Separate guidance is available for travellers entering Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Use https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-list-of-countries-and-territories.”

The commission also said visas or entry permits from red list countries will only be issued where there are compelling and compassionate circumstances.

“There are only very limited exemptions to travel and entry requirements for critical workers and medical and compassionate cases,” the statement reads.

“If you have submitted a visit visa application and you do not wish to withdraw, we will continue to hold your application.

“If you choose to continue with your visa application, you will not receive a decision on your visit visa whilst red list travel restrictions remain in place.”

Persons interested in applying on compassionate grounds can find more information on the process here.

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