New application process to apply for a visa in the UK
From 5 November 2018, the process of applying for UK visas in-country is set to change.
At present, UK in-country visa applications can be submitted in a number of ways:
- Applicants send their documents by post and provide their biometric information at an appointment.
- Applicants can attend a Home Office Premium Service Centre with their application and submit biometric data at the same time.
- For some visas, applicants can use the Super Premium Service to get a same-day decision.
From 5th November 2018, the new UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) is being phased in, which will see the introduction of primarily digital visa application processing.
A better way?
The new process ‘digitises’ the visa application process, with the aim of making it quicker, easier and more secure for applicants.
Applicants first go online to the gov.uk website to submit their application form and supporting documents and to book an appointment at either:
- one of six centres located in major cities (London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow)
- one of 50 additional user-pay centres located in local libraries, or
- a Premium Service Point in central London.
Applicants will also be able to purchase additional, optional and chargeable services, where available, which include mobile application services.
During the appointment, the applicant’s identity will be checked and their biometric information collected.
Documentary evidence will be copied and stored in digital format. Importantly, this means the applicant retains possession of their documents, removing the risk of original documents (such as passports and birth certificates) being ‘misplaced’.
What is not set to change is the requirement for the applicant to stay in the UK while their application is being processed. Leaving the country while an application is being processed will signal that the application has been withdrawn.
Which UK visa routes are eligible to use the new service?
From 5th November 2018, the following routes can be processed online and at a chosen service centre:
- Points-based visas (Tiers 1, 2, 4 & 5)
- PBS dependant visas (partner and child)
- Member of HM forces and their dependants
- Turkish business person or worker, or their dependants (partner and child)
- UK settlement (certain categories only include long residence, child, HM forces category, refugee or humanitarian)
- Registration certificates
- Permanent residence cards
- British citizenship by naturalisation
- British citizenship as a child under 18
- Register as a British citizen
- Biometric residence permits (update, replace or transfer)]
- Other leave to remain
- Home Office travel document
Applications for all other routes are expected to come under the new system from January 2019, and in the interim should continue to be made using the existing processes.
New service centre locations
While the new centres are rolled out, applicants are able to choose whether to use the existing application processes or whether to use the new centres where available.
W/c 5 November:
- Core centre – Manchester
- Premium Lounge – London
- Enhanced service points – Newcastle, Liverpool, Warrington, Stockport, Wakefield, Lancaster, Burnley, Hull, Burnholme.
W/c 12 November:
- Core centre – Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff
- Enhanced service points – Nottingham, Coventry, Newport, Aberdeen, Wolverhampton, Ipswich, Cambridge, Warwick, Peterborough
W/c 19 November:
- Core centre – Belfast, Croydon
- Enhanced service points – London (Stratford, Shoe Lane, Barbican, Victoria, Wimbledon, Kensington, Shepherds Bush), Gloucester, East Ham, Salisbury, Dorchester, Llandudno, Taunton, Swindon, Patchway, Bradley Stoke, Truro.
W/c 26 November:
- Enhanced service points – Reading, Norwich, Bedford, Swinton, Watford, Brighton, London (Canning Town), Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead, Eastbourne, Preston, Grays, Preston, Brighton, Portsmouth
From January 2019:
- Free appointments are being made available to vulnerable applicants in seven dedicated support centres.
Do you need advice with a UK visa application?
DavidsonMorris are specialists in UK immigration, working closely with individuals to provide guidance and support through Home Office applications. Contact us for advice on your UK visa application.