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New UKVI charges for overseas visa applications

With effect from 1 June 2017, UKVI is charging for all email communications relating to visa applications made from outside the UK.

The charge is in addition to existing application fees and telephone charges.

UKVI has now switched the handling of overseas customer enquiries to a new provider, Sitel UK. The Home Office advises the change was to consolidate the previous provision under two suppliers, and to effect cost savings.

The changes are part of a drive to require customers from outside the UK to “self-serve” via the Home Office website.

New email charges

Contacting UKVI by email from outside the UK will be charged at £5.48 per email. The £5.48 charge per email includes the initial email enquiry from the customer plus any follow-up emails to and from the contact centre relating to the same enquiry.

Customers will send a ‘web message’ rather than an email via the Home Office website.

Customers will be required to make an online payment by credit or debit card before they can proceed to submit their query.

Other changes

All phone numbers and opening hours for contacting UKVI from outside the UK will change (from the UK – these will remain the same).

The number of languages offered for those contacting from outside the UK is being reduced to eight: English, Arabic, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. There will be one telephone number for each language.

Customers and agents who contact UKVI by telephone from outside the UK will be charged their standard network rate plus £1.37 per minute.

Customers and agents can contact UKVI by email from within the UK, and will not be charged. Phone calls are charged at the caller’s standard network rate.

The in-house UKVI team will continue to deal with sponsors, some asylum calls and the Business & Educators Helpdesk.
Sponsors should continue to contact their licence manager.
Full details of the changes can be found on the Home Office website.
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