Super priority and priority services for UK visa and settlement applications are currently suspended due to COVID-19.
Priority services are not expected to resume until public health restrictions ease and a safe return to ‘normal’ operations can be ensured. We will update this article with any developments in the premium service provision.
This article explains how super priority and priority premium processing services operated when available pre-pandemic.
UKVCAS super priority service
For a fee, the UKVCAS super priority service offers expedited processing of certain UK immigration applications. A decision will be given on the application by close of the next working day following the UKVCAS appointment. We look at some frequently asked questions from applicants about the premium processing service.
What is the system for application processing?
The UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) is the system for processing UK visa, settlement and citizenship applications made within the UK.
Previously, applicants were required to submit their supporting documents to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) – the division of the Home Office responsible for the UK’s visa system – and enrol their biometric information separately.
Processing is now handled by a private company, Sopra Steria, on behalf of the Home Office.
Under the new system, applicants making a UK immigration application ‘in-country’ are required to attend a single UKVCAS appointment at a service point to have their identity confirmed, enrol any biometric information that may be required, and submit their supporting documentation.
Following your appointment, UKVCAS will then submit your biometric information and supporting documentation to UKVI for a decision to be made.
Standard processing can take anywhere between eight weeks to six months, depending on the type of application you have made (naturalisation for example typically take longer).
For some types of application, expedited processing of is available using the UKVCAS super priority or priority services.
What is the UKVCAS super priority service?
The super priority service offered by UKVI is just one of a number of new user-pay services launched in 2018. The super priority service comes at a cost of £800 on top of the standard application fee for a decision by the end of the next working day following your UKVCAS appointment.
You can also opt for the cheaper ‘priority service offered by UKVI that will provide you with a decision within five working days, at a cost of £500 on top of the standard application fee.
These priority services will run from the date of your UKVCAS appointment, whereby you will get a decision within one working day where your appointment is on a week day, and two working days where your appointment is at the weekend.
Priority processing is available for Tier 2 visa or Tier 4 visa applications; dependants of Tier 1, 2, 4 or 5 visa holders; and applicants for leave to remain in the UK under family or private life.
How will I receive my application decision using the priority services?
Once a decision has been made by UKVI, you will get an email, followed by a decision letter in the post. However, the email will only give you the outcome of your application if it has been approved. If it is refused, you will not find out until you receive your letter.
Thereafter, you should receive your biometric residence permit (BRP) within seven to ten days of your decision. If it does not arrive, you can report your missing BRP online. Your BRP will be sent to the address you provided in your application. If you want it to be sent elsewhere, you will need to update your address before any decision is made by UKVI.
What are the pros and cons of the UKVCAS super priority service?
Same day or next day appointments can help applicants where there are time pressures, albeit subject to availability at the service point of choice.
It is also possible to book a time slot outside of standard office hours, such as early morning, evenings and at weekends.
That said, even where you opt and pay for a fast-tracked or out of hours UKVCAS appointment, and even where you have also paid for a priority service with UKVI, this does not guarantee that your application will be processed within that timeframe, nor that your biometric residence permit will be received quickly.
Reports of delays are common, even where expedited processing has been paid for. Appointment shortages are also a widespread issue, impacting applicants’ options when making their UKVCAS appointment.
Note that UKVCAS are only responsible for forwarding your supporting documentation and submitting your biometric information to UKVI, and not for making the application decision or providing you with your permit.
How much is the UKVCAS super priority service?
The cost of UKVCAS same day or next day appointments start from £100 per person on top of any other appointment-based fees.
Chargeable out of hours appointments at core service points on weekdays before 10:00 and after 16:00, and all day at weekends, range in price from £50 up to £100 per person, depending upon time and location.
If you opt for an enhanced service centre point there is currently a charge of £60 per person during normal office hours, and £125 outside of normal office hours, i.e. before 10:00 and after 16:00.
UKVCAS also offer a premium lounge service point, based in the City of London, providing a personalised customer experience in a high quality setting, with appointments during normal office hours costing £200 per person and £260 per person outside of normal office hours, i.e. before 10:00 and after 16:00.
In the event that you do not wish to pay for a chargeable UKVCAS appointment, free of charge appointments are offered at the six core service points located across the country. These can be booked 28 days in advance. You will, however, still be required to pay £19.20 to enrol your biometric information.
Are there any other premium services offered by UKVCAS?
In addition to the same day, next day, out of hours or weekend appointments, UKVCAS offer an on-demand pop-up service for large groups. Here UKVCAS will set up a service point on your premises or a location convenient to you for organisations with more than 10 applicants.
UKVCAS also offer an exclusive VIP service 24/7, 365 days a year, whereby they will attend at a location of your choice, including your home and office, to complete your identity check, biometric enrolment and any document scanning.
The price for the pop-up and VIP services are subject to quote, having regard to the duration of appointment, the number of applicants and the travel time.
How do I book a UKVCAS super priority service?
When you submit your online application and have paid the fees, you will be emailed an access code. Use this code to book your UKVCAS appointment.
UKCVAS processing is subject to change and applicants are advised to check centre locations, facilities, opening hours and fees on the the UKCVAS website.
Last updated: 5 November 2020