From Tuesday 6 April 2010 you can use the new UKBA super premium service for certain types of visa applications. For a fee of GBP15,000 an UKBA officer will visit you at a location of your choice to process your visa application in the UK. You will then provide your biometric information which consists of your fingerprints and photograph. This is probably the highest fee ever charged by UK immigration for one of their services.
Currently the Super Premium service is only available if you are based in London and the South of England and can be used if you come under the following immigration categories:
- If applying for an extension of your Tier 2 or Tier 4 Visa.
- If applying on the basis of marriage or as a civil partner or unmarried/same-sex partner of a permanent resident.
- If applying for an extension as an academic visitor.
- If applying for an extension as a domestic worker in a private household.
- If applying for an extension on grounds of your UK ancestry.
- If applying for an extension as a visitor for private medical treatment.
- If applying as a retired person of independent means.
- If applying as a sole representative.
- If applying to transfer your residence permit to a new passport using application form TOC.
The above visa categories require you to obtain an identity card for foreign nationals (ICFN) as part of the procedure for an extension of your visa in the UK. You cannot currently use the Super Premium service under a non identity card category or if you are applying for permanent residence or citizenship.
UKBA says that the benefits of the Super Premium service are as follows:
- You can have your biometrics enrolled at a location of your choosing in London and the South of England. This could be your home or business premises.
- You can normally arrange for the appointment at a time and date that is convenient for you.
- A decision will usually be made within twenty-four hours.
- The fee of GBP15,000 covers all costs including fees for dependents.
It remains to be seen how many people will wish to spend money on such an expensive service; Even the very wealthy are likely to be put off by the cost of the service.