UK Visa and Immigration open New Visa Application Centres

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have announced the opening of new, modernised and more efficient visa and citizenship application centres.  This should help Tier 2 visa applicants and their Tier 2 employer sponsors. The first centre, opened in Manchester on Friday, 9 November 2018, will be followed by new centres in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Croydon and Glasgow.

Sanwar Ali comment:

The new UK visa system should be helpful to those making applications including Tier 2 visa applicants.    It should reduce the inconvenience faced by UK visa applicants.   However, the fact remains that the fees paid for UK visa applications can be enormous.  Perhaps amongst the highest in the World.  Applicants remain greatly inconvenienced by unaffordable visa fees. 

The new centres will make it easier for people applying for Tier 2 visas, Tier 4 Student visas, settlement and citizenship from within the UK, according to a government press release. A further 50 UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service centres are expected to open nationwide, with a premium lounge planned for London.

UK Visa applicants can pay a fee to access added value services that will allow most people applying for study visas, settlement and citizenship within the UK, to provide biometric information including photos, fingerprints and signatures, plus any supporting evidence when attending a one-off appointment.

Previous UK Visa and Citizenship Application Process

The existing application process for work visas, study visas, settlement and citizenship from within the UK requires a person to file an application, send their supporting documents to the UKVI, who retain them until the application process is complete, and then submit their biometrics separately.

In an effort to improve peace of mind for customers using the new service centres, the government is reassuring people that it will now be possible, in most cases, to provide copies of evidence digitally rather than having to submit important documents, including passports, while their application is processed.

UK Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes, said: “We are committed to delivering a modern, convenient and easy to use service for UKVI customers. These new service centres located across the country are a key part of our vision for a system that supports its customers and provides peace of mind whilst they are making an application.”

UK Visa and Citizenship Applications Online

According to the government press release, the majority of work visa, study visa, settlement and citizenship applicants from within the UK will now complete their applications online, using an intuitive and easy to use system.

This will be followed by an appointment at one of the new UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services centres (UKVCAS), operated by commercial partner, Sopra Steria.

Customers will be guided through an online application process with easy to follow instructions, information on the supporting evidence they will need to provide and where they will need to go to finalise their application.

UK Visa Free Appointments

Appointments will be free to everyone, however, customers are given the option to pay for added value services, including same day appointments and On Demand services. Plus, seven dedicated Service and Support Centres (SSC) will be available, which improve the process for customers in need of additional support with their applications.

The government press release states: ‘Experienced frontline Home Office staff will help those who need extra support to better understand their circumstances and if necessary, take the appropriate safeguarding action.’

It’s understood that the SSCs will be open and operating in January 2019 in Belfast, Cardiff, Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield and Solihull.

UK Visa Priority Service continues:

The current processing times for UK visas continues:

Super Priority Service - Usually provides a decision in 24 hours

Priority Service – This will usually lead to a decision in 10 working days

Standard Service – This is still expensive and will usually provide a decision within 8 - 12 weeks

The processing times are not guaranteed.   The Home Office may decide to look into a case further that will lead to delays.

Further information, help, and advice on UK visa applications has been in the immigration services business for thirty years, helping thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act and can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at