UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service
All immigration applications made from inside the UK are handled through the UK Visa Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS). UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has authorised a private company called Sopra Steria to run this.
UKVCAS includes all extension applications, and any switching between visas and applications for both Settlement and Citizenship. Applications from outside the UK are made via the Entry Clearance process.
How does UKVCAS work in practice?
Step 1: Complete the Online Form
The UKVCAS process is designed to allow applicants to complete as much as possible online. The first stage involves completing an online form. This form will be specific to the immigration route you are applying for. While filling out the form, you will be asked a series of questions about your personal background, and about the documentation required for the application.
Step 2: Pay Home Office Fees
On completion of the form, you will be asked to pay the relevant Home Office fees for the service. You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This is £470 for applicants under the age of 18 and for student and Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) applicants. For all other applicants it is £624 per person.
If you wish to pay for a quicker decision to be made there are two options:
- The priority service aims to provide a decision within 5 working days of attending your UKVCAS appointment. This costs an additional £500.
- The super priority service aims to provide a decison within 24 hours of attending your UKVCAS appointment (if that appointment falls on a weekday). This costs £800 in additon to the application fee.
If you wish to make use of these priority services, you must choose that option at the point of application.
Step 3: Book and Pay for an Appointment
Following the completion of the online form and the payment of these fees, you will be emailed an access code. This is used to book an appointment through the online portal on the UKVCAS website.
Free appointments can be booked at all Service Points except for the Premium Lounge. If no free appointments are available there are chargeable appointments which cost £139. You can choose to buy additional services such as document scanning (£56 per person) or document checking (£49 per person). You can also book interpretation (£59) at some Service Points.
Express appointments (fast track appointments lasting 30 minutes) can be booked at a limited number of Service Points.
For those who desire the most luxurious option of submitting biometrics, a Premium Lounge appointment is available for £245 in Central London. Choosing the Premium Lounge will not affect your visa processing time in any way: it is simply a more comfortable version of the other available Service Points.
Once your appointment is booked - if you haven't paid for the document scanning service - you are now able to upload your supporting documents. You will be able to upload your documents once, up to 48 hours before your appointment. (You can upload more documents and these will be submitted after you attend your appointment). You can do this by logging into your account on the UKVCAS website.
Step 4: Attend Your Appointment
The UKVCAS appointment is where you will provide biometrics (e.g. photos and fingerprints) and present your passport and Biometric Residence Permit, if you have one. Hard copies of your documents only need to be taken to the appointment if they haven't been uploaded beforehand.
Please be aware that if you choose not to upload documents beforehand your waiting time at the appointment will probably be longer.
At the appointment, there will be self-service biometric kiosks, and UKVCAS staff on site to assist you. All your original documents and your passport will be returned to you at the end of the appointment.
Step 5: Receive a Decision
After you have attended your appointment a decision will arrive within 8 weeks (6 months for Settlement applications), 5 days for the priority service or within 24 hours if you have chosen to pay the super priority fee.
UKVCAS also offer a mobile pop up and VIP service which can be held at a location of the applicant’s choosing (e.g. at the applicant’s home or place of work). The fee for this service will vary according to the number of applicants and the delivery location. You would need to contact UKVCAS to learn more about this service.
UKVCAS: Frequently Asked Questions
How do I book a UKVCAS appointment?
Book online by visiting this page.
What is the UKVCAS appointment fee?
- Basic application fees are available on the gov.uk website
- You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which is £470 for applicants under the age of 18 and for a student and Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) applicants. For all other applicants it is £624 per person
- There are free and chargeable appointments at all Service Points. Chargeable appointments cost £139
- Appointments at the Premium Lounge are £245
- Priority applications are charged an additional £500
- Super Priority applications are charged an additional £800
What biometrics will be required at the appointment?
You will need to provide your fingerprints, and have a photo taken.
What do I need to bring to the appointment?
You will need to bring your appointment confirmation, your passport and your BRP. Note that passport sized photos are no longer needed. If you are planning to use the scanning service you will also need to bring all original documents.
How long does a decision take?
A decision takes 8 weeks for standard applications (6 months for Settlement applications), 5 days for the Priority service or 24 hours for Super Priority applications
What if my Priority or Super Priority application takes longer?
If the time frame is not met in your case, then you should request a refund of the additional fee. (It seems to us that sometimes the refund is made automatically, but in other cases it needs to be requested.)
Can I withdraw the application?
Yes, but if you withdraw the application after attending the appointment you will not be eligible for a refund of the Home Office application fee. The IHS charge will however be refunded.
How can I check on the status of the application?
Unfortunately there is no way to check on the status of your application.
Can I rearrange the appointment?
At the moment there is no facility to rearrange your appointment. We understand that the UKVI plan to add this function. At present, if you find you cannot attend the appointment after you have booked it then you have to cancel, await a refund, and pay a second appointment fee.
How can we help?
At White Rose Visas we have a thorough understanding of the UKVCAS process and are here to guide you through every step of your application.
We are able to assist in the full preparation of the application, as well as completing the online form on your behalf. Most importantly, we ensure that you have all the necessary documentation for a successful application, including a thorough check of every document to be submitted.
For your appointment, we can issue you with a written guide that explains everything you need to know about your appointment.
Even if you choose not to use White Rose Visas to prepare your application on your behalf, we still welcome your enquiry. We are happy to provide a free 30 minute consultation, with no obligation to use White Rose Visas' services thereafter.