UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service
All immigration applications made from inside the UK are now handled through the UK Visa Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS). This process was launched in November 2018 by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), with the intent to replace the old system with a unified, streamlined and modernised service. It was launched and is overseen with the assistance of private company Sopra Steria.
UKVCAS includes all extension applications, and any switching between visas and applications for both Settlement and Citizenship. However, it does not include services for EEA nationals.
How does UKVCAS work in practice?
The UKVCAS process can be split into four main stages: the online form and payment, booking and preparing for your appointment, attending your appointment, and after the appointment.
Stage 1: Online form and payment
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.
On completion of the form, you will be asked to pay the relevant Home Office fees for the service. These fees will be made up of the standard application fee for the route you are taking, plus an extra £19.20 biometrics fee per applicant. You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which is currently £400 per year for each applicant.
If you wish to apply for the 24-hour service then an additional £610 Super Priority fee will also be charged at this stage.
Stage 2: Booking your 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.
These appointments can be booked free of charge at one of the six Core Centres: Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and Croydon. There may also be some out of hours appointments available at these centres for an additional fee of £100.
There are several other 'Enhanced Service Points' across the country: see our dedicated web page for a complete list of UKVCAS locations, or use the UKVCAS page to search for the location closest to you. Booking your appointment at an enhanced location brings an additional fee: £60 for appointments between 10am – 4pm, £100 for week day appointments outside of these hours, or £125 for weekend appointments. These enhanced locations are all found within local libraries.
For those who desire the most luxurious option of submitting biometrics, a Premium Lounge is available in Central London for a fee of £200 (or £260 outside of 10am – 4pm hours). 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 centres.
At this stage you are also able to upload your supporting documents. You will be able to upload additional documents up until 10pm on the day of your appointment. There is also the option to take all your evidence to the appointment to be scanned, if you would prefer.
Stage 3: Attending your appointment
The UKVCAS appointment is where you will provide biometrics (e.g. photos, fingerprints and signatures), your passport and your documents. Hard copies of your documents must be taken to the appointment even if they have been uploaded beforehand, in case they need to be checked.
If you chose not to upload your documents before attending, then they will need to be scanned at your appointment. If your appointment is at an Enhanced Service Point you will not be charged any additional fees for scanning, as this is already included in the enhanced fee mentioned above. However, if you need documents to be scanned at a Core Centre this will be subject to an extra cost. 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.
Stage 4: After the appointment
After you have attended your appointment a decision will arrive within 8 weeks, or within 24 hours if you have chosen to pay the super priority fee.
UKVCAS also offer a 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 is £9,100 and the appointment can be shared by up to 10 applicants. For applications which are eligible for the Super Priority service, decisions will subsequently be made within 24 hours. Tier 1 Entrepreneur and SET(O) applications made by Tier 1 Entrepreneur holders will still be subject to the 8 week processing. This is a reduction of service from the pre UKVCAS Super Premium option and we have requested that the Home Office change their policy regarding this.
UKVCAS: Frequently Asked Questions
How do I book a UKVCAS appointment?
Book online by visiting this page.
What is availability of UKVCAS appointments like?
Availability for UKVCAS appointments is generally good. A delay of around a week is typical (between time of booking and appointment date). This is much improved on the old system of booking appointments at Premium Service Centres.
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 currently £400 per year for each applicant
- There is a biometrics fee of £19.20 per applicant
- Standard appointments at Core Centres carry no additional fee, though out of hours appointments at Core Centres carry an additional fee of £100
- Appointments at Enhanced Service Points cost £60 between 10am and 4pm, £100 at week days outside these times, or £125 at weekends
- Appointments at the Central London Premium Lounge cost £200, or £260 outside of 10am to 4pm hours.
- Super Priority applications are charged an additional £610
- The VIP service begins at £9,100
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 all original documents, your passport and your BRP. Note that passport sized photos are no longer needed.
How long does a decision take?
A decision takes 8 weeks, or 24 hours for Super Priority applications
What if my Super Priority application takes longer than 24 hours?
The Super Priority decision times are generally hitting the 24 hour standard. If that time frame is not met in your case, then you should request a refund of the £610 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 either issue you with a written guide that explains everything you need to know about your appointment; or alternatively, we can send one of our qualified and experienced immigration advisers to accompany you to 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.