With effect from 1 June 2017, UKVI is charging for all email communications relating to visa applications made from outside the UK.

The charge is in addition to existing application fees and telephone charges.

The new fees came as UKVI switched the handling of overseas customer enquiries to a new provider, Sitel UK.

The Home Office advises the change was due to consolidating the previous provision under two providers, and to result in cost savings.

Customers from outside the UK are now required to “self-serve” via the Home Office website.

New email charges

Contacting UKVI by email from outside the UK will be charged at £5.48 per email. The £5.48 charge per email includes the initial email enquiry from the customer plus any follow-up emails to and from the contact centre relating to the same enquiry.

Customers and agents who contact from outside the UK will be charged their standard network rate plus £1.37 per minute.

Customers and agents can contact UKVI by email from within the UK at no charge. Phone calls are charged at the caller’s standard network rate.

Customers will actually send a ‘web message’ via the internet rather than an email. Before customers type and send their mesage they will be required to make an online payment by credit or debit card before they can proceed to submit their query.

Other changes

  • All phone numbers and opening hours for contacting us from outside the UK will change (from the UK – remain the same).
  • The number of languages offered for those contacting from outside the UK is being reduced to eight: English, Arabic, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. There will be one telephone number for each language.

The in-house UKVI team will continue to deal with sponsors, some asylum calls and the Business & Educators Helpdesk. Sponsors are to continue to contact their licence manager.

Full details can be found on the Home Office website.