Border Agency transition to Home Office
Online payment option for UK visa applications in India
Tier 4 student visa interviews
Change to family visitor appeals


Border Agency transition to Home Office

On May 3 2013 the government clarified the position with regard to the organisational changes affecting the Border Agency. On April 1 2013 the agency was split into two separate units within the Home Office: a visa and immigration service and an immigration law enforcement division. Over time, the content from the Border Agency website will move to the government's digital service at www.gov.uk. In the meantime, new and updated content added to the website will reflect the new Home Office structure and brand. These organisational changes will not affect the validity of any reference to the agency in any document or form on the website. Furthermore, the present Immigration Rules will also remain in force.

Online payment option for UK visa applications in India

As of May 1 2013, all UK visa applicants in India now have the option of paying their visa fees online using a credit or debit card when submitting a visa application and booking their biometric appointment. Previously, all applicants were required to pay visa fees in person when submitting their application. Other methods of payment, including payment at the visa application centre, will continue to be accepted. Applicants will continue to pay for their visa in rupees; however, a planned new system will include the choice of payment in other major currencies, including pounds sterling.

Additional online methods of payment are expected to become available over time, including other payment cards and eWallets.

Tier 4 student visa interviews

As of May 7 2013, those applying for a Tier 4 student visa may have to undergo a short interview when attending the visa application centre to submit their application and biometric information. The interview will focus on the applicant's reasons for coming to the United Kingdom; this is known as a 'credibility interview'. A report of the interview will be sent to the visa officer, who will consider it alongside the visa application and supporting documents. A further interview may be necessary if the visa officer needs more information.

It is expected that this will delay the processing of these applications, so it will be important to ensure that visa applications are submitted in good time before the start date of the study programme in the United Kingdom.

Change to family visitor appeals

The Home Office is removing the full right of appeal for applicants that have been refused leave to enter the United Kingdom as a family visitor. On April 25 2013 royal assent was given to a clause in the Crime and Courts Bill (published on May 10 2012), which will allow the change to become effective. The change is expected to come into force on or soon after June 25 2013. The new appeal arrangements will apply to anyone who applies to enter the United Kingdom to visit a family member on or after the implementation date. Applicants who are refused can re-apply, addressing the reasons for refusal, instead of appealing. This will be quicker and cost less than an appeal.

For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email (idesousa@kingsleynapley.co.uk). The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at www.kingsleynapley.co.uk.

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