The Home Office is changing the process for immigration applications submitted in the UK.
- Outsourced service points. From 5 November 2018 people submitting applications to the Home Office in the UK will apply online and book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) service point operated by a private-sector company, Sopra Steria. Next-day and walk-in appointments will be available for extra fees. At the appointment the applicant’s passport will be checked and they will have their photo and fingerprints taken at a self-service biometric kiosk.
- Applicants can keep their documents. There will be no need to send original documents to the Home Office. Instead, scanned copies of the documents can be uploaded through the Home Office website and the applicant can keep their passport.
- Processing times. The timescale for decisions is similar to the current system. Depending on the type of application it will be possible to pay for priority service (for a decision within 10 working days) or super priority service (for a decision on the next working day).
- Service point locations. The first service points – in London, Manchester and other cities – will open during the week beginning 5 November 2018, with others following later in November. There will be a much wider choice of appointment locations than at present: 57 service points across the UK under the new system compared with 8 Home Office premium service centres.
- On-demand mobile service. An on-demand mobile service will replace the existing super premium service for clients who want an appointment at their home or another location.