Making an application for a UK visa and citizenship can be overwhelming. UKVCAS services are intended to make the application process more straightforward for individuals.
It is important to ensure that you follow the correct steps to apply for your visa, settlement, or citizenship application and attend a UKVCAS as your ability to move, study, or work in the United Kingdom will depend upon the acceptance of your application by the Home Office.
This article will outline common questions and concerns from applicants using a UKVCAS service centre to finalise their visa, settlement, or citizenship application.
What is UKVCAS?
UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) is the service system used to process visa and citizenship applications filed within the United Kingdom. This includes applications such as all visa category switching, Further Leave to Remain visa extension applications, Indefinite Leave to Remain applications for settlement, and British citizenship applications.
UKVCAS centres are only utilised for applications made within the UK. Applications from outside the UK are processed by overseas application centres.
UKVCAS is a service managed by Sopra Steria, a third-party technology company that is contracted by the Home Office to outsource visa and citizenship application processing. You will need to book an appointment at a UKVCAS centre for most visa and citizenship applications lodged in the UK.
Do I need to make an appointment with UKVCAS?
You will need to make an appointment with UKVCAS for all in-person appointments. You can book appointments up to 28 days in advance once you have submitted the online application for your visa, settlement, or citizenship application process. Through the online booking platform available on the UKVCAS website, you can choose a UKVCAS centre by entering your postcode. If needed, you can pay for same-day appointments at some service points.
What happens at the appointment?
At your UKVCAS appointment, you will need to arrive at your chosen UKVCAS centre between 10-15 minutes in advance of your allotted appointment.
You should only bring individuals listed on your application confirmation to your appointment, such as family members applying for a visa. You cannot and should not bring other family members or friends apart from these individuals.
Upon arrival, your appointment details will be checked by a UKVCAS employee before you sit down to have your documents confirmed and biometrics enrolled.
If you uploaded your supporting documents online via the UKVCAS upload portal, a UKVCAS employee will check your uploaded documents for completeness, English language, and legibility.
If you paid for document scanning, a UKVCAS employee will scan and upload each of your documents. Depending on your application type, you may have your fingerprints recorded, a photograph taken, your signature enrolled, and your full passport scanned. Your physical passport may be sent to the Home Office, in some cases.
Once these steps are complete, your full application will be digitally sent to UK Visas and Immigration.
What are the different types of UKVCAS centres?
There are five types of UKVCAS centres. Your choice of one of these centres will depend upon your personal circumstances, the speed with which you need to have an appointment, the distance you can travel, and the level of assistance you first.
Core Service Points offer the greatest number of appointments with more members of staff. There are currently 8 Core Service Points in the UK locations of Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Croydon, Manchester, and Glasgow. Appointments are available during core hours free of charge as well as out of hours for a range of fees. The only additional service available at Core Service Points is document scanning.
Enhanced Service Points offer appointments in a broad range of locations throughout the UK. These UKVCAS centres offer additional services for a range of fees, such as document checking, document scanning, document checking, and express appointments.
Premium Lounges are located in the City of London, Birmingham, and Manchester. These paid-for service centres offer greater comfort and support through one-on-one support throughout your biometrics appointment. At Premium Lounges, you are offered high-speed WiFi, private application suites, and business facilities.
Pop-Up Services can be arranged for large groups of at least 10 individuals applying for visas for a finite period of time, such as companies, universities, and community groups. Full day and half-day sessions can be booked in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to save time and energy. Quotes will vary depending on the location and number of applicants.
Finally, exclusive VIP Service is offered year-round in order to provide the height of convenience and support to applicants in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This service can be altered to your bespoke needs and conducted at a home, office, or other convenient location. Quotes will vary depending on the location and number of applicants.
Where are the UKVCAS centres?
There are UKVCAS centres throughout the United Kingdom are in the following locations (as at the time of publishing):
UKVCAS Core Service Points
|Belfast, Northern Ireland||Regus, Forsyth House, 3rd Floor, Office 327, Cromac Square, Belfast BT2 8LA|
|Birmingham, England||Crossway, 156 Great Charles Street, Queensway, Birmingham B3 3HN|
|Birmingham, England||Her Majesty’s Passport Office, 42 Bull Street, Birmingham B4 6AF|
|Cardiff, Wales||Regus, 3rd Floor (Room 308), Falcon Way, Cardiff CF10 4RU|
|Croydon, England||Bedford Point, 35 Dingwall Road, Croydon CR9 2EF|
|Croydon, England||The Lansdowne Building, No. 2 Lansdowne Road, Croydon CR9 2ER|
|Manchester, England||Faulkner Street, Saint James Tower, Manchester M1 4DZ|
|Glasgow, Scotland||Suite 102/103, The Pentagon Centre, Washington Street, Glasgow G3 8AZ|
UKVCAS Enhanced Service Points
|Aberdeen, Scotland||Spaces, 1 Marischal Square, Aberdeen AB10 1BL|
|Bath, England||Northgate House, Upper Borough Walls, Bath BA1 1RG|
|Bristol, England||Kingswood Civic Centre, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 9TR|
|Cambridge, England||Cambridge Central Library, 7 Lion Yard, Grand Arcade, Cambridge CB2 3QD|
|Cardiff, Wales||Cardiff Central Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1FL|
|City of London, England||Sopra Steria, 20 Mark Lane, London EC3R 7AF|
|Chelmsford, England||Victoria House, 4th Floor, Victoria Road, Chelmsford CM1 1JR|
|Edinburgh, Scotland||Regus, 9-10 St. Andrew Square, 1st Floor, Lothian Region, Edinburgh EH2 2AF|
|Edmonton Green (London), England||Edmonton Green Library, 36-44 South Mall, Edmonton Green, London N9 0TN|
|Enfield (London), England||Enfield Town Library, 66 Church Street, Enfield EN2 6AX|
|Exeter, England||Regus, The Senate, 3rd Floor (Room 320), Southernhay, Exeter EX1 1UG|
|Gloucester, England||Gloucester Main Library, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1HT|
|Guildford, England||Regus, Building 2, Guildford Business Park, Guildford Gu2 8XG
|Hemel Hempstead, England||Hemel Hempstead Library, The Forum, Mawlowes, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1DN|
|Hull, England||Regus, 1st Floor, Norwich House, Savile Street, Hull HU1 3ES|
|Leeds, England||Room 517, Regus, No. 2 Wellington Place, Leeds LS1 4AP|
|Liverpool, England||Regus Derby Square, Floor 4 MR1, Merchants Court, 2-12 Lord St, Liverpool L2 1TS|
|Luton, England||960 Capability Green, Luton LU1 3PE|
|Maidstone, England||Kestrel House, Knightrider Street, Maidstone ME15 6LU|
|Manchester, England||Manchester City Library, St. Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PB|
|Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England||City Library and Community Hub, Charles Avison Building, 33 New Bridge Street West, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8AX|
|Norwich, England||Cavell House & Austin House, Stannard Place, St Crispins Road, Norwich NR3 1YE|
|Nottingham, England||Regus, Sopra Steria, East West Building, 2 Tollhouse Hill, Nottingham NG1 5FS|
|Peterborough, England||St John’s Street, Stuart House, East Wing, Peterborough PE1 5DD|
|Reading, England||Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading RG1 3BG|
|Sheffield, England||Rooms G29 and G30, Regus Spaces Acero, 1 Concourse Way, Sheffield S1 2BJ|
|Southampton, England||Cumberland House, Grosvenor Square, Southampton SO15 2BG|
|Stratford (London), England||Stratford Library, 3 The Grove, London E15 1EL|
|Swindon, England||Swindon Central Library, Regent Circus, Swindon SN1 1QG|
|Victoria (London), England||Regus, 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU|
|Wolverhampton, England||Wolverhampton Central Library, Snow Hill, Wolverhampton WV1 3AX|
UKVCAS Premium Lounge
|City of London, England||Sopra Steria, 20 Mark Lane, London EC3R 7AF|
|Birmingham, England||Crossway. 156 Great Charles Street, Queensway, Birmingham B3 3HN|
|Manchester, England||Spaces Peter House, Oxford Street, Manchester M1 5AN|
How long do appointments take?
In general, UKVCAS appointments will be less than 2 hours in length depending upon the type of visa, settlement, or citizenship application you have submitted. They can range from 10 minutes to 2 hours in length. You should allow for plenty of time to assure that you can successfully undertake your UKVCAS appointment and finalise your visa, settlement, or citizenship application.
How much is a UKVCAS appointment?
In addition to the cost of your visa, settlement, or citizenship application, it will cost a minimum of £19.20 to enrol your biometrics at a UKVCAS appointment. In addition, you may choose to pay for the use of fee-requiring out of hours appointments at Core Service Points, Enhanced Service Points, Premium Lounges, or additional services such as document scanning, interpretation, and document checking.
Below is a list of some additional service prices per applicant:
Price per applicant
|Out of hours appointments at Core Service Centres||£112|
|Appointments at Enhanced Service Points during core hours||Starting from £71.50|
|Appointments at Enhanced Service Points during out of hours||Starting from £112|
|Appointments at Premium Lounges during core hours||£210|
|Appointments at Premium Lounges during out of hours||£270|
|Priority application processing||£500|
|Super Priority application processing||£800|
|Document checking (included in the price for Enhanced Service Points)||£46|
Please note that you will be able to book these services online via your UKVCAS account before your pre-booked appointment.
What do I need to take to the appointment?
At a minimum, you will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment confirmation email including the QR code and your travel document or passport. If you have paid for document scanning, you will need to bring all relevant documentation in hard copy. You may choose to bring hard copies of your documents for peace of mind.
How to create a UKVCAS account?
After submitting your online visa application, you will be prompted to create a UKVCAS account on the UKVCAS website via a link sent to your email address. You will be required to create a secure username and password associated with your account. If you need assistance creating a UKVCAS account, you can call UKVCAS at 0844 092 0232 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5:30pm. Please note that calls cost £0.04 per minute in addition to the access charge from your phone provider.
How can I book a UKVCAS appointment?
After submitting your online visa application and creating a UKVCAS account, you can book a UKVCAS appointment via the UKVCAS appointment booking system.
First, select a Service Point in a convenient location around the UK and assess the availability of appointments. If no suitable appointments are available due to high demand, you can select a different location or return to the appointment booking system at a later date to finalise the booking process. Free appointments are added to the appointment booking system daily at 9am and chargeable appointments are added at midnight. You may want to check daily to see if suitable appointments have arisen.
Next, you can choose additional services for your appointment. You will need to determine what services are appropriate for your personal immigration needs and budget.
You can also add ‘Additional Requests’ if you have any accessibility needs.
Finally, you will finalise and pay for your appointment. Once this appointment has been booked, you can begin to upload documents.
How do you upload documents to UKVCAS?
Depending on your specific visa, settlement, or citizenship application, you will need to upload a number of documents to the UKVCAS website before your biometrics appointment. These documents will then be transmitted to UK Visas and Immigration and assessed when your application package is reviewed by a caseworker.
Depending on the type of visa, settlement, or citizenship application and your specific circumstances, you may be required to upload documents such as the following (please note that this list is comprised of example documents and you will need to determine the correct documents for your application):
- Current passport(s) or travel document(s)
- Prior passport(s) or travel document(s)
- Current Biometric Residence Permit
- Prior Biometric Residence Permit(s)
- Bank statement(s)
- Birth certificate(s)
- Letter(s) of financial support
- Tuberculosis test(s)
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate(s)
- Police Registration Certificate(s)
- Consent declaration form(s)
- Employer letter(s)
- Marriage certificate(s)
- Divorce documentation
- Tenancy agreement(s)
- Bills and correspondence
You can upload your documents to the UKVCAS website through the online upload portal. You will need to log in to your account and individually upload and submit each relevant document. Please ensure that each document is less than 6MB in size and in PDF, JPG, or PNG format.
If you pay for the Document Scanning Service in advance or have booked an appointment at an Enhanced Service Point, you do not need to upload documents to the UKVCAS website. Instead, you will bring all documents to your biometrics appointment which will then be digitally scanned, uploaded, and submitted alongside your application by a UKVCAS employee.
When will I get a decision on my application?
The time frame in which you will receive a decision on your application will depend upon the type of visa, settlement, or citizenship application you have submitted. It will additionally depend upon if you have chosen regular processing or expedited processing, if available. Estimated time frames for visa and citizenship application processing change regularly and are noted on the UK Visas and Immigration website. In general, most visa applications will be decided within 8 weeks after attending a biometrics appointment and most citizenship applications will be decided within 6 months.
What happens after my UKVCAS appointment?
After your UKVCAS appointment, you will await a decision on your visa, settlement, or citizenship application. You will be issued a decision letter or decision email from the Home Office. If your visa, settlement, or citizenship application is approved, your Biometric Residence Permit or invitation to attend a local citizenship ceremony will be sent to your mailing address via courier.
Are UKVCAS appointments free?
All visa and citizenship applicants will be required to pay £19.20 to enrol biometrics at a UKVCAS centre. Depending upon the time of day, some UKVCAS appointments at Core Service Points are available free of charge plus the biometrics fee. Other appointments at UKVCAS Core Service Points will incur additional charges. All other appointment types will additionally incur charges.
What is a UKVCAS account?
A UKVCAS account is an online account through which you can upload relevant documents for your visa, settlement, or citizenship application, book biometrics appointments, and read through help and support documents regarding the application process.
How long does it take to get a biometrics appointment for my UK visa?
Generally, you should be able to obtain a biometrics appointment for your UK visa within a month after submitting your online visa, settlement, or citizenship application. This will depend upon factors such as location, availability of appointments, and desire to obtain a free appointment.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.