December 12, 2018

Update on new services for UKVI customers

12 December 2018

Dear colleague,

We are writing to update you on UK Visas and Immigration’s (UKVI) new services for UK customers, including online application forms.

The first UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service Centre (UKVCAS), run by Sopra Steria, opened in Manchester on 09 November; followed by Birmingham, Belfast, Cardiff, Croydon and Glasgow, and the Premium Lounge in London.

In addition, 42 of the 50 enhanced service centres have opened for customers; the remaining 8 will all be open by early 2019. Please note, following sub-optimal customer experience at a small number of enhanced service centres, we have amended the roll-out to ensure we are able to address issues prior to further centres going live.

All core service centres that offer free appointments to customers are live and functioning well, and we are working with our partner Sopra Steria to ensure they are responding to demand including with increased capacity where appropriate. We are committed to ensuring all customers are offered an appointment within 5 days of submitting their application; and are working with Sopra Steria to ensure the service delivers for our customers. Customers have the choice to continue to use the current process of attending a Post Office to submit their biometrics during the transition.

Sopra Steria are offering a range of services for customers, including an On-Demand Pop-Up Clinic, to allow the UK VCAS to go to a University or Company; and an On-Demand VIP Service for individuals. Both services mean that customers do not have to travel to a core or local centre for their appointment and can submit their supporting evidence and biometrics at a location convenient to them.

Further details on the roll-out of UK VCAS.

Customer reaction

Customer feedback from live centres has been positive, with customers enjoying the speed and convenience of the new system, including being able to retain their passports and key documents; an easier online application form and the option to purchase added value services to tailor their application to their needs; and the ability to submit key evidence and personal information online, from home, before their appointment.

A recent customer said:

“Clear info. On the website I like the fact that you are accompanied / guided through the process.”

Service and Support Centres

In reviewing our services we recognised that some customers may require more support from UKVI, including during the application process itself. Therefore, in early 2019 we will be opening dedicated Service & Support Centres (SSCs) for customers whose applications or circumstances mean they need more assistance with their application.

We have communicated about this separately; please get in touch if you would like more information.

Applying online

From 13th December, the following paper forms will no longer be available for download from GOV.UK and customers will apply using the online service:

– Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Graduate Entrepreneur – applications to extend stay or switch from another visa category

– Dependants of Tier 1 customers in the above routes who are applying separately from the main applicant

– Form FLR(FP) – apply to your stay in the UK on the basis of family life as a partner, parent or dependent child or on the basis of your private life in the UK

– Form FLR(LR) – apply to extend your stay in the UK on the basis of long residence

– Form FLR(DL) – apply to extend your stay or for indefinite leave to remain in the UK if you were refused asylum but given another type of permission to stay in the UK

– Form FLR(HRO) – apply to extend your stay in the UK for human rights claims, leave outside the rules and other routes not covered by other forms

– Form FLR(M) – apply as a fee waiver customer to extend stay in the UK as the partner or dependent child of someone who is settled here or who is a refugee or under humanitarian protection

Customers who are eligible for fee waiver will be able use a new online form to ask UKVI to consider their circumstances. This service will assist customers who are destitute and cannot pay the fee to extend their stay on the basis of private/family life or other human rights grounds. Therefore, from 13th December, the paper fee waiver form ‘Appendix 1’ will no longer be available for download from GOV.UK.

Where the customer is in the process of completing one of the above paper forms, UKVI will accept the application up to the expiry date of 4 January 2019.

Assisted Digital Service

Further help and advice for customers making an application is available, including support to complete applications online for those who are unable to use the online application process. More information and contact details for the Assisted Digital Service.

Please find attached a Q&A. If you have any feedback on the new system, or any questions, please contact frontendservicesteam@homeoffice.gov.uk. Sponsors who have subscribed to the Premium Customer Service may contact their account manager.

UKVI and Sopra Steria look forward to working with you to deliver an improved customer service and application process.

Regards,

UK Visas and Immigration

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