User Pays Visa Application Centre fee frozen and changes to the network

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) today announced changes to the User Pays Visa Application Centre (VAC) Network which will see the global fee stay at £59 across all locations. The fee was previously due to rise on 6 April to £70.

This change is possible because of the decision to convert a small number of currently free to use application points into User Pay centres in early May. In all these locations (Ikeja, Mirpur, Sylhet) applicants will continue to have access to at least one other free to use application centre in that country. Applicants at these centres will also benefit from service enhancements, including longer opening hours (where there is demand).

The changes that UKVI are now making are part of a longer term strategy to increase the number and range of different ways that people overseas can apply for visas to the UK over the next couple of years.

Changes to biometric collection categories

Changes are being made to the way in which biometric information, including fingerprints and facial images, are being managed from 6 April 2015.

The new rules will mean that anyone registering or naturalising as a British Citizen will need to provide their biometrics as part of their application. Non-EEA nationals applying for a residence card, derivative residence card or permanent residence card will also need to submit their biometrics.

An applicant who is applying in the UK will need to attend a Post Office so their biometrics can be taken. This will be set out in their enrolment letter they will receive after they apply.

Those people applying from overseas to become British Citizens will be required to enrol their biometrics at a biometric enrolment centre, such as a Visa Application Centre. Alternatively if they are travelling to the UK they can enrol their biometrics at a UK Post Office.

Successful applicants will receive a residence card (RC) in a new biometric format. The cards are similar in design to the biometric residence permit (BRP). They are the size of a credit card, and show a person’s personal information e.g. name, date of birth and nationality, status in the UK and a photograph.