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UK Visa Super Priority Appointment (Tips and Process)

As of the 5th of November, the whole service has changed and it’s no longer the same Premium Service offering by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI). There is a new service called UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) which is run by Sopra Steria in partnership with UK Visas and Immigration. I have searched the internet, so you didn’t have to! Here is everything you need to know about the changes.

Psstt.. You can read more about the application process and documents I provided for the Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa (Settlement) here.

Super Priority service is currently suspended. As things are changing (due 2020 events) with UKVCAS service please keep up to date with UKVI latest information and UKVAS.

Disclaimer: Hi! this post may contain affiliate links which will take you to online retailers that sell products and services. If you click on one and buy something, I may earn a commission, see my Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

Disclaimer: This is based on my research and you should seek professional advice if you are unsure. Go to GOV UK to check if there have been any changes to the visa rule & fees.

5th November 2018 Changes to Appointments

With the rollout of the UK Visa and Immigration new streamlined services there have been several changes introduced which include:

  • a streamlined online journey for most application types, with an intuitive form making it easier to apply and the option to purchase additional services;
  • a modernised, digital and more secure process to submit key evidence and personal information, with most applicants able to retain their passports and other valuable evidence rather than sending them separately to UKVI;
  • fast and convenient self-service with the ability to make applications and upload evidence directly;
  • more flexible on-demand, mobile application services accessible at third party premises;
  • enhanced support for vulnerable customers through a range of financial support for travel costs and mobile services.

You can read more of the details UKVI issued on this here.

Timeline of the Changes

  • From 5th November: the new UK VCAS centres will open and slowly rolled out until the 29th of Nov. They are opening 57 locations across the country to make the process easier.
  • During the period of 5th November – 29th November, the old and new service will run which means there will be access to the new biometrics/document upload centres and Premium Services.  
  • 29th November: Premium Service Centres will close
  • January 2019: Service and Support Centres will open, for use by a small number of customers who require more support with their application. These customers will continue to use the current process until January and the UKIV will issue more information on this process shortly so look out for it.

Premium Service Appointment Booking

In order to book the premium service appointment, you need to complete the online application (for my ILR I used the new visa immigration website), it will be the last stage of the online application process providing you with two options to submit your application. The two options are Standard and Super Priority service and the type of visa’s this service is offered to are:

  • Tier 2 or 4 visa
  • Tier 2 or 4 dependant – applying on your own
  • Tier 1 or 5 dependant – applying on your own
  • Remain in the UK with family – applying in the partner, family life as a partner or private life in the UK routes
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • And a few more.

What does this mean for you?

This changes the way the visa appointments used to work so instead of the appointments opening 45 business days in advance they now open within 5 working days of making your application. They encouraged to go to an appointment as soon as possible and will receive a reminder after 15 working days if you have not attended an appointment.

If you want to visit one of these service points you can book an appointment:

  • up to 28 days in advance
  • the same day
  • the next day
  • outside of standard office hours

If your application included family members or dependents you will need to attend the appointment at the same time.

What are the Decision Timelines for the New Premium Service?

The changes have introduced a new timeline for when a decision is made on your application, the choices are:

Example of the new application

Visit Gov.uk to commence your application, depending on the visa type you will be directed to the appropriate form you need to fill out. Once you commence the application you will be presented with an information page about your visa which will detail information about; biometric information, healthcare Surcharge, before you start applying, what you need to know, how to apply and application fees.

Example of Tier 2 Application page.
Example of Tier 2 Application page.

Once you’ve completed the application and declaration you will get to the payments section.

The first step of this process is providing your evidence and biometrics information. Between 5th November and 29th November you will be offered the choice between the existing service or the new UK VCAS. This is still displaying on some applications. You will need to choose the new service as the existing service no longer exists.

Example of page 2 of the Tier 2 application page for providing biometics.
Example of page 2 of the Tier 2 application page for providing biometics.

The next step is choosing the service, to recap the decision timeline is:

  • Standard service – get a decision within 6 months
  • Super priority – get a decision in 24 hours
Example of payment page and options available.
Example of payment page and options available.

The moment of spending your money is now here! Put in those card details.

Choosing your payment method on UKVI.
Choosing your payment method on UKVI.

The last page is further actions will cover booking appointment, downloading the checklist and application.

Further actions page on UKVI which allows you to book an appointment with UKVCAS.
Further actions page on UKVI which allows you to book an appointment with UKVCAS.

Booking Your Appointment

Once you complete your online form and pay the fees you will be emailed an access code. This is used to book an appointment through the online portal on the UKVCAS website.

This is also the portal you will self upload your support evidence.

What Locations Can You Get a Premium Service Appointment?

Before the changes there only used to be 7 Premium Service Centres now there is now 57 UKVCAS centres across the UK:

  • 6 core service centres offering free appointments – Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and Croydon.
  • 50 enhanced service centres offering charged appointments so it will be £60 for appointments between 10 am – 4 pm, £100 for weekday appointments outside of these hours, or £125 for weekend appointments.
  • 1 premium lounge for a fee of £200 (or £260 outside of10 am –4 pm hours). Choosing this service won’t improve your application processing time.

To find your closest centre use the location tool here. When you are booking the appointments the location tool will also appear providing you with the 4 closest centres. If you wish to find another location then enter the postcode of that area and it will show you the centres to that area.

For example, my closest centres in London are:

  • Croydon Core Service Point – Bedford Point, 35 Dingwall Road Croydon
  • Wimbledon Service Point – Wimbledon Library, 35 Wimbledon Hill Road London
  • Victoria Service Point – Regus, 52 Grosvenor Gardens London
  • Premium Lounge Service Point – 20 Mark Lane London

Indefinite Leave to Remain Premium Service Fees

The fee structure for the Premium Service was £800 which has now been transferred to Super Priority service (new arrangements).

You can see the latest fee list here.

Additionally, you can purchase the following services:

Enhanced service points

Basically, this is scanning and evidence checking services and cost £60 per person. I suggest doing this yourself instead of paying for the third party to do this on your behalf.

Out of hours appointments

This service was previously offered and is just appointments out of the core hours. Prices start from £100 per person on top of any other appointment-based fees.

Next day appointments

As the title states, they now offer next day appointments for £100 per person on top of any other appointment-based fees.

Same day appointments

For urgent applications you can now get a same day appointment. Prices start from £100 per person on top of any other appointment-based fees.

How Long Does a Premium Visa Appointment Take?

I would allow 30 to 60 minute for the appointment. The appointment will just the enrolment of your biometrics and a check supporting evidence has scanned correctly. If you have uploaded/scanned the documents, then it will be simply getting you biometrics done and you will be out the door.

Once that is complete the decision process will be kicked off and should take 24 hours. I would allow up to three days and if you’ve not heard back by then you can call UKVI.

Preparation for the Appointment

The preparation before the appointment is just ensuring that you have your application completed, booking confirmation, checklist and all the documentation prepared. Make sure have certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

With the new service you will be told what you need to bring to your appointment when you submit your application, this will include:

  • appointment confirmation
  • passport or travel document
  • supporting evidence (bring the originals to the appointment)

When I submitted mine there was no electronic way of uploading the information, so I brought mine all neatly separated into different files and categories to make it easier for the caseworker. It was all just placed in one folder, so it wasn’t necessary to prepare this. I would still put the documents in order as per the checklist to make it easier when someone is reviewing your case if you are bringing physical documentation.

I’ve read horror stories with the new appointment service that their paper scanners didn’t work. Upload all the docs *before* the appointment and take the original documents to the appointment. No need to take photocopies of docs or passport photos.

What to Expect During a Premium Service Appointment at the Visas and Immigration

Since my appointment, the process has changed (I have included that below), the new process will be:

  • show your appointment confirmation (you will get this as an email containing a QR code) and ID documents to confirm your appointment – even if you pre-upload the documents you still need to bring the originals to the appointment.
  • enrol your biometric information (fingerprints, photograph) and digital signature
  • submit your supporting evidence (unless you choose to self-upload this)
  • show your passport or travel document and have your identity checked
  • speak to a member of staff who will check that your biometric information has been successfully enrolled and your passport and supporting evidence has scanned correctly

Afterwards you are supposed to get an email confirming you’re biometric was enrolled but I’ve never received any confirmation stating this.

Later, depending on the service you choose you should get a letter from the Home Office on that your application was approved or denied. If approved then you will receive by post your BRP and approval letter.

Video Update on UK Visa Premium Service Appointments

Video on the UKVCAS Biometric Appointment

More UK Visa Articles

Let me know of your experience in the comments below!

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Sarah.N

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Hi,

My husband is on the 5 year route to get his ILR. He has already been in the UK for 5 years, but our savings will have been in our accounts for 6 months on 6th February. My question is can we apply from now, given that he has already been here for 5 years, will they penalise that our savings have only been in our account for 3 months now?

If we can't apply from now, when would you say it is better for him to apply? We will reach 6 months of savings on his day of visa expiry (6th february). So when can we apply without getting penalised for the shorter saving duration?

Many thanks, Sarah

Kat

Saturday 28th of November 2020

I've never heard of a savings requirement for ILR. My sister applied for Set O ILR today and that was a requirement so not sure what route you're going. There is a requirement in Set M about how much you earn, this can be done both in job and savings. It varies depending on if you do or don't have children. If he's working, I would assume he's earning more than £18,600 a year.

Andy

Monday 12th of October 2020

This is such a useful blog, thank you so much for the information here. Does anyone know if the Super Priority service is now available again? I do see the UKVCAS site mentions an update from October 2 that 'normal service' has resumed, does that mean the Super Priority service would be available for a SET(M) application now? Thank you if anyone knows that.

Kat

Wednesday 21st of October 2020

UKVI Super Priority service and UKVCAS services are totally different. UKVCAS is purely just appointments to get your biometrics and has no bearing on the decision for your application. From what I see on the website this is not open again.

Val

Saturday 22nd of August 2020

Hi Kat, Thank you for this helpful page. My question is regarding the SET(LR) application. I wonder if the answer to this question: 'Tell us the previous visa, entry clearance or leave to remain you had', should be the latest visa, or any other and previous visas should be also mentioned? Thank you.

Junko

Friday 14th of August 2020

Hi Kat,

Thanks for this page, it's super helpful!

I have an ILR vignette on my expired passport but have never considered applying for NTL as I have continued working for the same company - but now I'm redundancy at risk and started online application.

I found that 'super premium service' option is not available when you try to pay. Non-premium service option only and for that, a decision will be informed 'within 6 monhts'.

I know nothing is set in stone, but if you could share information/thoughts on below that would be great!:

- Does UKVCAS/UKVIS would allow one to have additional paid services (ex: scanning / checking services) if I needed to go to UKVCAS service points anyways (I've never been taken biometric information so might required), and avoid sending original passport via post?

- If still required to post original passports, what would be the most recommended way guaranteeing secure delivery and return of my passports (I have 3 passports in total including expired one with ILR vignette - I'd be devastated to lose them, as those are only physical proof I have!)? Can I send via recorded/tracking mail and send documents including self-addressed paid special service delivery envelope?

- When will they return passports to me - i.e. before they make a decision, or at the time when they inform the decision, or after that? With current situation everything might take longer but would like to know what's been the 'norm' previously?

- What would be the recommended course of action - 1. wait the NTL application until after redundant & get an offer (which might take time under current situation), 2. complete the application with 'normal service' ensuring posts/mails are sent/returned in secure way, or 3. hold NTL application and check status of UKVCAS / UKVIS to see if they'd re-open super premium service and apply once it's open again.

I know things are constantly changing and no one knows what will happen, but would HIGHLY appreciate if you could shed any lights / share your thoughts on this.

Many thanks, Junko

Kat

Thursday 20th of August 2020

You don't send your passport if you go through the online application process. You can read about the process here: https://katsgoneglobal.com/ukvcas-biometrics-appointment

Re the course of action, that needs to be your decision. Given the current delays and backlogs I can't see the priority service coming back any time soon.

Roy Gang

Tuesday 4th of August 2020

Hi, Kat, Your blog has always been amazing and helpful. As super priority service (ILR 10 years route) is currently suspended due to the pandemic, I wonder which option for me to take: apply now through standard way, or wait for the reopening of super priority service. My other question is that if I now submit the application, is it possible for me to change to super priority service once super priority service is restored. As I am a student visa holder, I want to get ILR as soon as possible for the sake of job offer. Please advice, many thanks!

Roy

Kat

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

I would go ahead and not wait for priority personally but it is your choice. Given everything with COVID not sure when things will go back to normal.

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