The past few years have shown an increased number of Indian nationals seeking visas for the UK. As a result, the UK Immigration Minister is seeking to improve services and expedite processing times. The changes include an expansion of the Super Priority and Priority Services to include more applicants, the roll out of a simplified online application, and the opening of additional Visa Application Centers (VACs).
Historically, the Super Priority and Priority Services were only offered to applicants who had successfully traveled to the UK and other specified countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or a Schengen country) within the past five years. However, now first time applicants are able to file visa applications under this option.
Super Priority Service provides same day application processing and is available for applicants in India filing for:
-Visitor visas – now including first-time travelers;
-Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (ICT), Tier 5 (Sportspeople and Entertainers), and dependent visas (provided the primary applicant has a valid visa); and
-6 month or 2 year multiple entry visas (except student visas).
-Super Priority Service is available at certain VACs throughout India for an additional fee of GBP £600 on top of the standard visa application fees.
Priority Service provides 3-5 day application processing and is available for applicants in India filing for:
-Work visas (except for Tier 1 visas and their dependents); and
-Priority Service is available for an additional fee of GBP £120 on top of the standard visa application fees.
In addition, Settlement Priority visa service is now available to applicants filing for UK settlement visas (permanent residence). Applications will be processed ahead of other similar applications. The expected processing time for visas filed through the Settlement Priority service is 12 weeks. The cost is GBP £360 per person along with regular visa application fees.
The UK authorities have also rolled out a simplified online visa application form for Indian applicants. This new form is shorter in length, available on mobile devices, and the new online platform also automatically completes a Schengen Visa application form if requested by the user.
Finally, to handle the recent increases in UK visa applications from India, the UK authorities have opened an additional VAC in Hyderabad (jointly run with Ireland) and another VAC is expected to open in Lucknow.
Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.