Changes to UK Visas & Immigration Online Application Service
The UKVI Online Application Service is improving how applicants in the UK and abroad can apply to enter or remain in the UK. The Service is accessed via GOV.UK and offers a more intuitive online application form and payment process. The Service is being delivered to both in-country and out-of-country customers. Over 160,000 applications have been submitted through the UKVI Online Application Service and customer feedback has been extremely positive.
In the next few weeks:
- The Online Application Service will be extended to additional customer groups: Premium Service will be available to all Tier 2 customers and their Dependants, and to Tier 1, 2 and 5 Dependant Joiners applying individually. They will be able to book their premium service appointment as part of their online application process.
- This means that all service levels (Standard, Priority Postal and Premium) for all Tier 2 applicants applying separately or as a family group will be available on the Online Application Service.
- The Service will also become available to Tier 1, 2 and 5 dependant joiners applying together as a group.
Benefits for Applicants
There are a number of advantages to using the Online Service:
- The application form is shorter, asking only questions pertinent to each application.
- The questions are more logically ordered to accelerate the application process.
- There is no need to set up an account on the Service, only an email address and password are required to login. A unique hyperlink will be sent for each application.
- The same email address can be used to create and submit applications on behalf of multiple customers and to receive notification of multiple payments.
- The Service redirects to, and shares information with, the IHS portal, thus minimising the need for double keying. Customers using the Online Application Service no longer need to obtain an IHS reference separately from the IHS portal.
- A partially completed PDF of the application form can be downloaded at any point in the application process, for example if the information needs to be checked with the applicant.
- The Online Service can be accessed on all computers, mobile and tablet devices.
The Online Service offers multiple benefits for customers applying as, or on behalf of, a family group:
- It is possible to add/remove dependants prior to payment.
- It is not necessary to complete all information for one applicant before starting to complete the information for another applicant in the group.
- The contact details for each applicant are pre-populated with the first applicant’s contact details, but can be edited.
- A single payment can be made for a group and a single payment reference number will be generated.
- A single declaration can be made for all applicants in a group.
- The Service automatically calculates the total maintenance requirement for the group.
- The Service generates a single PDF containing all applications for the group and a single checklist.
Appointment booking on the Online Application Service
- Applicants must book and pay for their Premium Service appointment as part of their online application (unless they have a Premium Sponsor, who will book their appointment offline, as now). They will no longer need to use iApply or a paper form.
- An appointment can be made from two to 45 days from the date of application. With the Online Application Service, the date of application is the date the application was submitted online. This date is included on the PDF form, the checklist and the caseworker email.
- If an applicant can no longer attend their appointment, they can re-arrange their appointment within that 45 day window by logging back into their online application. They will receive an email with their new appointment details and will be able to download an updated checklist.
- An applicant can withdraw their application by following the instructions on GOV.UK. Their application and booking fee will not be refunded.
- If an applicant does not attend an appointment within 45 days of submitting their application online, their application will become invalid. They will receive a refund of their application fee but not of their appointment booking fee.
- The date of application is the date the form is submitted online. This date will be displayed in the PDF application form.
- The Online Application Service is not yet available for Tier 1 and Tier 5 Main Applicants or family groups.
- For Premium Service customers and for Tier 1, 2 and 5 Dependant Joiners the Online Application Service is offered in parallel with existing application routes (i.e. the paper application form and iApply), until these are withdrawn later in the year. However, the Online Application Service offers many benefits over the other routes.
For further information, please contact one of our London Immigration Lawyers on +44(0)20 3318 5794 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.