What is the current UK visa application appointment availability like?
Many of our clients may be familiar with the frustration of trying to proceed swiftly with a visa application, e.g. for an extension of an existing visa or switching to a different visa, only to find a lack of appointment availability.
Often there is a wait time of two weeks or more for UK visa application appointments, even premium appointments for which there are additional fees of £132 are variously not available within the following two weeks.
Although an individual’s visa status is preserved after the online application has been submitted and whilst waiting for the appointment to take place, waiting for weeks for an appointment can be a frustrating and stressful situation.
What is the Portable Business Unit (Mobile Appointment)?
UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) is the company outsourced by the Home Office to provide appointment services. As well as the standard/premium appointments referred to above, they also offer a Portable Business Unit - i.e. a mobile appointment facility.
As long as there are a minimum of four separate applications being made, it is possible to book the Portable Business Unit to attend a location of your choice in order to conduct the appointment. The UKVCAS staff will bring all the necessary equipment to take photos, fingerprints, and scan documents, enabling the appointment process to be carried out from anywhere. This appointment can normally be arranged within approximately one week and operates during normal office hours.
For 4 to 8 people, a fee of £2,450 (in total) plus VAT is charged for this service. For 9 to 18 people, the fee is £4,750 (in total) plus VAT.
What is the fastest UK visa application appointment service?
Alternatively, UKVCAS also offers a VIP service for UK visa application appointments. This is similar to the Portable Business Unit, in that their staff will come to a location of your choice to carry out the appointment. However, this can be arranged at any time on any day (not limited to weekdays or office hours) and can often be arranged to take place within the next 1 to 2 days. There is also no minimum number of people required to use this service.
The fees for the VIP service are £2,925 for the main applicant and £650 per dependant, plus VAT.
Are there other costs involved?
Note that the above fees are specifically the UKVCAS fees, and are payable in addition to the other costs such as the Home Office application fees, priority/super priority fees, Immigration Health Surcharge, etc.
Adding further fees to a process that already incurs significant costs may not be desirable in every case, but for cases where there are truly urgent travel requirements or where the applicant has a very limited time schedule for attending an appointment, these additional options may be very welcome.
How 3CS can help
3CS has a dedicated point of contact at UKVCAS and is happy to arrange these services for clients where requested. For further help and advice on visa applications or any other business immigration matter please get in touch with your usual 3CS contact.