UK Visas and Immigration news

Keep up to date with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) changes and other immigration updates.

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January to March 2019

Travelling while you're awaiting a decision on your extension/switch application

The Home Office has confirmed that, even though in many cases you can now keep your passport rather than having to send it to UK Visas and Immigration, you shouldn't travel outside the Common Travel Area (the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) until you receive your new BRP. 

If you do, UKVI will consider your application as withdrawn and your leave to remain will expire.

You can travel if you're just having a stamp in an expired passport transferred to a BRP, but UKVI advise taking any documentary evidence you have with you. 

Digital application service within the UK (UKVCAS)

The option to go to a Post Office to submit your biometric data has been closed, so everyone applying within the UK will need to attend a UKVCAS Centre appointment.  The nearest centres to Leeds are in Burnholme (York), Wakefield and Manchester. 

When you complete a visa application, you'll automatically be redirected at the end to the UKVCAS website.

Applying for reimbursement of a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), Tier 2 (General) or Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee

Instructions for how to reclaim the cost of your application have been updated. If you're apply for your visa within the UK, you should select the "Visa - Tax and NI" option; if you submit your visa application from overseas, you should pick "Visa - No tax/NI".

20 December 2018 - Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) increase

The IHS (also known as the NHS surcharge) increase will take effect on 8 January 2019, as follows:

  • Students/Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa holders: increase from £150 per person per year of the visa to £300 per person per year of the visa
  • All other visa and immigration applications: increase from £200 per person per year of the visa to £400 per person per year of the visa

This will be payable by all applicants coming to the UK or extending their leave to remain for more than six months and any dependants will normally pay the same amount. You’ll pay half of the yearly amount if your application includes part of a year that is less than 6 months, and you’ll pay for a whole year if your application includes part of a year that is more than 6 months.

19 December 2018 - UK immigration system from 1 January 2021

The UK Government has issued a White Paper on the future of the immigration system in the UK. The new system will apply to all overseas nationals (including EU citizens except Ireland) entering the UK after 31 December 2020, and will be introduced in a phased process before the the end of this implementation period.

Proposed changes include expansion of the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa route, removal of the cap on the number of overseas nationals coming to the UK for work, removal of the requirement to meet the Resident Labour Market Test for Tier 2 (General), lowering of the role skill level for sponsorship from RQF6 (PhD/Masters/Degree) to RQF3 (A Level) and the ability of nationals of some "low risk" countries to apply for work visas within the UK.

Further details, as well as the full document and an executive summary, are available here

17 December 2018 - UKVCAS update

UKVCAS centres are now up and running and, if you're applying for a visa extension or to switch to another visa category, you'll be given the choice at the end of your application whether you want to attend a Post Office to give your biometric details, or whether you'd like to take advantage of the services offered at a UKVCAS centre. Limited information about this new service is available on the UKVCAS website, and you can download a Q&A document at the bottom of this page.

Note: UKVI Premium Service centres are now closed. Applicants who'd planned to apply at a Premium Service centre should choose to use the UKVCAS service instead. 

5 November 2018 - New process for visa applications made within the UK

If you're applying to extend your existing visa, or switch to a new immigration route, you may be offered an opportunity to use UKVI's new service which is run by their commercial partner, Sopra Steria. There'll be UK Visas and Citizenship Application Services (UKVACS) centres opening around the UK over the next couple of months where you'll be able to make an appointment to register your biometric information and submit supporting documents, in most cases electronically, so you won't need to send them to UKVI.

There are 6 centres offering free 'core' appointments (the nearest to Leeds will be in Manchester) and a further 50 'enhanced service' centres which will charge for appointments. The closest of these will be in Burnholme (York), Wakefield and Hull.

In addition to standard services, you'll also be able to pay for additional "added value services". Details of these services, and the schedule of centre openings, is here

Two important points to note:

  1. Use of this service is voluntary; if you prefer, you can use the Post Office for your biometrics, and submit your supporting information by post. 
  2. The new Visa Centre staff are NOT authorised immigration advisers and therefore won't be able to provide advice on applications and immigration requirements. 

Visit the immigration news archive page for older news. 

Page last updated: 21 December 2018