UKVI has announced that, from 22 July 2019, customers who book an appointment at one of the 6 Sopra Steria core sites and do not self-upload their documents will need to utilise the assisted scanning service at a cost of £45. If customers do not choose to self-upload documents ahead of their visit, the £45 charge must be paid before they attend their appointment. If a customer has not made a payment of £45 before attending their appointment they risk being turned away and having to rebook.
This follows reports from the Independent Newspaper that Sopra Steria have been earning millions of pounds from the Home Office’s newly outsourced visa system. It was reported that the service made more than £2m between January and April 2019, according to data obtained through a freedom of information (FOI) request.
What is UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) and Sopra Steria?
UKVI has updated its visa application process to the new UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) and it is available to those seeking leave to remain in the UK in over 30 visa routes including PBS, settlement and (from early 2019) naturalisation applications.
This new service can be accessed when an online application form is completed, and the relevant fees are paid. Sopra Steria is the official partner/ contractor of UK Visas & Immigration to process the application. Once an application is submitted, applicants will be directed to Sopra Steria’s website where appointments can then be booked at UKVCAS centres.
How to book your appointment?
Available appointments at the nearest core service point will be suggested first followed by the nearest enhanced service centres. You can find your nearest service point here: https://www.ukvcas.co.uk/locations
The Premium Lounge can be booked up to five weeks in advance and in Enhanced Service Points up to three to four weeks in advance. Appointments between 10:00 and 16:00 in core Service Points are non-chargeable.
Under the new arrangements people using the service will be able to submit biometric information including photos, fingerprints, and signatures and their supporting evidence at a single appointment. The evidence will then be copied and sent to
UKVI, meaning that people won’t have to hand over important documents, such as passports, whilst the applications are processed.
In addition, the new process will mean that individuals can choose to upload digital files in advance of their appointment, saving even more time. However, as above, from 22 July 2019, if you do not upload the documents prior to your appointment, a service charge of £45 will be charged.
For information and advice on any aspect of the business immigration routes, please contact a member of our Immigration team via firstname.lastname@example.org
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