UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) has progressed to the next stage of the gradual reopening of the UK immigration system. The booking system has been opened up to more customers, additional Service Points have been reopened, and a UKVCAS Identity Verification App has been created, enabling previously-recorded biometrics to be submitted directly to UKVI.
Online booking system
The online booking system continues to be opened up to additional customers in date order. Appointments are now available to customers whose applications were received by UKVCAS up to 31 July 2020.
If you receive an email from UKVCAS asking you to book an appointment at a Service Point, it is vital that you do so as soon as possible. Receiving this email means you are not permitted to reuse previously-submitted biometric information.
The online booking system now displays all dates up to 13 September 2020. New dates are not released every night- UKVCAS has stated that it will inform customers of new dates via website status updates.
Reopening of UKVCAS service points
UKVCAS has also provided an update regarding the gradual reopening of Service Points. Two additional service points have now opened in key city destinations. These are:
- Birmingham – Her Majesty’s Passport Office
- London – Her Majesty’s Passport Office
It should also be noted that service points in libraries have started to reopen. There are currently 10 libraries offering UKVCAS appointments. These are:
- Edmonton Green
How to find the right appointment
Some UKVCAS customers have struggled to find an appointment at a time and date that suits them. To avoid this, all are advised to scroll down the full list of Service Points, as this displays the two nearest Core sites first, then the Premium Lounge sites, and finally the Enhanced Points.
Browsing the full list should make it easier to find a cheaper appointment that is closer to your selected location.
Uploading documents to the UKVCAS website
If you upload documents to the UKVCAS website, this can be done prior to submitting your biometric information/completing your identity check. You will only need to upload your documents once. This can be done at a Service Point, via the UKVCAS website or via the UKVCAS Identity Verification app.
The UKVCAS Identity Verification app
As was touched upon in the previous update, UKVI is changing the way it processes applications in response to COVID-19. This involves some customers reusing biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) that have been recorded in a previous application as part of the process to verify identity, consider an application and/or produce a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
To allow for the reuse of biometrics, UKVI and UKVCAS have worked together to develop a new way of submitting facial images using a UKVCAS Identity Verification app.
The app allows customers to submit information directly to UKVI without having to book or attend a face-to-face Service Point appointment. This new way of submitting information involves taking a photo of yourself and uploading the photo alongside supporting information via your phone.
Rollout of the new app will take place in phases, beginning in August. UKVI will confirm which customers are eligible to use the app- as mentioned, it is those who have recorded biometrics as part of a previous application.
With this in mind, customers do not have a choice of using the app or booking a face-to-face appointment. Those who receive an email asking them to book an appointment are not able to submit information through the app, and must book a Service Point appointment immediately. Any person eligible to use the app will receive an email confirming this.
The UKVCAS Identity Verification app enables customers to submit biometrics directly to UKVI.
The reopening of Service Points has moved to the next stage. Two have recently reopened (3 August) in London and Birmingham, and there are 10 now open in libraries, such as the Manchester Central Library pictured above. [Image: White Rose Visas]
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