November 2018 is the month when the Home Office will start to radically change how UK visa applications are submitted within the UK.
Up to now applicants could complete a paper form (or an online form in some categories) and either post the entire application pack to the Home Office or attend a same day appointment at a Home Office Premium Service Centre.
The new process will mean that nearly all applications will move to an online form only. This will allow applicants to complete the online form and then upload securely their supporting documents. This is a welcome development – allowing copies of documents to be provided online.
Then the applicant can either attend a biometric enrolment appointment for free and have their passport checked. Or there will be the option to attend a Premium Service Point to have the application processed quickly. This will involve an additional fee.
However, the lack of information before the new system is launched is worrying. There has been no advance notice of which applications will move to this online system at the time of launch or if it will be a phased introduction.
The fees for the Premium Service have not been published either.
Let’s hope for a smooth introduction to this radical application change.