The UK Border Agency (UKBA) on Friday announced that applicants and their dependants would have to submit visa applications online from March 5, while stating that it would no longer accept manually-filled application forms.
Thomas Greig, UKBA’s regional director, said online applications and appointments would be mandatory for all applications under the points-based system, visitor and settlement routes. Applicants would now have to complete and submit application forms by visiting https://apply.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/iapply.portal.
“We have been introducing the use of online applications gradually so that customers get used to the process. Customers already need to make online applications for visas under the points-based system. We are now extending the requirement to all categories of UK visa applications,” he added.
“Applicants will then have to print a hard copy of their application form and make an online appointment to attend their nearest visa application centre (VAC). They should bring the form printout to the VAC along with necessary supporting documentation. Applicants will have to give their biometrics (finger scans and digital photograph) at the VAC in line with the current practice,” Greig added.
“By completing and submitting a visa application online, the customer saves time when visiting the VAC as information about the application has already been received and recorded. It is also possible to assist an applicant’s relatives to complete their application online,” he said.
Applicants may continue to make an appointment separately to use the optional services on payment of additional fee, such as premium lounges, fast track and prime time, to submit applications and should refer to http://www.vfs-uk-in.com/additionalservice.html for further guidance, said Marcus Winsley, director, press and communications, British High Commission, New Delhi.
Premium lounges are available at four VACs in India ‑ New Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Chennai. There are no charges for making a routine online appointment at the VACs.
Information about the visa submission process and the location of VACs is available at www.vfs-uk-in.com, and about visa applications and supporting evidence at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.