UKVCAS / Sopra Steria Guidance [STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR 2021]

FREE UK Partner Visa Video Series

CLICK HERE to watch our free video series.

In this free video series, we discuss:

  • The financial requirement
  • The online application form
  • Document translations
  • The adequate accommodation requirement
  • The English language requirement
  • Dependent children requirement
  • The unmarried partner visa requirement
  • Other partner visa requirements

Who does this guide apply to?

This guide applies to those who are submitting an application from inside the UK.

Therefore, if you are applying for one of the following types of visas, read on!

  • FLR(M) visa applications (which includes spouse visa extensions);
  • Other further leave to remain applications;
  • Applications to extend UK visas;
  • Applications to switch between one type of UK visa into another category from inside the UK;
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain/Permanent Residency; and
  • British citizenship.

Note: if you are looking to submit a spouse visa application from outside the UK, check out this spouse visa UK 2021 guidance here.

If you are unsure if you are able to submit an application from inside the UK, check out our FLR(M) visa & Spouse visa extension 2021 Guidance here.

uk spouse visa full legal representation

First of all, lets clarify a few things that you are probably wondering about:

What/who is UKVCAS?

UKVCAS stands for ‘UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services’.

It is the system that the Home Office uses to process immigration applications that are made from inside the UK.

Who are Sopra Steria?

Sopra Steria is a profit-making French company.

They help the Home Office process applications that are made from inside the UK.

Where can I find the UKVCAS/Sopra Steria website?

You can find the link to the UKVCAS/Sopra Steria website here.

UKVCAS website

As promised, here are the 8 steps that you can follow to process your own visa application from inside the UK.

step 1Learn the relevant Immigration Rules

If you are going to submit your application yourself, this is without a doubt the most important step.

This is because the Immigration Rules are generally written in a way that, if you do not meet one requirement (even if it is seemingly small), the starting position of the Home Office caseworker is to refuse your application.

I hate to be a Debbie-downer, but it is important that you fully appreciate that a refused application will result in:

  • You losing out on the Home Office fees;
  • You having to go through the ordeal of another application (if you decide to re-apply); and
  • Any UK visa applications that you submit after the refusal likely facing even greater scrutiny.

Are you applying as a partner to a British or settled person?

If you are wanting to apply for a FLR(M) visa (which, in other words is a spouse visa that is made when the applicant is already inside the UK, check out our FLR M visa 2021 guidance here).

It is usually a financial requirement of some sort that causes applicants (in particular partners) the most difficulties.

For information about the financial requirements as they relate to spouse visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), we also have plenty of free articles discuss this, including:

step 2

Gather the supporting documents

After spending many hours reading the requirements as they apply to your application, the next step is to ensure that:

  • You have gathered all of the documents that are required for your application;
  • You have gathered documents that are not strictly required but are still helpful to include; and
  • The documents that you have gathered comply with the many document-specific Immigration Rules.

This can also be one of the more time-consuming aspects of your application, so please bear this in mind!

“Why should I gather the documents before I submit the online application?”

You should gather the documents before you submit the online application because in UK immigration law, the documents that you submit have to show that your application meets the Immigration Rules at the ‘date of application’.

We discuss the date of application in part 1 of our free video series.

Generally speaking, the date of application for online applications (which is now close to all applications) is the date that you pay the Home Office fees on the online application website.


Ahmed unfortunately left his FLR(M) preparations until the last minute.

Since the UK NARIC certificate that he is relying on was not issued before the date that he paid the Home Office fees on the FLR(M) online application website, the Home Office caseworker may refuse the application just because of this.

This is the case even if he submits the UK NARIC certificate along with the other supporting documents when he attends the local UKVCAS centre.

This is ludicrous, I know. But unfortunately that is how the Immigration Rules are worded.

step 3

Submit the online application

Once you have:

  • got the supporting documentation; and
  • ensured that all of your supporting documentation satisfies the Immigration Rules…

… the next step will be to submit the online application.

“Where can I find the correct online application?”

FLR(M) visa (otherwise known as a spouse visa) Follow the instructions in our spouse visa UK application 2021 article to ensure that you use the correct application.
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – 5 years as a married, civil or unmarried partner SET (M) form here
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – 10 years long residence SET (LR) form here
Indefinite Leave to Remain – (ILR) – refugee or someone who has been granted humanitarian protection Set (P) form here
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – child of settled parents SET (F) form here
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – 5 years in one of the following categories:

– Bereaved partner

– Business-person, innovator or investor

– Employment not requiring a work permit

-PBS dependant

-Tier 1 migrant

-Tier 2 migrant

– UK Ancestry visa

Set (O) form here
Investor visa (Tier 1) Link here
Innovator visa Link here
Start up visa Link here
General student visa (Tier 4) Link here


If you are looking to apply for an out-of-country spouse visa, check out our spouse visa UK 2021 Guidance here – these applications are not handled by Sopra Steria/UKVCAS but rather VFS or TLS (depending on the country in which the application is being submitted from).

“Can I start completing the online application but then submit it at a later date?

This is not a problem and is generally a good idea.

After all, it is good to be prepared and you do not want to be desperately trying to figure out the answer to an online application 7 minutes before your current visa expires!


“So when is the correct time to submit the online application?”

This depends on:

  • The visa that the applicant currently has; and
  • The visa that is being applied for

#1 First of all, for applications that are made from inside the UK, you want to submit the application before the expiry of your current visa.

Submitting the application after the expiry date of your current visa (as stated on the BRP or vignette) will likely cause you much grief.

Although there are some exceptions, generally speaking, those who apply in the UK after the expiry of their current visa will technically become an ‘overstayer’ which can severely detriment UK visa applications.

#2 Second of all, you do not want to submit an application too early.

This is particularly relevant to applicants who are either:

  • currently on a visa that leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain; or
  • applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

This is because of the 5/10 year ‘qualifying period’ requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain – applying too early will likely mean that you will be just short of the required 5 or 10 years and will have to submit an extra, unnecessary visa.

“I am applying for a different type of visa that I currently have. So I do not have to worry about submitting an application too early?”

Those who are ‘switching’ into a different visa category do not generally have to worry about applying too early because this resets the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

In other words, the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain generally requires 5 or 10 years of continually being on the same type of visa.


Peter is in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) work visa.

He works for a corporate bank in London who sponsors him.

Peter recently married Jenny, a British national who is a multi-millionaire.

Since Peter is sick of his corporate job, he wants to switch into the partner visa category so that he can quit work and instead be a house-husband.

Peter can apply for a FLR(M) visa (a spouse visa from inside the UK) at any time – he does not have to worry about applying too early.

This is because, although he has accrued 2 of the 5 years required for Indefinite Leave to Remain, this will reset once he is granted the FLR(M) visa.

step 4

Register an account on the Sopra Steria/UKVCAS website

Once you have paid the Home Office fees and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) (if applicable), you will then be redirected to the UKVCAS website as part of the online application process.

It is on this website that you will book the appointment, as well as pay for any additional services (such as the document scanning service).

In order to register, you will need the UAN, which stands for ‘Unique Application Number’.

At this point, you will already have been issued a UAN, as it will have automatically be generated when the online application is submitted.

It is generally visible on:

  • the top left-hand corner of your online application form PDF (available on the online application website); and
  • the first page of the Access UK checklist.

“I have paid the Home Offices fees on the online application but I have not received the information I need to create an account.”

Since these are normally automatically emailed to the email address that you have provided in the online application form, check your Junk or Spam email folders.

If, after checking these, you have not received such an email, you can request a new access code on the account creation page of the UKVCAS website (this sometimes takes up to 1 working day or so).

If you have tried the above but, after several working hours, you have not received the access code after requesting it on the account creation page, you can send an email to the UKVCAS general enquiries website form here.

step 5

Learn more about the Sopra Steria/UKVCAS process

#1 What is the UKVCAS website used for?

The UKVCAS website is where you will:

  • book your appointment at a local UKVCAS centre in the UK;
  • Upload your documentation (if you choose this method – this is discussed in more detail below); and
  • Pay for any additional services (such as document scanning – this is discussed in more detail below).

#2 What are the different type of centres/service points?

There are three different types of centres/service points.

You will be able to book an appointment either:

  • A core service point; or
  • An enhanced service point; or
  • A premium lounge (which supposedly ‘offers a personalised customer experience’).

Core service points

“What is a UKVCAS core service point”?

A UKVCAS core service point is essentially a UK centre where appointments take place.

It offers both free and out-of-hours appointments (which will cost extra).


“Where are the core service points?”

There are 6 core service locations, being:

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Belfast
  • Croydon
  • Cardiff
  • Glasgow

These 6 core service points tend to be hosted in larger buildings and can be much more busy than the enhanced service points that are scattered across the UK.

Enhanced service points

“What is a UKVCAS enhanced service point?”

A UKVCAS enhanced service point is essentially a UK centre where appointments take place.

By default, an enhanced service point will provide you with a few additional services, including document scanning and document checking services.


“How much does an enhanced service point appointment cost?”

Prices here tend to start from £60 per applicant.


“What is the document checking service here?”

The document checking service here is with regards to the quality of the uploads or scanned documents.

Please do not hope to rely on UKVCAS staff members from identifying non-compliance with the Immigration Rules, as this will remain your responsibility.

Premium lounges

“What is this premium lounge service?”

The premium lounge service is for those who are happy to pay extra in return for supposedly ‘greater comfort’.

A good analogy here are airport lounges.

However, as you read this, do not think of airport lounges at the larger airports like Heathrow, but airport lounges at smaller, lesser used airports.


“How much does the premium lounge service cost?”

This will cost you a minimum of £200 per applicant.


“Where are the premium lounges located?”

There are premium lounges in London, Birmingham and Manchester.


“What are the benefits of booking an appointment at the premium lounge?”

Premium lounges boast of having:

  • “Comfortable surroundings”
  • “Spacious seating areas”
  • “Scanning and printing”
  • “Hi-speed WiFi”
  • “Hot and cold beverages”
  • “Free newspapers”
  • “Pastries, snacks and fruit”

As you are probably thinking, the above sounds like little-value nonsense gibberish.

With this being said, we have heard that some applicants have particularly appreciated the “individual application suite” where their biometric information are taken & documents scanned.


“What are the standard premium lounge service hours?”

The standard premium lounge service hours are 10am-4pm Monday-Friday.


“How much would a standard premium lounge appointment cost?”

Prices start at a minimum of £200 per applicant.


“What are the out-of-hours premium lounge service hours?”

The out-of-hours premium lounge service hours are before 10am and after 4pm on weekdays (& all day at weekends).


“How much would a standard premium lounge appointment cost?”

Prices start at a price of £260 per applicant.

#3 Where are the UKVCAS Service points?

If you are not yet at this stage but are reading ahead (props to you!), you can find the list of locations here.

If you are actually at the appointment booking stage, you will be provided with a list of service points closest to you after you input your post code.

After selecting the particular centre, you will then see the availability of the various types of appointments.

“Can I just turn up to the service point and expect them to deal with my application?”

Unfortunately, no – you will need to book an appointment before you attend the visa centre.

The UKVCAS in-country process should not be confused with the UK walk-in-service that are generally available for out-of-country applications that are processed by VFS.

#4 What are the different type of appointments?

The following are the different type of appointments that you can choose from:

#1 Free of charge appointments

#2 Next day appointments

If you would like to get this whole visa thing out of the way and done with as quickly as possible, as the name suggests, next day appointments will allow you book your appointment much earlier.

“How much do next day UKVCAS appointments cost?”

The price can vary but will start at a minimum of £100 per applicant that must be paid in addition to the other appointment-based fees.

#3 Same day appointments

Same day appointments will allow you to book appointments on the (…you guessed it) same day.

“How much do same day UKVCAS appointments cost?”

The price can vary but will start at a minimum of £100 per applicant that must be paid in addition to the other appointment-based fees.

#4 Out of hours appointments

If you would like to book an appointment outside the standard hours (at either the core or enhanced service points), you may be able to do this if there are available out of hour appointments.

“How much do out-of-hours UKVCAS appointments cost?”

This will cost you at the very minimum of £100 per applicant that must be paid in addition to the other appointment based fees.


“I want to spend as little time as possible at the visa centre.”

Being the profit-making company that they are, Sopra Steria are happy to take your money to speed things up for you.

These visa related fees sure do add up… right?!

Once you have decided whether you want to a free of charge appointment, next day, same day or out-of-hours appointment, you may be provided with the option of having an ‘express appointment’, depending on the particular service point and particular availability.


“How much do UKVCAS express appointments cost?”

UKVCAS express appointments will cost an additional £75 per applicant (to be paid in addition to the many other additional appointment fees).


“What are the benefits of paying extra for the UKVCAS express appointment?”

The goal will be to complete your appointment within 30 minutes – the countdown starting from when you arrive at the visa centre.

In order to accomplish this, you will have one dedicated staff member that will deal with your application during your appointment.


#5 How do I submit the supporting documents?

This is a question that you have probably wondered about, because the Home Office do not really make this clear.

There are two main document submitting procedures.

Out of the two options, we generally recommend option 2 – using the document scanning service at the UKVCAS centre.

OPTION 1 – Uploading the documents

If you choose to upload your documents rather than to go with the document scanning service (discussed below), then you can do this the UKVCAS website.

If you have had the misfortune of uploading of the documents on the VFS or TLS website (my condolences), you will be pleased to know that this website is not as bad as either of those two websites.

Documents can be uploaded by:

  • Visiting the UKVCAS website here.
  • Logging into your account (the log in link is at the top right of the homepage here).
  • Choose ‘Upload documents’.

Note: If you book an appointment at a core service point  and choose not to purchase the document scanning service, you will have to upload your documents before you attend the appointment.

“How should I prepare and format the documents in order to upload them on the website?”

There are several rules that should be followed regarding this, which is one of the reasons why most partners will prefer method 2 – the document scanning service (which is discussed below).

  • The documents should either be in PNG, JPG or PDF format (PDF format is preferred);
  • The files that you upload should not be password protected in any way;
  • The files should have simple file names (for example, “p60.pdf”); and
  • The files cannot have a file size that exceeds 6 megabytes (MB) (to help with this, the resolution should be between 150 dpi (dots per inch) and 300 dpi and it is fine for the copies to be in black and white, not colour).

Once a document has been uploaded, it will be visible in the document upload dashboard.

On the document dashboard, you should also be able to see the description that you provide as well as the filename.

“I cannot look at the documents that I have uploaded?!”

You will only be able to see how the digital files look once (when you first upload them).

This is one of the reasons why we generally recommend the document scanning service as opposed to uploading the documents.

If you do choose to upload the documents, it is strongly advised that you check how it looks on your PC before you upload it.

“Can I delete a file that I accidentally uploaded?”

Yes, you can do this by clicking the ‘Remove’ link which will delete it from the online application.

“The uploading part of the website is playing up and not working as intended?!”

If the website is having technical difficulties and you really insist on uploading your documents, you can either:

  • Seek support from the UKVCAS support team on the phone number provided in your confirmation email; or
  • Send an email to UKVCAS using the contact form here.

METHOD 2 – UKVCAS/Sopra Steria Document scanning service

We will now talk about our preferred way of submitting documents at the UKVCAS centre.

“What is the UKVCAS/Sopra Steria Document scanning service?”

This service involves:

  • You bringing the supporting documents with you to the appointment at the UKVCAS centre, along with the Access UK checklist that was automatically generated on the online application website (you should also remove any staples or paperclips prior to attending the UKVCAS centre);
  • The documents being scanned by UKVCAS staff member (all of the documents will be scanned in front of you); and
  • Your documents being returned to you once the scanning has been completed.

If you bring original documents with you to the appointment, these will not leave your sight and the staff member will return these to you once these have been scanned.

“How much does the UKVCAS document scanning service cost?”

This is the recommended option that is worth the additional cost of £49.99. 

This is paid for on the UKVCAS/Sopra Steria website.

“Can I purchase the document scanning service at my UKVCAS appointment?”

If you are attending one of the ‘core service points’ then you will have to buy the document scanning service before you attend the appointment.

As we will discuss below, the following locations have ‘core service points’ in the UK:

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Belfast
  • Croydon
  • Cardiff
  • Glasgow

On the other hand, if your appointment is at either an enhanced service point or a Premium lounge, the document scanning service will be included as part of the appointment fee.

FLR M visa DIY Application Pack

step 6

Book the UKVCAS/Sopra Steria appointment

“Do I have to book the appointment online?”

Whilst most applicants book their appointment online, it is open for the majority of applicants to book an appointment by calling the costly (£2.50 per minute) UKVCAS Premium Support Line on 0900 165 6600.

With this being said, if you are applying through what is known as the ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ and want to book an appointment via the phone, guidance will be issued to you regarding this in the biometric enrolment letter that will be sent.


“How far in advance can I book an appointment?”

If you book an appointment at a core UKVCAS service point, appointments are generally available 5 weeks in advance.

If your appointment is at a premium lounge, appointments are generally available 5 weeks in advance.

If your appointment is at an enhanced service point, appointments are generally available 3-4 weeks in advance.

“Do I have to book the appointment straight away after paying the Home Office fee for the application?”

Not necessarily.

If you prefer not to book your appointment straight after submitting the online application, this is fine.

You will be able to finish the appointment booking process by logging into your UKVCAS account on the UKVCAS website (link here).

log in UKVCAS


“There are no available appointments that suit me. What shall I do?”

If, after checking the appointment availability at your preferred service point, you find that there are no suitable appointments, you can either:

  • Look at the availability of appointments at other service points; or
  • Look at the availability of appointments for the same service point at another time (e.g. the day after).

“I do not want to spend any more money on this visa. How can I book a free appointment?”

It is only the core service points that provide free of charge appointments.

To remind you, the following are the six core service points:

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Belfast
  • Croydon
  • Cardiff
  • Glasgow

These free appointments are generally available between the hours of 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

It is worth noting that these free appointments are rather hard to come by.

If there are no free appointments at your chosen core service point, you can try checking back later (although please note that these free appointments are rather difficult to come by).


“The additional UKVCAS appointment cost is different to the price listed here”

The price changes depending on the supply and demand of appointments at that particular time.

In addition to this, since it is clear that the UKVCAS website is continually being developed (it is a relatively new system), smaller things such as the price of the appointments are expected to change every now and then.

Whilst we do our best to keep our free articles up-to-date, since our priority is always to our paying clients and continually developing our DIY Application Pack service, there may be a few weeks delay for these articles to reflect the new changes.

“I want to pay to reduce the Home Office processing time. Can I?”

If you would like to take advantage of either the priority or super priority services, this may be possible depending on the visa that you are applying for.

If you are happy to pay an additional £500, the priority service will aim to give you a decision within 5 working days of you having attended the UKVCAS appointment.

If you are happy to pay an additional £800, they will aim to process the application and give you a decision within the next working day of you having attended the UKVCAS appointment (if your appointment is on a weekday) or 2 working days (if your appointment is at the weekend).

Working days here are Monday to Friday and does not include bank holidays.

One thing to note is that if your application is either incomplete, includes terrible supporting documentation is submitted or if your case is complicated, the above stated priority and super priority processing times will be longer than this.

“It is only showing the super-priority service, not the priority service”

Priority service appointments can sometimes be very limited.

You will have to keep checking the website as priority service appointments do turn up every now and again.

“I’ve already booked the appointment at the visa centre but I want to add an additional service. Is this possible?”


You will be able to log into your UKVCAS account prior to your appointment and purchase the additional services via that website.


“I’ve booked an appointment on the UKVCAS website but I have not received an email confirmation?”

First, check whether it has gone to your spam or junk email folder.

If it is not there, it will be best to contact the UKVCAS using their website form here.

step 7

Attend the UKVCAS centre

At this point, you will be likely somewhat exhausted at the preparation stage whilst also being anxious about what will happen at the UKVCAS centre.

With this being said, most applicants are pleasantly relieved at their UKVCAS centre experience and generally expect a much more stressful & daunting experience.

I think this is largely down to not knowing what to expect, so read on and hopefully we will get you a better idea as to what will happen!

Please note

If you choose to upload your documents rather than use the document scanning service, this must be done before you attend your appointment.

#1 – On the day (before arriving)

No-one likes last minute stress – make sure that you arrive at the service point at least 10-15 minutes before your booked appointment (which we will talk about this process below).

Therefore, if you are attending the visa centre with a partner who is known to take a while to get ready, you may decide to tell them that it is absolutely required to attend the visa centre 30 minutes beforehand.

“Does my sponsor need to attend the appointment with me?”

Strictly speaking, if your application has a sponsor (i.e. those who are applying for a FLR(M) visa or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) via the partner route, the sponsor does not need to attend.

However, they can generally do so.

“What shall I bring with me to the appointment?”

#1 Your QR code

This is something that you should absolutely not forget.

You will be able to find this in the appointment confirmation email that will have been sent to you.

If you are applying with dependant children, they will have a separate QR code.

#2 The applicant’s passport

Again, it goes without saying that you will not have an enjoyable experience if you forget your passport!

With this being said, if you have lost your passport or if it is stolen, all is not lost because there are other acceptable forms of identification, including:

  • UK photographic driving licences (it’s fine if it is a provisional licence);
  • National ID card (if you are from a country that issues them);
  • Old, expired passports (as long as they are not cancelled);
  • Old, expired Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) (as long as they are not cancelled);
  • Immigration Status documents that have been issued to you by the Home Office; and
  • A full, birth certificate.

If you would like to speak with a UKVCAS staff member to check that your alternative ID document is fine, you can call the UKVCAS Support Line on 0900 165 6600. Like other Home Office related phonelines, these are relatively costly at £2.50 a minute.

“What if I have neither my passport or any other acceptable forms of Identification?”

In this unfortunate case, you should cancel and rebook the appointment for when you have such ID (as it will be required).

“My passport is not lost – the Home Office have it. What should I do?”

In this case, providing an alternative form of identification (as discussed above) should be fine.

If you do not bring an alternative form of identification, you will not be allowed to attend your appointment.

#3 Supporting documentation

If you choose to take advantage of the document scanning service (which we will discuss below), you will need to bring your supporting documents to be scanned.

“I am reading this article on my way to the UKVCAS centre all stressed because I am late! What should I do?”

You should contact UKVCAS as soon as possible.

Look at the confirmation email that you will have received and phone the number provided there.

Arriving to your appointment late will have two possible outcomes:

  • Your appointment may be delayed; or
  • Your appointment may be cancelled.

“I am applying with a dependant (i.e. children or a dependant spouse). Shall they also attend the centre with me?”

It is very important that dependants also attend otherwise they will not be able to consent to the application being submitted to UKVI.

Those who are applying with dependants should be given an appointment together at the same time.

If the dependants do not attend, you may have to cancel your appointment and rebook for a time where all of the dependants can attend.

Note: In terms of UK immigration law, a dependant is not the same thing as a sponsor.

To use the example of a FLR(M) application, or an Indefinite Leave to Remain application on the basis of being in a relationship with a British or settled spouse:

  • The British partner (or settled person) will not be classed as a dependant;
  • A child of the applicant who is applying for a visa will be considered a dependant and will need to attend the centre;
  • A child who is not applying for a visa (e.g. because they are already British), will not need to attend the centre.

#2 Attending the visa centre

Once you arrive at the visa centre (hopefully in time!), you will need to provide a member of staff with:

  • Your passport; and
  • A printed version of the appointment confirmation email (with the QR code).

“So what happens at the UKVCAS centre?

This will depend on a few factors such as:

  • The type of application you are submitting;
  • The additional services that you have purchased;
  • Your personal circumstances

… but in summary, the following will take place:

#1 The applicant will confirm their identity

#2 The applicant will then provide their biometric information

The majority of UKVCAS centres have self-service kiosks that will take the applicant’s biometric information.

The recording of ‘biometric information’ here basically involves:

  • The self-service kiosk taking a photograph of your face;
  • The self-service kiosk scanning your fingerprints;
  • The self-service kiosk scanning your passport; and
  • The self-service kiosk capturing a digital signature.

Not all types of applicants will have to provide their biometric information.

Those who are applying for a FLR(M) visa and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) will have to provide their biometric information.

Those who are applying for certain types of European law related applications will not have to.


“I would like to have some privacy when taking my photograph taken so I can look my best. Will I have this or would others see me posing?”

Some UKVCAS centres will be able to provide you with a private area or room whilst some others will not.

If this is something that really concerns you, you should contact UKVCAS beforehand to seek clarification on this.

#3 The applicant will provide their supporting documents to be scanned and checked (if they are using the document scanning service)

Obviously, if you opted to submit the supporting documents via uploading them via the website, you will not need to submit the supporting documents at the centre.

“What does this document checking service involve”

A UKVCAS staff member will check that:

  • The biometric enrolment data that you have provided is sufficiently clear;
  • The supporting documents that you have provided are showing up on the system, are legible and are in either English or Welsh (or are accompanied by a translation); and
  • Payments for the additional UKVCAS services have been successfully made.

Again, please note that if you submit documents that do not comply with the Immigration Rules, it is unlikely that this will be pointed out as part of the document checking service here.

#4 The applicant will confirm that they are happy and consent to the application being sent to UKVI

“I have just attended the UKVCAS appointment and realised that I forgot to submit a document. What can I do?”

You will be able to upload these on your UKVCAS account before 10pm on the day that you attend the appointment as the UKVCAS visa centre.

step 8

The next time that you likely hear from the Home Office will be in an email which will state that “a decision has been made“.

If the visa was granted, the email will sometimes state that the visa has been approved, though this is not always the case.

If the visa was refused, the email will rarely state that but rather will state that a decision has been made – you will have to wait until a decision letter explaining the refusal reason has been sent to you.

“How do I check on the status of my application?”

First of all, do not try asking UKVCAS for updates regarding your application.

This is because, once the application has been submitted, UKVCAS will have no influence or information regarding your application.

Second of all, whilst you can contact the Home Office and try asking for an update about your application, realistically, if the Home Office have not exceeded their ‘service standard’, it is unlikely that you will get a helpful response.

The following are the Home Office service standards:

FLR (M) Visa applications ·      8 weeks for non-priority applications

·      5 working days for priority applications

·      The next working day for super priority applications

Further leave to remain applications as a worker, Tier 1 general and entrepreneurs, student and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker & other partner applications ·      8 weeks for non-priority applications

·      5 working days for priority applications

·      The next working day for super priority applications

Organisations updating their sponsor licence details ·      18 weeks
Individuals from Turkey applying under the European Community Association Agreement and right of abode ·      6 months
Non-EEA national family members applying under the European Regulations for a residence card or permanent residence card ·      6 months
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or no time limit (NTL) ·      6 months (for standard applications)

·      The end of the next working day for super priority applications

“When does the service standard start?”

For non-priority applications, the service standard will start when your application is received.

For 5 working day priority service applications, the service standard will start when you provide your supporting information and biometrics.

For next working days super priority service applications, the service standard will start when you provide your supporting information and biometrics.

“When does the service standard end?”

The service standard ends when a decision is sent out to you and does not include the time taken to issue you with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

In order for the Home Office to stay within the above timeframes, the Home Office say that you must do the following:

  • You must submit the application prior to your visa expiring;
  • You must include photographs when required to do so;
  • You must complete the application accurately;
  • You must evidence the required amount of funds to maintain yourself and any dependants;
  • You must provide your biometric information and respond to requests for further information within the specified timeframe (if asked);
  • You must submit the required documents with your application

If the Home Office have exceeded their service standard, you can try contacting them here.


“What about my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)? When will I get that?”

You will normally receive your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 7-10 days of the decision being made.

biometric residence permit

This will normally be sent to the address that you provided in your application.


“I no longer want my BRP to be sent to the address stated in the application. What should I do?”

You will have to update your address (instructions regarding this can be found here (before a decision is made).

If the BRP does not arrive after this time frame, you should report it as missing here.


“How can I cancel my application?”

If you want to cancel your entire UKVI application, there are two things that you will have to do.

Firstly, if you have already got a UKVCAS appointment, log into your UKVCAS account via the official UKVCAS website here and cancel the appointment by following the instructions given on the website.

Secondly, visit this webpage in order to cancel your UKVI application.


“I would like to rearrange or cancel my UKVCAS appointment. Is this possible?”

Yes, in most cases you will be able to rearrange or cancel your UKVCAS appointment.

You can either contact the UKVCAS call centre by calling 0900 165 6600 (from inside the UK) or +44900 165 6600 (from outside the UK).

Like all UKVCAS numbers, these are premium phonelines and will cost £2.50 per minute. These phonelines are generally available from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

If you would prefer to cancel the appointment online, this can be done in the UKVCAS website here after clicking ‘Manage Services’ and then ‘Cancel appointment’.

The Terms and Conditions regarding the cancellation of appointments can be found here.

Frequently asked questions

What will happen if I do not attend the UKVCAS visa centre?

Attending the visa centre is one of several requirements that must be satisfied in order for your application to be valid. Therefore, you will not be able to submit your application without attending the UVCAS centre.

Will the Home Office fees be refunded if my application is refused?

Unfortunately, the Home Office fees will not be refunded if your application is refused. This is one of the several reasons why it is important to get it done right.

How long will I have to wait for a refund for a cancelled, paid appointment?

You will have to wait 5 to 10 working days for the refund. This refund will only be able to be refunded into the same card that you used to pay for the appointment.

Will young children be expected to use the self-service kiosk?

Young children and those with physical impairments can have a UKVCAS staff member assist with the recording of the biometric information.


Want help?

We help applicants go through the UKVCAS/Sopra Steria process every day of the week.

As an OISC registered UK immigration law firm, we specialise in helping partners secure their FLR(M) visas, whether they are extending their spouse visa or are switching into the partner visa category for the first time.

If you would like full legal representation, we offer this for a fixed fee of £1,850. Our full legal representation service is offered by Ed Lowe (who worked in the Home Office for 20+ years, with many of those years as a Senior Home Office executive).

On the other hand, if you would like to deal with your application yourself but would like assistance doing so, our DIY Application Pack Service can help by providing you with:

  • General email support;
  • A detailed, tailored document checklist(s); and
  • A set of tailored letter templates.

Since the feedback of the hundreds of customers who have taken advantage of this service has been so incredibly positive, this service includes a 100% money-back guarantee.

uk spouse visa full legal representation

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