UKVI's online
immigration service goes
live around the world

After its UK rollout late last year, UKVI and its outsourced partner VFS Global have announced further international launches of its digitised process that offers an ‘improved online customer journey’.

Currently, there are 54 countries using the service, with Canada expected to go live today (Thursday 28 February).

Customer benefits

The most significant improvement for the customer is the ability to retain their supporting documents during an overseas visa application process. This approach mirrors the process recently introduced in the United Kingdom for ‘in-country’ applications.

Apart from an applicant’s passport, supporting documents should be ‘self-scanned’, uploaded and submitted to the visa authorities as apart of the on-line application process.  Where original documents are presented at a visa application centre, a local service will be available to ensure supporting documents can be scanned and filed in support of the visa submission.

The UKVI is hoping the continued roll-out of their digitised visa application process will provide visa customers with a more structured and consistent service, a decrease in duplication and an increase in efficiency.

Teething problems? 

Significant changes to UKVI’s internal processes are rarely concluded without their challenges. As we have seen with the UK digital roll-out, it is likely that this wider UKVI implementation plan will encounter significant teething problems.

We would therefore not rule out the government authorities treating the initial collection of overseas applications filed under the new process as ‘test dummies’ in order to subsequently iron out internal problems as and where they appear. Not the best approach to take with its fee-paying customers but one that the UKVI regularly seems to rely on.

Rest assured, Smith Stone Walters teams in London, New York, Hong Kong and Mumbai will continue to pay significant attention to the evolving landscape of the UKVI’s internal process to ensure we are able to smoothly navigate our customers through this new visa application route.

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