Phased reopening of
UK visa centres

The Home Office’s official partner Sopra Steria announced this week that some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) will reopen for existing customers on 1 June 2020.

The reopening comes after Sopra Steria’s biometric centres across the UK closed their doors in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a phased, controlled return to operation, selected service points across the country will be opening for customers with existing appointments that they were unable to fulfill due to the lockdown.

How to rebook an appointment

Customers who had appointments booked prior to the closures will be contacted by Sopra Steria and invited to access the booking system to secure a new appointment at one of the available service points. Any existing payments will be honoured for new appointments and applicants will not be charged again.

Once a booking has been confirmed, customers will receive a confirmation email containing a QR code they will need to bring to their appointment. Due to safety restrictions, customers are advised to print their QR code where possible to avoid centre staff having to handle mobile phones.

In the interests of health and safety, customers are asked not to attend an appointment if they are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus.

Which service points will be open?

Due to safety measures put in place to protect centre staff and customers, the service will be offered at a reduced number of locations, and will operate at a lower capacity than usual. The following service points in the UK will be open from 1 June:

  • Birmingham
  • Birmingham Premium Lounge
  • Chelmsford
  • Croydon
  • Exeter
  • Leeds
  • London Mark Lane Premium Lounge
  • London Victoria
  • Manchester Fountain Street Enhanced Service Point
  • Manchester Premium Lounge
  • Sheffield
  • Southampton

When will full service resume?

Currently, all UKVCAS centres remain closed to new appointments, and only those who had appointments booked before the closures will be invited to rebook. Sopra Steria have assured customers they will be reviewing the approach regularly to assess when additional sites can reopen and booking availability can be extended to all customers.

The government has also confirmed that people’s immigration status in the UK will not be negatively affected if they are unable to attend an appointment at a visa centre.

Smith Stone Walters will continue to provide updates on the phased reopening of visa centres in the UK. In the meantime, if you need advice or support with your visa application, our team of immigration advisers are here to help. Contact us here to find out more about our services.

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