Reopening of UK visa
28 May 2020
From 1 June, UK Visas and Immigration will be beginning a phased reopening of certain UK visa application centres overseas.
COVID-19 related restrictions have forced UK visa service points across the globe to close their doors, leaving thousands of applicants unable to attend appointments to progress their applications.
However, as lockdown measures begin to ease, some UK visa centres in overseas locations are entering a controlled, phased return to service.
Which service points are reopening?
UK visa centres overseas are run by two commercial partners engaged by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
Depending on the country, applicants filing a UK visa application from overseas will access the service through one of these providers:
Customers who were unable to attend an earlier appointment due to lockdown will be contacted by the relevant agency and invited to book a new appointment online from 26th May 2020.
Both agencies will be providing updates for customers regarding the reopening of the centres in each country, as such we would recommend all customers check their websites for the latest developments.
For example, in the Asia-Pac region, it has been announced that the following service points will begin phased reopening from 1 June:
- Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney (Australia)
- Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai (China)
- Suva (Fiji)
- Hong Kong
- Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
- Taipei (Taiwan)
- Bangkok (Thailand)
What restrictions are in place?
In order to protect staff and customers, service points will be operating at a reduced capacity in a limited number of locations, with safety restrictions in place.
For this reason, the following restrictions and advice applies:
- Applicants are strongly advised to purchase courier return of their documents to avoid travelling to the centre again after a decision has been made
- Depending on local authority guidelines, customers attending service points may be asked to observe social distancing rules, undergo temperature checks or wear personal protective equipment such as facemasks and gloves
- Customers exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are asked not to attend a centre and will be assisted with rescheduling their submission for another day
- Priority services are currently unavailable
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.