Social distancing rules delay
UK visa applications
in the USA
20 May 2021
The Smith Stone Walters immigration team in New York is advising UK visa applicants in the USA to expect delays when booking a biometric appointment at immigration Application Support Centres nationwide.
Due to federal regulations on social distancing in the US, Application Support Centres have cut the number of slots available to UK visa applicants down to one slot per day at each centre across the country. Due to this significant reduction in appointment availability, there is currently a 6 – 8 week wait to secure a slot at the majority of centres.
As travel restrictions begin to ease and the amount of people submitting UK visa applications increases, we expect to see these waiting times increase further. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) in New York are currently petitioning the US authorities to provide more appointment slots to help ease the pressure, although the outcome of this request still remains to be seen.
In the meantime, we advise UK visa applicants in the USA to make use of the ‘Bronze’ or ‘Silver’ services available at VFS Global Premium Application Centres in order to speed up the processing time of their visa.
UK visa services in the USA
Individuals filing an application for a UK visa from the USA are required to enrol their biometric information after completing their online visa application. Applicants can do this by booking an appointment at a US Application Support Centre, or alternatively by attending a VFS Premium Application Centre.
VFS Global is a commercial partner engaged by the UK Visas and Immigration UKVI) to provide UK visa services abroad.
Appointments at VFS premium centres are usually available in 5 – 6 working days rather than the 6 – 8 weeks currently estimated at US Application Support Centres. For this reason, SSW recommends attending one of these centres where possible, if you wish to avoid a longer wait to enrol your biometrics.
Currently, VFS Premium Application Centres are available at the following locations:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- San Francisco
- Washington DC
What are the Bronze and Silver services?
VFS premium centres at the above locations offer ‘Bronze’ and ‘Silver’ packages at an additional cost. These packages allow the applicant to submit their biometrics at the VFS premium centre rather than at one of the US Application Support Centres.
Costs and estimated processing times for these services are as follows:
- Bronze service – Costs $410 with a standard processing time of 15 working days
- Silver service – Costs $875 with a priority processing time of 5 – 6 working days
Support with filing a UK visa application from the USA
If you would like more information on current processing times, or if you require support with filing your UK visa application from the United States, Smith Stone Walters can help.
To contact our New York team, please call +1 646 790 5913 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.