Applying for a UK visa
from the US?

Individuals filing an application for a UK visa from the United States should be aware of some recent service disruptions which could impact processing times.

Priority visa service is temporarily suspended in the US for anyone applying at a USCIS Application Support Centre. No announcement on the suspension was made in advance, however the situation came to light when Smith Stone Walters caseworkers in the US were unable to purchase priority services on behalf of clients this week.

SSW New York Deputy Manager Jack Blackhall contacted VFS Global on Monday to find out more. In response, a spokesperson from the company said: “We have received instructions from UKVI to temporarily suspend Priority visa services at the USCIS Application Support Centres. Every Premium location has been allocated a quota for accepting the Silver package. This is just temporary. Please monitor the website for further updates.”

There is currently no information on the VFS website to indicate how long the ‘temporary’ suspension will last.

Priority service is still available to those booking a ‘silver’ appointment at one of the VFS Premium Application Centres, although the availability for these will be very limited. SSW advises anyone with an urgent application to submit it at their earliest convenience and be prepared for potential delays.

Applying for a UK visa from the US

Customers applying for a UK Visa from the USA may visit one of over 130 USCIS Application Support Centres to provide their biometric information (fingerprints and photograph), or they can visit one of VFS Global’s Premium Application Centres.

There is no charge to attend an Application Support Centre, but customers who do not upload their supporting documents online must purchase Document Scanning Assistance, and send the receipt for this, together with their passport and supporting documents, to the UKVI Visa Processing Hub after they have attended their biometric appointment. Failure to either upload your documents online or send your documents (along with proof of purchase of Document Scanning Assistance) will cause delays to the processing of your visa application.

If you enrol your biometrics at the Application Support Centre, you can still purchase services from VFS Global to help make your application process easier, including Courier options, Priority Visa and Priority Visa for Settlement (where these services are available). For a full list of Application Support Centers run by the Department of Homeland Security, please click here.

VFS Global’s Premium Application Centres (PACs) offer Gold, Silver and Bronze Premium Packages, each with varying levels of service. PACs are available at the following locations:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Boston – Newton
  • Brooklyn
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
  • Washington DC.

General update on processing times

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are currently experiencing high global demand meaning in some cases, it may take longer to process visa applications.

The customer service standard on standard visa processing times for out of country applications is generally 3 weeks. Visit visas are taking an average of 7 weeks and UKVI are working hard to get back to the 3 week service standard. Applications for family visas remains at 24 weeks.

The processing times can change on a weekly basis, so please keep checking the visa decision waiting times for updates.

Support with your UK visa application

If you are looking to file an application for a UK visa from the US, Smith Stone Walters can help.

Our team of immigration experts based in New York can take care of the appointment booking process for you, checking availability as new appointments are released to help you secure a slot at the earliest convenience.

To speak to an advisor, please contact us today.

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