UKVCAS: Everything You Need To Know
UKVCAS stands for UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services. It’s an organisation designed to make sure newcomers have the correct paperwork to live and work in the UK.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about UKVCAS, including:
- Whether you need to use UKVCAS
- How to register with UKVCAS
- How to use the UKVCAS system.
What is UKVCAS and do I need to use it?
UKVCAS is an official partner of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). It’s a legitimate organisation that can give you advice, support, and guidance about moving to the UK. You can also use UKVCAS to:
- Upload your biometric data for UK entry applications.
- Upload other supporting documents for your application.
Other services UKVCAS offer include:
- Translation and interpretation — if you need language support
- Document checking services — to make sure you have all the right paperwork
- Document scanning services — if you can’t scan the documents yourself.
Not all UK visa applicants need to use UKVCAS. You’ll be told if you need to use this service when you apply for a visa, indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or British citizenship.
How do I register with UKVCAS?
First, you should apply for the right type of UK visa on the gov.uk website. When you’ve completed all the steps, you’ll be directed to register with UKVCAS if you need to.
When you’ve registered with UKVCAS, you can log in to their website and book an appointment at your nearest service location.
You’ll need to book an appointment before you can access any other UKVCAS service, except Meet and Greet. Meet and Greet is more expensive than individual services, but it’s a good way to get help with your application from start to finish. Be aware that using this service won’t influence the ultimate decision from UKVI.
When does UKVCAS release appointments?
UKVCAS releases appointments every day. The booking calendar shows four weeks’ worth of appointments. A new date is added each day.
Free appointments are released at 9am each day. Paid appointments are released at 12am.
Free appointments get booked up very quickly. To make sure you get an appointment when you need one, it’s a good idea to book it as soon as possible.
How to book a UKVCAS appointment
Login to the UKVCAS site and click Appointments. Pick the location and appointment type you need. Free appointments are suitable for most people, but you can also pay for an appointment if you prefer. Chargeable appointments include:
- Premium lounge — for appointments at the Premium Lounge site in London
- Flexible — arrive within your allotted time slot
- Express — get all your document checks and tasks completed within 30 minutes
- Meet and greet — an advisor is on hand to guide you through the entire application process.
When booking, use the Additional Requests section to include any information that might be useful, such as the need for a translator, or any accessibility needs you may have.
What to bring to your UKVCAS appointment
When you apply for your visa, settlement, or citizenship online, the system will tell you which documents you need for your application. All applicants need to bring ID (usually your passport).
If possible, scan and upload all the required documents into the Documents section of the UKVCAS website before your appointment. If you can’t, you’ll need to bring the paperwork along with you.
You’ll also receive an email including a QR code before your appointment. Print the QR code or bring it on your phone.
UKVCAS recommends that only the applicant(s) attend the appointment. You can bring a carer if necessary. In some limited circumstances, you may be able to bring a translator or legal representative.
If you’ve applied on behalf of someone else, you should both attend the appointment. Children under 16 must be accompanied by the responsible adult named on their application.
What happens at a UKVCAS appointment?
When you arrive, you’ll be asked to provide your ID document(s) so the advisor can confirm your identity.
You’ll also be asked to give your biometric information. This usually includes:
- Your fingerprints
- A digital photo
- A digital signature.
To provide these, you’ll be shown into a self-service booth. If you need help, advisors will be on-hand.
If you haven’t already uploaded your documents online, UKVCAS staff will check and scan your documents for you. This may incur an extra charge, depending on which type of appointment you have.
When all your biometric information has been captured and your documents have been scanned, you’ll need to confirm you’re happy for UKVCAS to submit your application.
How much is a UKVCAS appointment?
The total cost of your UKVCAS appointment depends on which type of appointment you choose, and whether you select any additional services. Here’s what each service costs as of January 2023:
- Non-chargeable appointments: free
- Chargeable appointments between 10am and 4pm: from £60
- Meet and greet: £275
- Document scanning*: £54
- Document checking:* £48
- Interpretation: £70
*These are included in some chargeable appointments, so you may not need to pay extra.
If you upload your documents online in advance, and choose a non-chargeable appointment, you may be able to access all the UKVCAS services you need for free.
How to upload documents on UKVCAS
Log in to your UKVCAS account and click Documents to access the upload area. Then upload a scanned or digital version of the documents you need. Alternatively, upload your documents using the UKVCAS IDV app. This is available on most Apple or Android devices.
Make sure your documents are uploaded no later than 48 hours before your appointment.
EU settlement applicants don’t normally need to upload documents to the UKVCAS site; instead, you should upload them to the EU Settlement Scheme website.
Learn more about moving to the UK
Getting a visa is just the first step in moving or settling in the UK. If you stay in the UK long enough, you may become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain or UK citizenship. If you’re considering a long-term stay in the UK, read this essential information about UK life: