Since March 2020, the closure of service points and visa application centres (VACs) due to COVID-19 in the UK and around the world has posed a considerable challenge for many thousands of people in the process of applying for or renewing visas. Many immigrants and prospective immigrants with existing appointments had their bookings postponed. Now several weeks later, many VACs have reopened, to the relief of many. In this article, we will explain the current status of VACs in the UK and worldwide, and whether they are processing new applications yet.
According to the latest information published on 12th June, 2020 by Sopra Steria who operates the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS), service points across the UK are being reopened in a controlled and phased way. The following service points were opened on 1st June:
And on 22nd June, service centres in Belfast, Cardiff Bay, Edinburgh, and Glasgow will open.
UKVCAS and UKVI are currently only processing the backlog of existing immigration applications (i.e. those made prior to the temporary closure of the UKVCAS offices). This is also due to reduced capacity and to allow UKVCAS to follow the health and safety guidelines. According to the UKVCAS website, “Our priority remains the safety of customers and staff and to ensure we deliver an effective service that meets public health guidelines. This means that initially we can still only offer our service at a reduced number of locations, and at a lower capacity than usual and unfortunately if you did not have an existing appointment prior to the suspension of the service, you will not be able to book an appointment at this time”.
As of 13th June 2020, all existing applicants in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should have received an email offering a new appointment slot. Those in England, if they have not already, can expect to receive theirs soon. There will be no charge for an appointment that had to be rebooked due to closure of UKVCAS service points.
In the next phase, UKVCAS service points will start to allow bookings by visa applicants who did not have an appointment prior to lockdown. It is expected this will start from 22nd June 2020.
Visa application centres are operated by TLS contact if those in Europe, Africa, and parts of the Middle East, and by VFS global for all other countries.
According to the TLS contact website, VACs in Belarus, Germany and Ukraine have already opened, and the following VACs will be opening on 22nd June 2020:
On 29th June 2020, the following VACs plan to open:
TLS contacts have confirmed that most offices will only be opening for the return of passports, but some will be starting to process new applications from 22nd June, those being:
VFS Global has also confirmed that as of 22nd June 2020, the following VACs will be open:
To check whether your local VFS Global VAC is currently only processing existing applications or is now allowing new ones, you will need to check the individual country website as the situation is constantly changing. It does appear that most, if not all that are open, are allowing those who were unable to attend previous bookings due to the Coronavirus lockdown to now book a new appointment, and as of 22nd June 2020 are accepting new bookings; the VFS website states, “Customers who were unable to attend an earlier appointment, will be able to log into their account to book a new appointment. Customers who have completed their application on GOV.UK, but didn’t previously book an appointment at the Visa Application Centre, can do so from today (22nd June 2020). To check the latest status for your country, visit the VFS Global website and select the relevant ‘applying from’ and ‘going to’ countries.
Over the next few weeks, many more VACs in the UK and worldwide will open and eventually resume normal service. Much will clearly depend on the extent and ongoing spread of COVID-19. New hotspots are constantly emerging, and while VACs may have reopened, they may need to close again in the future. It is crucial, therefore, to regularly check for announcements from the relevant VAC operator where you are applying. We still have a long way to go to return to normality, but at the moment, it seems as though we are making steps in the right direction, we can only hope it continues.
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS