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COVID 19 : UK Immigration Application Centres Re-open

COVID-19 has created considerable anxiety for many thousands of people who are applying for a visa in the UK, or whose visa is due to expire. As the country entered a lockdown, much of the operational machinery behind the processing of visas ground to a halt, including the closure of all UK based UKVCAS service points. UKVCAS service points, operated by Sopra Steria provide a number of services that are essential to the processing of visas, including taking biometrics, uploading of supporting documents, translation, document checking, and interpretation.

A limited reopening of UKVCAS offices from 1st June 2020

At the end of May 2020, UKVCAS and UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) announced a ‘phased reopening’ of service points from the start of June. This will likely have come as welcome news to many thousands of individuals and their families currently in the UK who are keen to progress their outstanding application.

There are 57 UKVCAS offices across the UK, of which 13 have now reopened in the main UK centres; these service points are as follows:

  • Birmingham (Core)
  • Birmingham - Premium Lounge
  • Chelmsford
  • Exeter
  • Leeds
  • London - Croydon (Core)
  • London - Premium Lounge (Mark Lane)
  • London - ESP (Mark Lane)
  • London - Victoria
  • Manchester Fountain Street ESP
  • Manchester - Premium Lounge
  • Sheffield
  • Southampton

The announcement on the UKVCAS website states:

“Following government guidelines and Public Health England advice on Coronavirus, UKVCAS, in conjunction with UKVI, will begin a controlled, phased reopening of Service Points from 1st June 2020. 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 only offer our service at a reduced number of locations, and at a lower capacity than usual. We understand that this may affect your booking and it may not be possible for you to attend an appointment at one of the reopened sites. We appreciate your patience as we work with UKVI to resume the service safely”.

Is it business as usual at UKVCAS service points?

Unfortunately, while 13 UKVCAS service points have reopened, this is only for those who already had an appointment booked; no new appointments are being allowed at this time. UKVCAS has stated, “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. Please be assured that every customer is important to UKVCAS and we will be reviewing the new approach regularly to assess when we are able to open more appointments, more sites, and bookings for all customers”. It is likely that UKVCAS has taken this approach both from a perspective of coping with reduced capacity and also to enable the service to clear the existing backlog without being overwhelmed (and hence overloading UKVI).

Premium, super-premium, and VIP services are also not being offered at the current time.

What should I do if I had an appointment booked before the UKVCAS offices closed?

UKVCAS has confirmed that anyone who had an appointment booked to visit a service point will be contacted by email to confirm the next steps, explaining how to rebook the appointment. They have also requested that anyone who receives an email to rebook their appointment should make their new booking as soon as possible. Again, this is most likely to ensure that the existing backlog is cleared through as soon as possible, allowing new bookings to resume.

If you are concerned you have not yet received an email, UKVCAS says, “If you are in this group [i.e. those with an existing booking], and have not already received an email, you should receive one soon. We ask that you continue to check your registered email address for updates”.

In terms of payment, UKVCAS also confirms that they will honour any existing payment for the previous booking, and hence no further charge will be made for the new appointment. They also advise that the postponed appointment will not show on your online UKVCAS account, which will allow affected individuals to create a new booking.

If your closest service point is closed, you may be offered an appointment at another location. If you don’t want to travel to the other office, you will need to wait until your nearest location opens and there is an available appointment; doing so should not negatively impact your immigration status.

Are immigration offices around the world reopening?

TLScontact and VFS Global have also announced a limited reopening of service centres around the world, these include those in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich, Belarus, Minsk, Ukraine

Kiev, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Suva.

It is important to check on the respective website for reopening and details in your local region. Some offices are only rebooking existing appointments, whereas some are already allowing new bookings to be created.

Final words

The reopening of UK immigration offices in this country and around the world will hopefully mark the start of the journey back to normality. Much will depend on the ongoing spread of the pandemic and whether further lockdowns eventuate. In the future it may be that rather than all offices closing in unison around the world, only those in affected areas will be closed, thereby allowing some visas to be processed.

If you expect to visit an immigration service center soon, do expect delays as office staff work to adhere to new COVID-19 safety guidelines. This will be essential to the protection of staff and service users and will help to ensure that offices can remain open.

And on a final note, the Home Office is now making almost daily announcements regarding UK visa applications, automatic extensions, new policy decisions, quarantine requirements for those entering the UK, and other important information. As such, it is highly recommended that you keep a close eye on any changes which may affect you and your family members.

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O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija dealt with my case and I found her very professional and experienced in dealing with my application. The care and attention to detail was exceptional. I would definitely recommend Reiss Edwards!".

Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into steps that are easy to follow. Cruised to 3 successive wins on my Tier 1 graduate/entrepreneurship visa which allowed us to play our part in making the UK a better and healthier place!".

Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"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".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"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".

Hakeem Salam

"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".

Top Notch Immigration Service

"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".

Mo Hussein

"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".

Gallagher Jones

"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".

Richard Stone

"I 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 wasn't 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 their case, contact Reiss Edwards".

Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is definitely 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".

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't 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".

Florence Giwa

"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".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! 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".

Amir Sandeep

"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".

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