In a new online visa application journey, Indian customers for UK visas can now experience a more digital visa service as a result of improvements developed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), and VFS Global. UK visa customers can now fill the visa application form, book regular or priority appointments, selfupload documents prior to visiting the centre, or choose from a range of services, in a single online journey. The intuitive and simplified online visa application system, developed by VFS Global for UKVI, is part of UKVI’s continuing initiatives to transform the visa application journey for customers around the world.
Shift to an integrated online system previously, Indian visa applicants applied for a visa via two separate websites – Gov.UK and VFS Global. As part of the new customer journey, customers can access information about, or opt for, all visa services at the outset of their visa application journey. Customers now have the option to digitally upload documentation prior to visiting the Visa Application Centre using their smartphone, tablet or other camera/computing device. Customers who opt for the self-upload option can visit the centre with just their passport – meaning less need to carry original documents with them. A scanning service will still be offered by VFS Global, for a fee of 500 INR, however this will be free to customers for a short period.
A range of optional services aimed at providing a stress-free application experience can now be opted for online, at the application stage. Customers can opt for the ‘Walk-in without appointment’ service (for customers seeking to submit applications urgently), or ‘Keep My Passport While Applying’ (enabling customers to apply for other visas during the processing of UK visa) at the application stage itself. They can also avail document-scanning assistance for customers opting for self-upload.
David Ratcliffe, Regional Director South and South East Asia, UK Visas and Immigration, said, “UKVI and VFS Global’s shared goal is simple – to deliver an efficient, secure visa service that places the customer experience at the heart of our operation. “These latest announcements do just that. By making better use of digital technology we can make the visa application process easier for the customer, giving them the opportunity to upload documents with their smartphone or tablet from the comfort of their home or office. “In addition, this move will make us much more efficient and resilient as we prepare for another busy year – so, as Indians travel to the UK for the Cricket World Cup, they can be confident that they won’t get caught out by the visa service!”
Over 630,000 people applied for a UK visa from India in the last year. That included over 475,000 visit visas – an increase of 43,000, the largest absolute increase for any country. In addition, almost 19,000 Tier 4 student visas were granted to Indian nationals – a 32% increase on the previous year – along with over 55,000 skilled work visas – more than the rest of the world combined. VFS Global recorded an 8% increase in the number of UK visa applications in 2018, year-on-year. Most number of UK visa applications in 2018 were submitted from Delhi and Mumbai – which accounted for over 40% of UK visa applications from the country. Official statistics are available from the UK’s Office for National Statistics web page – available online here.