UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Old Feb 23rd 2021, 1:37 pm
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Default UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi

We are applying for a visa for my American wife to settle in the UK. When we go to pay on the application there were 3 options below.

1 Standard service at a Department of Homeland Security Application Support Centre for 2170 USD

2Settlement Priority service at a Department of Homeland Security Application Support Centre for 2988 USD

3VFS Global centre services: pay 2170 USD now for a standard service, then you can select and pay for your chosen service package later in this process

We paid for option 3 but then you are taken to VFS Global website and you must pay for either the $1200 OR $2000 settlement package (packaged services we don’t really need). Item 11 on the https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/visa/help states “Except for the Visa Application Fee and Immigration Health Surcharge Fee (where applicable) there are no other mandatory charges for customers who wish to apply for a UK visa. All other services offered on the VFS website are optional.”

If we had selected option 1. would this also require an extra fee ( do they route you to VFS Global Services or are they a stand alone service for your bio-metric appointment?) We haven’t selected the appointment date as yet so can request a refund and put in a new application but I wonder if its worth selecting either option 1 or option 2 ( not sure priority services are in affect for UK visas?).

Has anyone else come across this issue or used options 1 or 2 ?
Thanks
Dekan
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Old Mar 8th 2021, 6:18 pm
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Thumbs up Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi Derek,
I would love to know the answer to your question too. My husband just applied and we chose Option One to go to an ASC. We got taken to the VFS website, but cannot move forward to find out what happens next until we upload all our documents.

I have just posted a question here to ask if I WILL be able to use the local ASC instead of VFS for biometrics, as there is no indication how to contact them. I think I once read that the UK visa department will send me an email. Not sure. If we do go to an ASC and upload the documents ourselves, I believe we pay no further fees.

I will let you know what we find out. Good luck. I notice that VFS purposely makes everything confusing on its website to try to draw people to use its services. It is shameful...

Sheryl
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Old Apr 4th 2021, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi Sheryl
so I requested a refund for original appication and submitted a new one selecting normal.application center.
I have just uploaded all the documents, it then states for Washington DC arc there are no appointments due to covid. So it seems the only option for washington dc is to use the premium application support center and be forced ro pay the extra 1200 for services you don't need...just to get an interview. Very frustrating that you cant get this info upfront. I did call washington application center before going down this route simply asking if they were doing appointments but they would not give any info. The voice options stated select option x to discuss your biometric appointment so assumed they were still doing some even if you needed to wait. Anyway...i may need to get a refund and go back down the original path begrudgingly paying the extra 1200. More annoying is the time wasted on the process of finding out after you have submitted the applications.

Last edited by Dekan1s3; Apr 4th 2021 at 5:00 pm.
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Old Apr 5th 2021, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi Dekan,

I am sorry to hear that. The whole process, especially the parts controlled by VFS are very confusing, and seemingly deliberately so to push us to pay for their services.
We uploaded our documents too and then were able to get the biometrics at a free Application Support Center, rather than go to VFS. However they knew nothing there and could not answer questions. We are in San Diego.
We have heard nothing since, though I believe we are supposed to get an email from the New York visa center letting us know the application is underway. It has been two weeks, and nothing.

Good luck to you, Shirley
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Old May 7th 2021, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi Shirley

Just wondered how you got on , we have our interview on Monday at an ASC and uploaded all the documents ourselves. We received a document check list with documents to take ( so normal passport, bio page, etc) to the interview but Im not sure if we needed to take all the uploaded documents too ( seems to me we dont but my solicitor is saying we may need to ?). Also I am considering purchasing the VFS Round Trip Courier service as I dont really know what postage labels we need if we buy from UPS directly ( assume a return from VFS New york and a 2 day air ups return label to my home address? )- just wondered what you used for postage and if you sent all the documents you uploaded ? very confusing process.
Thanks
Dekan
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Old May 10th 2021, 11:44 pm
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Talking Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

HI Dekan,
I am not sure what is available in DC, but here in San Diego, we uploaded all our documents, then went to the ASC for the fingerprints, etc. However there was no interview and the ASC knew nothing about UK visas, even if we wanted to ask questions. We then followed the online instructions (hoping they were correct and complete) and just mailed in the passport, the application form, the confirmation letter we got when we uploaded the documents, now stamped at the ASC, (it showed all the documents we uploaded) and an addressed UPS prepaid electronics shipping label that they could attach to an envelope and return the passport. This was mailed to the New York address on March 25. We have heard nothing since. One writer on this site said the UK used to send an email confirming they got the application, but we never got anything. Our UPS tracking does show the package arrived. I hope that helps. I would be interested in knowing how you get on, and I will let you know what happens this end. I sure hope we did it right!!!
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Old May 19th 2021, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi,

Thankyou, yes it sounds like the same experience we had , So in the end I purchased the VFS Global Round trip courier separately for the $75 and managed to download the two labels. One had RS ( which I thought was the return service to include in the envelope) but the person at UPS said that was the one we should use to send the application to the New York office and the other label is the one to include on the envelope ( we wrote "priority service" as instructed). I have since checked the tracking ID and it shows as received in New York but we received no email or comms, so as we opted for the fast track home office application option 2 ( not with VFS) I uploaded the documents myself in the portal, the portal was still open to upload more documents or add additional services right up to the interview date. At the same time my friend was also applying for a spouse visa for his wife and he went through the VFS Global services and paid the extra $2000 ( $1200 for the scanning etc and $800 for the fast track) and it seems when you do this the appointments are a lot more frequent than selecting home office fast track ( I had to wait weeks with no idea when they would become available), my friend also did receive an email saying the visa application had been received ( not sure if thats because he paid the premium).
My solicitor advised me my wife needed to take all our documents( So print off what I had uploaded ) to the biometric appointment but really all they needed was the passport ( we did take all the paperwork it said to bring on the document checklist plus some others just in case ) but they just stamped the interview receipt that included the interview date, my uploaded documents and the VFS courier receipt. It took around 10 minutes then we just posted it from UPS , included passport, application , documents and payment receipts,document check lists , wedding certificate. Hopefully we will hear something in the next month.
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Old May 21st 2021, 10:52 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

I'm just curious, my (UKC) wife and I just completed uploading all the documentation this past Sunday for filing for a spouse visa for me. I almost immediately got booked for the biometrics appointment (at the Nashville USCIS near enough to where we live). We did pay for the roundtrip courier (UPS) labels ($75) and an additional fee for SMS notifications ($5). I didn't see anyone above mention the SMS service, did you all do that too and still haven't heard anything?

Also - what's the cutoff for uploading documents? It seems like it was kind of open ended at least until they receive the packet post-biometrics with the passport, checkoff list, stamped biometrics receipt... and you said 'wedding certificate' - i don't remember that needing to be sent in the packet. We uploaded it as part of our additional documentation. So, question, when is the cutoff for uploading anything else? I think we were pretty complete at this point, we may be getting an additional bank statement we could use but we already have uploaded what we think we need.

PS, thanks to the initial poster. We did end up selecting the first option after reading through this post and all the great replies.
thx!



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Old May 22nd 2021, 1:04 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi,

Excellent news on the bio metric appointment, no I didnt buy the extra SMS service but really for the $5 maybe I should have. In terms of the cut off for uploading documents it states you can upload until the bio metric appointment date. I did manage to still view the document menu 30 minutes before the appointment as I wanted to check on one last thing, I then checked a couple of days afterwards and that menu was then removed (all I could do was download the receipt).
For documents included in envelope, I included the documents from the document check list :
Copy of bio page from sponsors passport
Proof or relationship- e.g. marriage certificate
Applicants passport
One proof of British citizenship for sponsor ( such as a passport ) . We just had the copy of the sponsors passport ( mine) and I put in my birth certificate although I dont think we needed to.
----
On the document check list we were confused by how relevant this was as it stated ' do not sign until you are at your appointment' but when we were at the appointment the officer didnt seem to be bothered about this document check list. Also the statement in the top tick box stated ' The documents ticked in this checklist are all of the documents I wish to use to support my application' which wasnt the case as we had a large number of documents uploaded that were not in this list. In my view the ' document that showed the Registration details, Onine Transaction Details, Document Upload Receipt, Appointment letter was more important as this paper was stamped by the officer so we did make sure to included this in the envelope. Just through paranoia we still signed the other document check list and wrote please also see other document upload receipt for all supporting documents. We really didnt know what to include in the envelope as assumed like you if everything was uploaded as long as the passport was sent with any receipts that this was probably was ok . It did state during the application extra services page that if you choose not to upload documents then you needed to send them in ( assume for VFS to scan as part of paying their document check or scanning service which we didnt ) as we opted to upload them my guess is that its ok to have excluded our uploaded documents, it would seem pointless to print and send them all in when we scanned and uploaded so hopefully no issues. Fingers crossed :-)

Last edited by Dekan1s3; May 22nd 2021 at 1:07 pm.
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Old May 22nd 2021, 5:34 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Perfect, thanks! Good luck! Keep us posted!
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Old Jun 10th 2021, 9:39 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Hi Blitzin and Dekan, Well I hope we did it right. We are in San Diego and I am a UK citizen applying for my US husband. Because the VFS instructions were confusing and seemingly not consistent, we decided to simply follow the UK Visas & Immigration instructions to a T. So we uploaded (via VFS as the only option) only the documents on the UKVI "Document Checklist",which we arrived at after following the links for a spousal visa.

Once those were uploaded, we visited an ASC Support center where they knew nothing...but they did stamp our Document Upload Receipt. We posted to the VFS New York address, supplied by the UKVI website, only our Application Form, Confirmation letter stamped at the ASC, US Passport for my husband, and a UPS prepaid electronics shipping label. We never encountered an option for Text Messages and we got no confirmation of receipt from UKVI, though UPS showed it arrived.

We have been waiting almost 10 weeks now and nothing. However, on searching again, I found on the UKVI website a page where you could pay $3 or so and send an email with all the details of your application. They said they could tell you where in the process your application is....supposedly within 48 hours. That time has passed and no answer yet. But you may want to try it at: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk.

I'll let you know how it goes. Good luck to you both. Shirley
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Old Jun 11th 2021, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: UK Spouse Visa VFS Global Services vs UCIS

Good luck Shirley!
I assumed it would be 12 weeks so am not even really going to try to think about (read: worry about it) for a while... I had my biometrics just last thursday & posted the remaining bits off overnight (quote unquote) on friday (this included my passport, a copy of the wedding license & certificate which was already uploaded anyway, the bio page from my wife's Brit passport (also already uploaded), the USCIS stamped biometric appointment letter, and a return mailing label. (I was dubious about an 'overnight' UPS envelope making it to New York before Monday but... I did get notice on Monday via email they had received it. A couple days later (well, two days ago) I got an SMS text message saying that on June 6th the application was forwarded to UK Visas and Immigration. Since the 6th was a Sunday I don't know how that happened, but that's what the text said.

Following what Dekan1s3 had mentioned about checking if the document upload was still available... it was, even after the biometrics... then it looked like it went away finally earlier this week... but then we noticed it was back - then gone again a day later (but we didn't need to use it, we just watched it).

Anyway, a few of us are now in holding patterns... finger's crossed for all of us...
blitz/butch

Last edited by blitzin; Jun 11th 2021 at 4:00 pm.
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