The UKVI is changing its service to allow customers to enjoy as smooth a visa application process as possible with changes to the Access UK service. Pic: Reuters

More than 30 million foreign visitors travel to Britain every year for travel, education and business, with 3 million visa applications made globally, of which 2.7 million are granted.

The United Kingdom’s Home Office is committed to improving the UK Visas and Immigration service, by making it more convenient, quicker and easier for customers to apply for a UK visa. This includes improvements to the online customer journey, the introduction of new technology and the digitisation of services.

The UKVI is changing its service to allow customers to enjoy as smooth a visa application process as possible with changes to the Access UK service. 

Through Access UK, customers are now able to book their visa application centre appointment, scan and upload their supporting documentation from the comfort of their own home, and purchase any additional services which are intended to enhance their experience. 

Customers can continue to upload documents to support their application up until the day of their appointment. This exciting development means that the majority of
customers no longer have to submit their original documentation, though customers will still need to provide their passport in order for a vignette to be placed, should they be granted a visa. 

This service is being rolled out worldwide and is available now in South Africa, Lesotho and eSwatini.

The service is available on mobile devices, enabling application forms to be completed on smartphones or tablets, making it more convenient for the customer.

The application is often more concise and quicker to complete, as questions are only asked when they are relevant to a customer’s previous answers;
Customers can review, edit and download their partially completed application at any point before submission, making it simpler to check, edit and update
responses as required.

The application fee is displayed in the appropriate local currency, making it easier to understand the overall cost.
Customers will now transition smoothly through the application process to booking their appointment at their chosen VAC to submit their biometrics, without
having to visit multiple online sites. 

The vast majority of customers will be able to self-upload their supporting evidence, and customers will be able to easily select and pay for additional services to suit their needs.

Access UK means visa customers can:

  • Make quicker visa applications using an intuitive online form;
  • Use easy-to-follow checklists and steps which list the evidence required to make an application;
  • Upload all required documentation themselves, up until the day of their appointment;
  • Make changes to their application at any moment;
  • Conveniently select a standard, priority or super-priority service (where available);
  • Apply flexibly using any mobile device.