Since the end of March 2013, it has been mandatory for Russian citizens seeking to obtain a UK settlement fiancee, spouse or unmarried partner visa to sign a consent form which allows the sharing of their personal information with the British Consulate in Moscow. By signing the form the applicant confirms that their personal information can be checked by the examining UK Border Agency (UKBA) immigration officials as part of the UK marriage visa application process.
Anyone applying to enter the UK as a fiancee, spouse or unmarried (de facto) partner of a British citizen or permanent resident must provide personal information and any supporting documentation that may be needed to confirm its accuracy. This generally includes the applicant’s name, date and place of birth, contact details, but other information such as employment history, education and income may also be required by the examining UKBA officials. In former USSR countries, including Russia, men and women usually derive part of their name from their fathers – this is called the ‘patronymic’ and is not common elsewhere in the world. The new UKBA consent form has therefore been designed specifically for Russian Citizens applying for a UK marriage visa, UK fiancee visa or UK partner visa under the settlement category.
The form requires the applicant’s consent to the sharing of biometric information as well as personal documentation submitted as part of the application package. Technology regarding the collection of biometric data is constantly being improved and so may change in the future, but it currently includes height, weight, any distinguishing features, hair colour, eye colour, fingerprints and anything unusual such as a limp, false limbs or other easily noticed physical traits, in other words, quick ways to recognize a person which would not routinely be included on a passport. Because of improving technology, there is no limit to what information may be collected in this way and so in the future it may include such things as retinal scans. The consent form also includes the right of the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Russia to collect psychological profiling data where it is considered likely to be helpful.
If an applicant changes their mind about sharing personal information with the British Consulate in Moscow, the initial consent given by signing the form can be removed by writing to the relevant UKBA office. The consent is guaranteed to be considered removed within three working days of the receipt of such a request from the applicant.