25 June 2015
UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has joined forces with Teleperformance in Russia to expand the settlement priority visa service to include unmarried (de facto) partner, fiancee and spousal visa applications from anyone wishing to settle permanently in the United Kingdom. From 24 June 2015, settlement applicants in Russia can now have their application prioritised; this will usually result in the application being processed within 15 working days. The cost of this additional service is £360 per person on top of the application fee and is available to anyone applying in any UK Visa Application Centre in Russia. Dependent relatives must pay a separate non-refundable application fee – there is no discount given for people applying as a family unit. On payment of the fee, the settlement visa application goes to the front of the queue once received by the UK Visas and Immigration Decision Making Centre (DMC).
No guarantee of success
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) makes it very clear that acceptance will not be assured simply on the payment of the extra fee and in fact advises that anyone who is in any doubt whether they will be issued a settlement fiancee, partner or marriage visa should not use the premium service as the application fee is non-refundable regardless of the outcome. The likelihood of delays or refusal increases in cases where the applicant has already been refused a visa for the UK; has previously been refused leave to remain in the UK; has previously been removed, deported, or otherwise excluded from the UK; has overstayed a period of leave in the UK; and most especially if the applicant has any unspent criminal convictions in any country. Although each immigration case is considered on its merits, anyone who falls under the categories above may face the failure of their application or may possibly need to provide more details before the visa is granted. Therefore, using the settlement premium service in such cases is not recommended.
Prime Time appointments
From July 2015, applicants using the UK Visa Application Centres in Moscow and St. Petersburg may, upon the payment of an additional fee of £50, submit their settlement partner or marriage visa application between 08:00 – 09:00 and 17:00 – 19:30 Monday to Friday and from 10:00 to 16:00 on Saturdays. This prime time service allows applications to be made outside of normal working hours and therefore avoid the worst of the queues.