US residents applying for a UK settlement visa must now send their applications directly to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) visa processing hub in Sheffield, UK. Previously, UK fiancee, partner and spouse visa applications made from the US would be forwarded to Sheffield by the British Consulate General in New York. However, effective July 2013 the UKBA New York office is no longer involved in UK settlement visa processing.
Whereas applications were previously forwarded by the British Consulate in New York to the Sheffield visa processing hub in the UK, these applications must now be sent directly to Sheffield. Because visa applicants must provide their original passports and supporting documents as part of their UK partner or marriage visa application, anyone seeking to obtain a UK settlement visa from the US must also provide a completed pre-paid return shipping waybill in order to receive these documents back once a decision has been made. This waybill must be for the purpose of international shipping. Applicants are strongly advised to note the tracking number of the waybill, and also to purchase additional shipping insurance. This new system replaces the $12 courier fee previously in place for the return of original documents via UPS.
The visa hub in Sheffield does not deal with non-settlement applications such as EEA family permits or visitor visas; applications for such UK visas must still be sent directly to the British Consulate in New York for processing. Currently, the UKBA Sheffield office only processes UK settlement visa applications made from residents of the United States of America, non-priority cases from Canada, and Nigeria.