It has been announced that the UK government intends to increase visa, nationality and immigration application fees in the coming months. The fee increases are still to be approved by Parliament, however with the proposed starting date of the changes coming into effect set at 6 April 2014 (31 March for some overseas premium services) it seems unlikely that the changes will not be ratified.
Generally speaking, most of the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) application processing fees will increase by 4% including short-term visitor visas, fiancee, unmarried partner and marriage visas. Other fees will be targeted in an attempt to prevent the need for wider ranging increases. The government states that the main purpose of the increased fees is to improve customer services, as well as introducing additional priority services. These extra services include:
- a priority settlement application service available at a cost of £300 (currently £200);
- a super priority visa service for the purpose of accelerating the application process to its shortest possible time frame, this will be available at £600;
- a 3-5 day priority visa service for non-settlement applications at a cost of £100;
- out of hours appointments at a cost of £50; and finally
- a new passport ‘passback service’ at a cost of £40 per applicant.
The cost of a settlement fiancee, partner and marriage visa is set to rise from its current rate of £851 to £885 per applicant (4% increase). Postal further leave to remain (FLR) and indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications for temporary visa holders with no dependents will cost more – £601 and £1093, respectively. Those who wish to apply in person (same day service) will have to pay an additional fee of £400 per person on top of the relevant standard fee. Dependants must pay a separate application fee, which is non-refundable regardless of the outcome of the principal applicant’s application.