From 1 May 2013, anyone applying for a UK settlement visa as a fiancee, unmarried partner or spouse of a British citizen or legal permanent resident in India can use a debit or credit card (Visa and MasterCard only) for the payment of the associated UK Border Agency (UKBA) application processing fees.
All previous methods of payment will continue to be available and there are no changes to the process of making payment in person at the Visa Application Centre (VAC). These existing payment options include paying the UK marriage visa fee in cash or by using a demand draft at either the Visa Application Centre itself or selected branches of Standard Chartered Bank in India. The addition of Visa and MasterCard will make the payments much easier for a large number of people and this change has been welcomed widely.
Home Office Regional Director, Thomas Greig, announced these changes and was very pleased to explain the new payment option which will make the UK marriage visa process much easier for applicants in India. He said, ‘This is part of our on-going commitment to offer the best service to our Indian customers. It is also part of the Home Office’s programme of modernisation. This includes moving to an online application process where almost all customers around the world would apply and pay for their visas online. It will be a much more streamlined application process and is consistent with a wider global trend to online transactions and payments. It will also be a safer system for both customers and staff as it reduces the risk associated with cash payment.’
The new payment option is currently available for UK marriage visa, UK de facto partner visa and UK fiancee visa applications submitted online on or after 1 May 2013. It is also expected that other widely accepted payment cards will be included in the list of those accepted by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in India as well as other payment methods such as eWallets. At the moment, all fees paid for UK visa applications are collected in rupees as well as US dollars if the fee is paid online using the new payment facility, but there is hope that other currencies will be soon available, including the British pound sterling.