Is the UK Visa Application Process Getting Worse?

Is the UK Visa Application Process Getting Worse? With most applications for a UK visa, extension, settlement or citizenship now being done online or being outsourced, there have been increased concerns about the state of the application process and how inefficient it actually is.

Many people, including many Thai girlfriend and Thai wives, have complained about the process stating that it is confusing, imprecise and almost completely ineffective. The fact that there is little human engagement means that minor errors on application forms can lead to delays lasting several months and leaving families separate especially with applications for a UK Spouse Visa.

How Does the UK Visa Application Process Work?

Almost all applications start via one of the two government websites, Access UK or Visa4UK and is a two-stage process. After accessing either of the two above sites, the applicant is then redirected to an outsourcing company who will collect the necessary documents and complete the biometrics required for the visa. These outsourcing companies mean that any interaction with the Home Office is almost nil and as they act as “gatekeepers”

What are the Issues?

After any quick search on social media you will discover that the issues are all connected to the following areas:

  • Ambiguous application forms
  • Contradictory communications
  • Incorrect specification of documents
  • Inappropriate up-selling
  • Inappropriate provision of advice
  • Non-functionality of upload systems
  • Biometrics not taken properly
  • Delays
  • Inability to secure appointments

Whilst these may not seem too severe on the face of it, the problem is that many applicants experience several of these problems as opposed to just one. It is for this reason why we strongly recommend that you use a professional company who can guide you through the process and avoid the stress and heartache.

The Websites

The websites themselves have also received numerous complaints with ambiguous application forms and contradictory information. When this is coupled with the fact that some of the information and the specification for documents are incorrect just adds to the headache. If you do encounter problems, you are directed to contact UK Visas and Immigration who scandalously charge for an email or telephone call with the information provided often being described as “utterly useless”.

Outsourcing Issues

Once again, the firms issuing visas have websites that contain inaccurate and confusing information with appointments not being available unless you pay a premium. VFS Global has come in for particular criticism due to their needless up-selling of services and their constant pursuit of profit. In addition, they have also been accused of “inappropriate provision of advice” and “non-functionality of upload systems”. Another firm, Sopra Steria have been criticized for biometrics not being taken properly.

Basic Admin Problems

Applicants have reported long delays with regards to decisions even when using the priority service. Arranging appointments is also said to be “nearly impossible”. It is unclear if applicants who cannot secure an appointment would then have their applications invalidated. An invalidated application could be catastrophic, as it would make the applicant an overstayer.

Here at Thai Visa Express, we can have several years’ experience in dealing with all visa applications and can make the process a whole lots smoother. If this is something that you feel you could benefit from, you can call us on: +66 (0)80 102 2328, +66 (0) 38 420 313 or +44 (0) 20 8133 8059, email us on: or alternatively contact us via our website.

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