What is UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)?

by | Jul 4, 2023 | UK Immigration

In this post, we will delve into the functions and significance of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Its establishment in 2013 came as a result of the restructure of the former UK Border Agency department. With a widespread presence, UKVI boasts a workforce of approximately 7,500 employees stationed in various locations across the UK and overseas.

UK Visas & Immigration, commonly known as UKVI, operates as a division of the Home Office and assumes responsibility for managing the UK’s comprehensive visa system. As the primary authority responsible for visa processing, settlement applications, and citizenship matters, UKVI plays a critical role in facilitating the entry and stay of individuals in the UK. In addition to handling individual applications, UKVI also processes requests from UK-based businesses and educational institutions seeking to become licensed sponsors for foreign workers or students. 

The Role of UK Visas & Immigration

As the central authority for the UK’s visa system, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) performs a wide range of functions:

Visa Processing and Decision-making: UKVI processes and makes decisions on visa applications from individuals seeking entry or stay in the UK. This includes various visa categories such as work visas, study visas, family visas, tourist visas, settlement visas and Citizenship applications. UKVI carefully reviews the applications, ensuring compliance with immigration rules and assessing the eligibility of applicants.

Immigration Rules and Policy: UKVI is responsible for implementing immigration rules and policies that govern the entry and stay of individuals in the UK. These rules and policies are periodically updated to align with the changing needs and priorities of the country. UKVI ensures a fair and efficient immigration system by enforcing these rules and policies consistently.

Sponsorship and Compliance: UKVI oversees the sponsorship system, which allows UK-based organizations to sponsor skilled workers and students from overseas. It sets the criteria for sponsorship eligibility, monitors compliance with immigration rules, and takes necessary enforcement actions in cases of violations. UKVI plays a vital role in facilitating the employment of foreign workers and the enrollment of international students in UK institutions.

Biometric Data Collection: UKVI manages the collection of biometric data, including fingerprints and photographs, from individuals applying for UK visas. This data is utilized for identity verification and security purposes, enhancing the integrity of the immigration system.

Enforcement and Removal: In cases where individuals breach immigration rules or overstay their visa, UKVI is responsible for enforcement and removal actions. This includes detention, deportation, and the removal of individuals found to be in the UK unlawfully or posing a threat to national security.

Navigating UKVI Services

To make an application for a UK visa, settlement, or citizenship, individuals are required to interact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Applicants must follow the guidelines and procedures set by UKVI to ensure a smooth and successful application process. This includes submitting applications online through the official UK government website, paying the relevant application fees, and providing the necessary supporting documents as per the requirements outlined by UKVI.

Communication with UKVI will primarily occur via email or online portals, and it is crucial for applicants to provide accurate contact information and promptly respond to any requests for additional information or clarification. Additionally, seeking professional advice from immigration advisers or solicitors can be beneficial to navigate the complexities of the Immigration Rules.

How long does UKVI take to make decisions?

UKVI aims to process straightforward visa applications within standard processing times. These times can vary based on the type of application and where it is made from. For applications made from outside the UK, the goal is to decide on 90% of cases within 3 weeks, 98% within 6 weeks, and 100% within 12 weeks. Standard processing times are 8 weeks for individuals applying to remain in the UK temporarily and 6 months for those seeking indefinite leave to remain.

UKVI also offers priority services, including a 5 working day service and a next working day super priority service. These services start from the appointment for biometric information and supporting evidence submission. It’s important to note that processing times may be subject to change or delay due to factors such as COVID-related backlogs and prioritization of specific visa schemes. If an application is complex or requires additional processing time, UKVI will provide updates, and for those who paid for priority services, UKVI will notify them if there is likely to be a delay.

How can we help

Whytecroft Ford provides professional advice and services in relation to UK Immigration. To discuss your immigration application, call us on +442087575751 or use our contact form to get in touch with our team.

Frequently asked questions

How can I contact the UKVI?

Contacting UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) can be done through various channels, depending on the nature of your enquiry. You have the option to utilize an online contact form, send an email, or contact UKVI by telephone.

What are the different types of UK Visa?

There are several types of visa categories available, including:
Business Visas
Family Visas
Settlement Visas
Study Visas
Transit Visas
Visitor Visas.

Do I need a UK Visa?

You may need a visa to come to the UK to visit, join family, study or work depending on your nationality and duration of stay. 

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