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Changes to the visa service in Russia - August 2015

UK Visa and Immigration introduces new changes to visa services in Russia.

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Biometric Resident Permits

Date of implementation: 31 July 2015

Further information: www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits

All customers applying for a visa to stay in the United Kingdom for more than six months on or after 31 July 2015 will be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

The Biometric Resident Permit:

  • Is credit card-sized and shows an individual’s immigration status in the UK.
  • Will routinely be used as an immigration document and contains a highly secure embedded chip. Fingerprints and a digital photo within the chip contain biometrics unique to each customer.
  • Can be used as proof of right to work, study and access public services in the United Kingdom.
  • Provides a more secure, streamlined and faster method for businesses and our services to verify someone’s identity and right to be in the UK.
  • Will need to be collected from a designated Post Office within 10 days of arrival in the UK.

Customers will submit their visa application as normal. If successful, they will receive a 30 day vignette (or sticker) in their passport instead of a vignette with the full grant of leave. This is to allow the applicant to enter the UK and collect their BRP from a designated Post Office. For Tier 4 students, the vignette will start one month before the course starts or 7 days before the intended date of travel, whichever is later.

Customers will receive a letter which provides information about where to go for more information.

Communications

Enquiries from customers should be directed to the International Enquiry Service.

Changes to the Priority Visa Service

Date of implementation: 31 August 2015

UK Visas & Immigration are pleased to announce the expansion of the Priority Visa Service. The cost of this service is £120 and allows customers to receive their decision within 5-7 days. On 31 August, we will remove all caps and reduce the criteria meaning that more customers will be able to take advantage of this service at any time before enrolling biometrics.

We are also pleased to launch a Priority Visa Service to customers who wish to settle in the UK. The cost of the Settlement Priority Visa Service will be £360 with customers receiving their decision within 15 working days; we continue to offer a 60 working day standard settlement service.

Priority Visa Service Qualifying Criteria

Russia

The Priority Visa Service is available to all customers applying for a visit visa with a validity of six months, Points Based System Tier 4 and Tier 5. Please note that you must be resident in Russia if you are applying under the Points Based System except for Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme and Tier 5 Temporary Worker (Creative and Sporting) who should be in Russia for a similar purpose to the activity proposed to be undertaken in the UK.

Settlement Priority Visa Service Qualifying Criteria

Only customers applying to settle in the UK under family migration routes and where a full settlement visa fee is payable should use this service. Applications for Family Reunion or EEA Family Permits cannot use this service.

Prime Time Appointments

Prime Time Appointments provide customers with flexibility to submit a UK visa application outside of normal working hours. The service costs an additional 50GBP per customer and is available to all customers except Points Based System Tier 4 students.

Prime Time Appointment Availability

From 6 July 2015, customers applying in the UK Visa Application Centres in Moscow and St Petersburg may choose to submit their application between 08:00 – 09:00 and 17:00 – 19:30 Monday to Friday.

Application Process

The UK visa application process is quick and easy:

  1. Apply and pay online at www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa
  2. Create or log in to your account at TLScontact - Russian Federation, to pay for a Prime Time Appointment
  3. Attend your appointment at the UK Visa Application Centre with your documents
  4. You will receive an email once your application has been processed.

For further information please visit Country Selection / TLScontact or contact the International Enquiry Service.

Student Migration Reforms

For further information visit gov.uk or read the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules

As part of the UK Government’s measures to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, on Monday 13 July a written ministerial statement was laid outlining changes to Tier 4 student visa routes.

These changes support the Prime Minister’s wider commitment to control and reduce abuse in creating a ‘firm but fair immigration system’ with the introduction of a new taskforce and Bill as set out earlier this year.

We have an excellent offer for international students, with visa applications for universities 16% higher than they were in 2010 and visa applications to Russell Group universities 30% higher than in 2010. These further changes aim to ensure we continue to attract the brightest and best students to our world-class universities, while tackling the remaining abuse in the student visa system.

From 03 August the changes will:

  1. Prevent new students at publicly funded colleges from being able to work, bringing them in line with those at private colleges
  2. Allow university students to study a new course at the same level, but only where there is a link to their previous course or the university confirms that this supports the student’s career aspirations. This will be supported by credibility interviews and sanctions against universities who abuse this rule

From 12 November 2015 the changes will:

  1. Ban college students from being able to extend their Tier 4 visas in the UK, requiring them to leave and apply for a new visa from outside the UK if they wish to study another course
  2. Ban college students from being able to switch visas to Tiers 2 or 5 in the UK, and requiring them to apply from outside the UK
  3. Reduce the time limit for study at further education level from three years to two years, bringing the maximum period into line with the length of time British students generally spend in further education
  4. Stop Tier 4 dependants from taking a low or unskilled job, but allowing them to take part-time or full-time skilled work

Communications

Enquiries from customers should be directed to the International Enquiry Service.

Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) – Overseas Criminal Record Certificate Requirement

Date of implementation: 01 September 2015

In April 2015, we introduced a new Rule to require applicants to provide an overseas criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in continuously for 12 months or more over the past 10 years. This change is an important step in preventing foreign criminals from coming to the UK

This requirement will be introduced in phases, and will start with Tier 1 (Investor and Entrepreneur) applicants, and their adult dependants.

In order to manage the roll-out of this requirement, we are starting with Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicants and their adult dependants before applying more widely. By starting with a small category of applicants, we will be able to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the policy.

Updated policy guidance on Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) has already been published to allow applicants sufficient time to gather the necessary documentation.

Communications

Enquiries from customers should be directed to the International Enquiry Service.

Published 4 August 2015