This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
UK Visas and Immigration announced that the global contracts for our Visa Application Centres overseas have been outsourced.
New global contracts for our Visa Application Centres overseas have been awarded to Teleperformance Ltd and VFS Global. This includes biometric enrolment, courier services and interviewing facilitation. These contracts will replace the current contracts from 1 April 2014, although much of the transition to the new contracts will take place in the time leading up to this date.
We have been working with our new Commercial Partners across the globe to plan for and implement the range of changes that will result from the introduction of these contracts.
The procurement of new contracts enables us to increase the number of application points globally and offer improved customer services. These contracts will offer the necessary flexibility to support current and future services and provide a world class customer experience, including through increasing our priority and premium services offerings and moving a number of our Visa Application Centres to more accessible locations.
To increase access to our visa services overseas, we have considered how we best support our operation and our customers, including through consideration of opening hours in some locations, and new User Pay services in developing markets. We will continue to offer a free to use service in many locations but in some of our low volume locations we will require our customers to contribute towards the cost of running the service through an additional User Pay fee.
From 21 March 2014, our new commercial partner Teleperformance Ltd will take over the running of our Visa Application Centre in Podgorica. The Visa Application Centre will move to:
The Mall of Montenegro
Blv. Save Kovačevića 74
In addition, we are making the following changes to the visa service that we offer. These changes are as follows:
- change of opening hours. From 21 March 2014, appointments will be available at the Visa Application Centre every Thursday and Friday. Appointments will be available from 0900 to 1300
- user pays charges. From 21 March 2014 there will be a charge of £59 to use the Visa Application Centre in Podgorica. This will be in addition to the visa fee and will be charged at the point of booking the appointment and will cover the cost of providing the application submission facilities in Podgorica. Your appointment at this Visa Application Centre will not be honoured if this fee is not paid. If you prefer, you may also apply at your nearest free to use application point which is located in Belgrade
- introduction of Priority Visa Service. From 21 March 2014, a Priority Visa Service will be introduced in Montenegro at a cost of £100 (charged in Euro). This service allows you to have your visa application placed at the front of the queue once received by the UK Visas and Immigration. Your dependents can also apply for this service at the same time as you but they will also have to pay an additional priority service fee. The Priority Visa Service does not imply or guarantee in any way that those applicants applying via the scheme will be successful in their application. All applicants using the service must qualify against the requirements of the UK immigration rules to be issued a visa.
This “Priority Visa Service” is only available to applicants who are resident in Montenegro and are applying for:
- any visitor visa; or
- Tier 2 (Skilled workers) and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting) applicants sponsored by a company/institution listed on the UK Border Agency’s approved Premium Sponsor list; or
- dependents applying with the above.
If you are applying for any other visa type or for a visa to a Commonwealth country or British Overseas Territory you should not use the Priority Visa Service.
We will work closely with our Commercial Partners to ensure continuity of service during the transition period. Further information regarding changes at specific Visa Application Centre locations will be made available on the country pages of our website over the coming weeks.
Why are you changing Commercial Partners at this stage?
The current contracts with our Commercial Partners end on 31 March 2014 and we have run an open and fair competition for the next set of contracts, in line with EU procurement law. We constantly strive to provide a world class visa service. Changes to the contracts with our Commercial Partners will help us to achieve that.
When will the changes take place?
We will move fully to the new contracts from 1 April 2014. There will be a rolling period of transition on a location by location basis before then. We will provide customer information on our website to inform you about what the changes will be and when they will take place.
Will applications take longer to process as these changes take place?
We will ensure that there is no impact on service during transition.
Will applications take longer to process under the new model?
We are making no changes to our customer service standards as a result of this process.
What will the changes be?
The new contracts will allow customers to apply for UK visas in more locations worldwide and to have access to better services, such as priority visas, premium lounges and return courier options. In order to achieve this, without increasing the visa application fee, we made some changes to opening hours and in some low volume locations we are introducing an additional charge to cover the operational costs.
Why are you making these changes?
The procurement of new contracts has enabled us to increase the number of application points globally, offer improved customer services, including increased access to premium and priority services, and to deliver efficiencies in the visa application process. The new contracts will provide the platform to deliver a world class customer experience, including through increasing our priority and premium services offerings globally.
Will a change in Commercial Partner mean a change in location?
Yes, in Podgorica the new location of the Visa Application Centre will in The Mall of Montenegro, Blv. Save Kovačevića 74, 81000 Podgorica, and will be open to the public between 0900 and 1300 every Thursday and Friday.
What are User Pay Visa Application Centres?
This is a Visa Application Centre where the operating costs are met through an additional charge paid by the customer. This allows UK Visas and Immigration to offer a visa service at a location where the costs of continuing to offer a service free of charge would otherwise be prohibitive.
Why are customers now required to pay to apply at a Visa Application Centre which used to be free?
Expanding our network of User Pay Visa Application Centres allows us to maintain a visa service in low volume locations where the costs of continuing to offer a service free of charge would be prohibitive. The UK continues to retain free to use Visa Application Centres in locations across the globe. These can be used by customers who do not wish to pay the additional charge and are willing and able to travel legally to another Visa Application Centre.
What additional charges will customers pay for User Pay Visa Application Centres?
There will be a standard global charge for use of a User Pay Visa Application Centre, which is to be £59.
Can I pay the visa fee and the User Pay charges at the Visa Application Centre?
No. All applications for a UK visa in Montenegro must be completed using our online application system and paid for online in Euros before going to the visa application centre to submit biometric data. With the introduction of the Teleperformance application centre, you will be need to purchase a User Pay appointment or additional priority/premium services online at the point of booking an appointment.
Can I apply at a different Visa Application Centre where I do not have to pay?
Yes. All customers can choose to apply at the nearest free to use Visa Application Centre, and therefore would not be required to pay the additional User Pay charge.
How will this change the way I make a visa application?
All visa applications will continue to be submitted online and paid for online in Euros. Visa Application Centre appointment bookings will also be made and paid for online as part of this procedure, and you will still need to attend a Visa Application Centre in order to submit your biometric data and any supporting documents.
Who will decide if I get a visa?
All visa applications will continue to be assessed by UK Visas and Immigration staff, as is currently the case.