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UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS)

When you apply for a visa, settlement (‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’) or citizenship in the UK, you’ll usually need to use UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS).

This page has advice about application forms, payments, booking appointments, uploading documents, what to expect at your UKVCAS appointment, and how the RCN's Immigration Advice Service can support you.


  1. Application forms
  2. Payments
  3. Appointment booking
  4. Document uploading
  5. Attending your appointment
  6. RCN Support
  7. Further information

1.) Application forms

Most UKVI (UK Visa and Immigration) application forms must now be completed and submitted online, on the website.

The online application forms used for visa and citizenship applications made from within the UK are normally divided into the following sections: 

  1. Start
  2. Application
  3. Documents
  4. Declaration
  5. Pay
  6. Further actions

You will be able to partially complete the application, save your progress and log back in to complete the application at a later date. If you do this, the link to enable you to log back into your partially completed application will be emailed either to you, or to your legal adviser if you have stated on the application form that you have a legal adviser and have provided their contact details. 


You should only state that the RCN Immigration Advice Service is your legal adviser if we have explicitly agreed to represent you.

2.) Payments

In the ‘Pay’ section of the application form you will be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (if applicable) and the application fee for your specific application by credit or debit card.

Before submitting your payment you will be given the option to choose the service you would like to receive. You will not be able to change this selection after the fees has been paid. You will be able to choose either: 

  • Standard service (most people get a decision within 26 weeks after attending their biometrics appointment) or
  • Super Priority service (most people get a decision on the next working day after attending their biometrics appointment)

You will have to pay an additional fee if you choose the Super Priority service.

Once payment has been processed, you will no longer be able to go back and change your answers on the application form.

3.) Appointment booking

After you have paid the application fees, you should receive an email from the UKVI confirming receipt of your payment, together with a link to enable you to return to your application to complete your further actions (check your spam/junk mail folder if you don’t receive this).

You will then be directed to the appointment booking system on the Sopra Steria website, where you will be required to register, book and then attend an appointment with the commercial partner of the UKVI in the UK (Sopra Steria) to provide your documents and enrol your biometrics (fingerprints and facial photograph).

When booking your appointment you will be asked to:

  • choose a location by inputting a postcode convenient to you
  • choose a date and time from the slots available (up to 28 days in advance)

There are three different types of UKVCAS service points (Core, Enhanced and Premium Lounge).

Only the Core service points offer appointments that are free of charge. The Core service points are in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and Croydon.

If you wish to avoid paying an additional fee to attend your appointment, you should select your nearest Core service point, tick the checkbox to only view free appointments, and do not select any ‘additional services’.

If you choose to attend an appointment at an Enhanced or Premium lounge, or an out of hours appointment at a Core service point, then you will be charged additional fees.

However, please note that paying extra for an appointment at an Enhanced or Premium lounge service point will not make any difference to the outcome of your application or to the length of time it will take the UKVI to process your application.

4.) Document uploading

Before you attend your appointment at the UKVCAS centre, you will be required to scan and upload the supporting documents for your application to your account on the Sopra Steria website, unless you have paid an extra fee for your documents to be scanned and uploaded at your appointment for you (e.g. if you have paid for the Enhanced service or Premium Lounge, or specifically for document scanning).

When uploading your scanned documents, you will need to separate them into categories. For example (depending on your application) document files might be separated as follows: 

  • Residence in the UK: P60s, proof of address, proof of cohabitation (e.g. bills etc.)
  • Proof of identity: Current and expired passports, BRPs
  • Finances: Bank statements
  • Life events: Marriage/divorce/birth certificates
  • Education:
  • Life in the UK test certificates and English language or university degree certificates
  • Employment: Employer letters, payslips
  • Proof of application: printed copy of the application form with signed declarations, document checklist

You can contact the RCN Immigration Advice Service if you an RCN member and would like further advice about the supporting documents that you should provide for your application.

5.) Attending your appointment

You should arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment slot at the UKVCAS Centre.

Bring the following documents with you to your appointment:   

  • A printed copy of your appointment confirmation (the barcode will be scanned when you arrive at reception)
  • Your original valid passport
  • Your original Biometric Residence Permit (if you have one)
  • Either originals or copies of your other supporting documents
  • Either originals or copies of your application form, document checklist and signed declaration

If you are attending a free appointment at a Core service centre, you may be given a numbered ticket and asked to wait when you arrive. You will then be called to enrol your biometrics on a self-service kiosk. Sopra Steria staff should be available to explain how to use the kiosk. You may then be asked to return to the waiting area before being called to have your documents checked. The Sopra Steria staff will check your original passport and BRP (if you have one) as well as your scanned documents, and may re-scan copies of any documents that are unclear.

Once the document checking has been completed, the Sopra Steria staff should return all of your original documents to you and confirm that they have submitted everything to the UKVI and that the UKVI will contact you once they have made a decision on your application. You will not be given a receipt.

6.) RCN support

The RCN Immigration Advice Service is here to help members. If you need advice or support, contact the RCN on 0345 772 6100 and press option 2 for immigration.

We're also available via live chat or email.

7.) Further information

RCN resources:

Immigration Advice Service  

External resources:

Sopra Steria UKVCAS services website 


We're here for you

If you're an RCN member needing advice on immigration matters, please contact the RCN Advice Team.