Recent changes to the fee structure of both onshore and offshore UK visa applications came into effect on Monday 6th April 2009, having initially been announced in February, and apply to all applicants looking to visit, work or stay in the UK, including fiancee, partner and marriage visa applications.
These fee changes are in direct response to the review conducted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regarding consular and visa services, with a general consensus reached that those that use the service should be covering the associated costs. Foreign Office Minister Gillian Merron explained, “It is right that those who benefit from consular services should meet the cost of them, rather than the UK taxpayer. The new fees represent the full economic cost of what we do, and will ensure that British missions continue to provide a high standard of service to consular customers.”
The fee changes will see the onshore further leave to remain FLR(M) applications increase considerably, from its previous GBP395 for postal applications up to GBP465. In-person UK FLR (M) applications, made at a Public Enquiry Office (PEO) will increase from GBP595 to GBP665. Onshore Indefinite Leave to Remain postal applications have also increased, from GBP750 to GBP820, with this application in-person at a PEO incurring a fee of GBP1020, up from the previous GBP950.
For offshore fiancee, spouse, and partner UK visa applications, there are also increased fees, going from GBP515 to GBP585. It is worth noting that a price has now been assigned to the out- of-hours service that is available at some posts, with an hourly charge of GBP128, up to a maximum daily charge of GBP922.
There is, however, no longer a fee associated with Certificate of Approval (COA) applications, from 9th April 2009 onwards, following a judgement made by the UK House of Lords. The UK Border Agency is currently discussing the implications of those that have already paid this fee, with an announcement expected soon.
There are a vast number of fee increases across the UK visa application and consular services spectrum, too, including some of those services that previously did not incur a cost, such as an onshore status letter for nationality or immigration, which now cost GPB75.
Passport application fees will remain at the current levels for those made in the UK, although passport applications made abroad, including those for emergency and temporary passports, have also increased. A new, secure and internationally-acceptable Emergency Travel Document is due to be introduced in 2009/10, at a cost to the individual of GBP89, and is designed to tessellate with commonly-held travel insurance, which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommend is held by all British Nationals when travelling overseas.