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BIOMETRICS - UKVCAS / Sopra Steria site - are there any alternatives?

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  • BIOMETRICS - UKVCAS / Sopra Steria site - are there any alternatives?

    Just wondered if anyone else has had problems with this site? We just finished and paid for my wife's FLR(M) visa application and were directed to book a biometric test. I found some slots for just the biometric service for 4 weeks' time. Went to make a coffee and returned to find the 'Locations' page is no longer linked the booking forms for the individual sites, and the only appointments available are the VIP service at £138. Only contact is through a call service charged at 4p per minute plus network charges (37p per minute). Strikes me it's a bit of a money making thing.

  • #2
    New biometrics appointment slots are released every day at around 9am for 28 days forward. The free appointments offered at the Sopra Steria/UKVCAS core service centres tend to be snapped up very quickly. All that I can suggest is to keep trying at around 9am each morning.

    The money making aspect of Sopra Steria's contract with UKVI and the fees charged are currently under scrutiny by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration as part of his review into UKVI's so-called Front End Services (FES). This FES review began last autumn and I made a submission regarding the fees and the appointments system. Sopra Steria's fees and the poor availability of free biometrics appointments have also been criticised by the Law Society, the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA) and several MPs.
    "I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men" Sir Isaac Newton

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    • #3
      Originally posted by PEL2112UK View Post
      Just wondered if anyone else has had problems with this site? We just finished and paid for my wife's FLR(M) visa application and were directed to book a biometric test. I found some slots for just the biometric service for 4 weeks' time. Went to make a coffee and returned to find the 'Locations' page is no longer linked the booking forms for the individual sites, and the only appointments available are the VIP service at £138. Only contact is through a call service charged at 4p per minute plus network charges (37p per minute). Strikes me it's a bit of a money making thing.
      We've just been through the process, I posted this in answer to someone else on another thread. Clear your browsing data and try again later/tomorrow. That's what we did.

      You have approximately 30 daysfrom the completion of the FLR application (ie payment of IHS charge and visa fee) to complete the biometric test (we completed my wife's FLR(M) yesterday, our deadline for biometrics and submission of documents is 30th May). You can upload all your documents via the UKVCAS website up to 48 hours before your appointment, or take it with you to the test centre to be scanned there. Better to upload via the website, you can do it in chunks and return to it up to 48 hours before your appointment,

      We completed my wife's FLR(M) yesterday, we booked the biometric test today (the UKVCAS website was having a bit of a wobble yesterday) for 20th May in Cardiff. There appears to be a 3 week wait for appointments for a biometric test. we didn't bother with the Premium Lounge or VIP service.

      Depending on location (Enhanced Service Point - once transferred to the UKVCAS website, click the "Book now..." link, pop in your postcode and you're given 5 or 6 locations) the tests before 10:00am(-ish) and after 4:00pm(-ish) are £138, the appointments in between those times priced at £71.50. We're in Bristol but we selected Cardiff to get the biometrics done a week earlier, at the £71.50 price. I hope it helps.

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      • #4
        Sorry to hijack the thread, but felt it wasnt worth starting my own. Phil, we applied for my wife's ILR in February and were told at the time that there is roughly a six month wait for the visa to be approved. We were told to book an appointment, but there was literally nothing available at the time, and I assumed it might be the same score as when she recently did a FLR and was told she can just reuse her old biometric information due to the covid issue. But now i have checked again and there are appointments available. Great. But where did you find out about this 30 day deadline?! I haven't read anything like that, and it's been a lot longer since we applied for the visa!

        I'm reluctant to book one of those stupid appointments if I have to pay for the privelige of having to take a day off work and take my wife to the closest centre! But if there is no alternative I will have to suck it up I suppose.

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        • #5
          Hi Matt

          Your wife will need to attend a biometrics appointment for her ILR application to be complete (I'm assuming that you've already uploaded the specified evidence on the UKVCAS web site?).

          According to the Sopra Steria/UKVCAS 30th April update:

          "New appointments released each day 28 days in advance

          Our booking calendar shows 4 weeks of appointments with a new date added each day.

          We offer a mix of free and chargeable appointments.

          Currently, free appointments are released into our booking system at 9am, 28 days in advance.

          Free appointments do get booked up very quickly so you may need to book a few weeks ahead to find the right appointment for you
          ."

          Regarding a 30 day deadline (which I haven't heard of and I can't find any trace of this either), I wouldn't worry as the UKVI completed/submitted application "What to do next" page gives a target date around two months ahead IIRC and says, "You must book and attend an appointment with UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) to provide your evidence and biometrics (fingerprints and facial photograph). We will send you a reminder after this date if you have not attended an appointment (my emphasis)."

          Regarding ILR timelines, Nok applied for ILR in May 2020 and was approved in October 2020 - we couldn't get a biometrics appointment until September 2020 due to the great covid shutdown. So the whole ILR process under these exceptional circumstances took 6 months. She then applied for naturalisation in October 2020 (yes, yet another biometrics appointment needed - December was the earliest we could get) and this was granted in February 2021. Her citizenship ceremony takes place in two weeks which will be followed by her application for a UK passport.

          Good luck!
          "I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men" Sir Isaac Newton

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          • #6
            Thanks very much Tom. Excellent info that gives me a good idea of timelines! I will get the appointment booked up ASAP. I was just surprised earlier when I saw there were actually appointments available after seeing nothing form months now.

            Thanks again and I am glad the saga is coming to and end for you and Nok! Haha, hopefully we wont be too far behind you!

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            • #7
              Please can i ask if they are still offering the super priority service, and at what stage would you see this available ?. This is for an indefinate leave to remain visa.

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              • #8
                Yes, you can now apply for a SET(M) application (= Indefinite Leave to Remain) to have a decision offered by the end of the next working day. See here: https://www.gov.uk/faster-decision-v...-inside-the-uk

                You can chose this additional £800 fee "super priority" option when you come to make payment at the final stage of the UKVI SET(M) online application process.

                Note that "end of the next working day" means after attending and submitting biometrics etc. at the Sopra Steria/UKVCAS appointment on a working day or two working days if the appointment is at a weekend or on a bank holiday
                "I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men" Sir Isaac Newton

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                • #9


                  Hi, I only asked as it had one option to pay, which was the standard service @£2408.20 at the final stage.
                  Last edited by Tom & Nok; 5 May 2021, 06:00. Reason: Deleted unnecessary repetition of whole of immediately preceding post

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                  • #10
                    Hi leshemp.

                    Although the main web site has definitely been updated and shows that the super priority option is available once again for ILR applications, from what you say it seems as though UKVI hasn't yet updated that part of the SET(M) online application form. As you know, the priority and super priority options were temporarily suspended last March due to the covid lockdown.
                    "I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men" Sir Isaac Newton

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom & Nok View Post
                      Hi leshemp.

                      Although the main web site has definitely been updated and shows that the super priority option is available once again for ILR applications, from what you say it seems as though UKVI hasn't yet updated that part of the SET(M) online application form. As you know, the priority and super priority options were temporarily suspended last March due to the covid lockdown.
                      Hi, Thanks for your help. I waited until 1am this morning to check , and jackpot was available to book. Just need to go through now to the next stage.

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