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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Can I still attend my biometric appointment?

05 January 2021 Iain Halliday Blog

With the New Year comes another UK-wide lockdown.

In Scotland, this has come in the form of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 10) Regulations 2021.

Despite the lockdown, the UK Visa Citizenship and Application Service centre in Glasgow, operated by Sopra Steria, remains open. Anyone with a biometric appointment booked already can attend their appointment as usual, and it will continue to be possible to book and attend appointments (if you are lucky enough to find one available!) throughout the lockdown.

The centre in Glasgow is the only “core” centre at which free appointments can be booked. There are “Enhanced Service points” in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The Aberdeen centre is closed until 18 January 2021. The Edinburgh centre appears to still be open (albeit there seems to be very few appointments available). Even at the core centre in Glasgow it can be difficult to get appointment, however new appointments are added each day so it is always worth checking regularly.

Under the above lockdown rules you cannot leave your home without a reasonable excuse. The following is specifically provided as an example of a reasonable excuse:

“to…access public services, including any of the following, where it is not possible for the person to do so from the place where the person is living…

              …(iv) asylum and immigration services and interviews”

As such, if you want to attend your appointment, you can do so without breaching the lockdown rules as you are accessing an immigration service.

You may wish to cancel and rearrange the appointment. This is also perfectly acceptable. The Home Office website continues to state that:

“If you cannot attend an appointment because of coronavirus, this will not affect your immigration status. You’ll need to attend an appointment at a later date”

So if you are in a high-risk category, or would prefer not to travel at the moment, you can cancel your appointment and re-arrange if you wish. This must be done at least 48 hours before your appointment.

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