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How to apply for a UK spouse visa from Australia

22 January 2020 Jack Freeland Blog

Australian nationals who want to come to the UK as the spouse or partner of a British citizen, or someone settled in the UK, will need to apply for a visa before coming to the UK. Any other non-EU nationals living in Australia will need to follow the same process. Below we examine the second stage of the submission process for all applicants applying for a UK family visa from Australia and provide some helpful pointers in navigating the heavily criticised VFS Global website.

All spouse and family visa applications are commenced through the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. Once the correct application has been filled in, paid for and submitted with UKVI, the applicant will be redirected to the VFS Global website to complete the second stage of the submission process – booking a biometric appointment and providing supporting documents. VFS Global is the commercial partner assigned to help administrate the submission of UK spouse visa applications in Australia. For more information about the 2 commercial partners who administrate all UKVI applicants please see here and here.

Having navigated our way through the process numerous times before, we summarise and provide useful guidance on the submission steps below.

Submission with VFS Global

After you submit the application on the UKVI website, you will also be given a 16 digit Unique Application Number (UAN) and you will be redirected to a confirmation page asking you to complete the ‘next steps’ of submission. It is at this point where you will be required to register with VFS Global and book your appointment. You can do this by clicking the button below.

The submission procedure thereafter differs depending on where in Australia you are applying from.

If you are applying from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra you will need to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

If you are applying from Adelaide or Hobart you will need to book an appointment at the Australian Department of Home Affairs Offices located in Adelaide or Hobart.

Applying through a VAC (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra)

If you are applying through a VAC, you have 3 options for providing your supporting documents:

  • Self-upload scanned copies of the supporting evidence to the VFS online portal. This is generally the preferred method for submitting supporting evidence as it eliminates the need to have paper copies of all of the evidence with the applicant in Australia. It also ensures that the applicant is satisfied that all of the evidence has been uploaded in the correct format. However, the VFS online document portal is extremely difficult to manage and the majority of complaints about the VFS service relate to the abysmal document upload portal.
  • You also have the option to bring along paper copies of all of your supporting evidence to your appointment, to be scanned by a member of staff at the VAC. Whilst this may sound like the easiest option, it will involve spending more time at the VAC and also does not ensure that you are satisfied with the evidence that has been uploaded for you on your behalf. There have been cases in the past where evidence has been incorrectly scanned by VFS staff resulting in a refusal from UKVI because certain documents were not submitted.
  • Finally, UK spouse visa applicants can have their UK based sponsor or agent submit the supporting documents on their behalf in the UK for a fee of £75 per application.

You must then attend your appointment at the VAC on your chosen date where you will be asked to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph). If you have self-uploaded your documents, you must attend with a copy of your online application form as well as your original current passport.

Your passport will be retained by the VAC until a decision is made on your application. You will then be asked to uplift your passport from the VAC. If your application is successful, your passport will now contain your new entry clearance vignette valid for entry to the UK.

Applying from Adelaide or Hobart

Applicants should attend their appointment on the chosen date to provide their biometrics. All applicants should bring a copy of their application form and their original current passport along with them. In terms of submitting the remaining supporting evidence, the same 3 options apply, but the procedures differ slightly:

  • For those wishing to self-upload documents, you will still need to post a copy of your application form, your original current passport and a pre-paid return envelope to the VFS Hub in Sydney within 5 days of your biometric appointment. It is located at UK Visa Application Centre (VFS Global), GPO Box 2718, Sydney NSW 2000.
  • If you would like to have your documents scanned for you at your appointment, again you will need to post a copy of your application form, your original current passport and a pre-paid return envelope to the VFS Hub in Sydney within 5 days of your biometric appointment.
  • And again, if your UK based sponsor or agent is submitting your supporting documents in the UK, you will need to post a copy of your application form, your original current passport and a pre-paid return envelope to the VFS Hub in Sydney within 5 days of your biometric appointment.

Your passport will then be returned to you (using a pre-paid shipping label). If your application is successful, your passport will now contain your new entry clearance vignette valid for entry to the UK.

Our immigration solicitors have assisted with many applications for family visas from Australia and we have a wealth of experience navigating the tricky submission procedures. If you would like help applying for your family visa from Australia, please do not hesitate to contact us for expert advice and assistance.

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