UK immigration: Russian applicants face 'lengthy delays'

The Russian Union of Travel Industry (RUTI) has reported that some applicants for UK visas in Russia have had to endure extremely long processing times for visas since Teleperformance Ltd, a new private sector partner, took over visa processing in March.

The RUTI says that some applicants are having to wait as long as 12 weeks for their visas to be processed. As the UK does not allow applicants to apply for visas until 12 weeks before the intended date of travel, this means that some applicants are unable to travel to the UK as planned as they have not received the visa in time for their trip.

UK visas and immigration has issued a statement warning applicants of the difficulty. It says 'We would like to remind customers to make their application as early as possible in advance of their proposed date of travel and also remind them of our longstanding advice that they should not commit to non-refundable travel costs until they have had a decision on their visa application'.

Delay certificates

The RUTI is pressing British immigration officials to issue 'delay certificates' to applicants whose visas are not ready in time for their planned departure date. Such a certificate would enable those with suitable insurance who suffer delay and losses due to slow visa processing times to claim on their insurance policy.

The UK government says that 97% of applications in Moscow are processed within ten days. Most applications are processed at the Visa Application Centre in Moscow. However, some visa applications are referred to the UK for processing; these applications can take a long time to process

Five visa application centres

The Moscow Times reports that the application problems at the UK's four other visa application centres in Russia, all run by Teleperformance, are worse. The four remaining centres are in
  • St Petersburg
  • Ekaterinburg
  • Rostov on Don and
  • Novosibirsk

The Moscow Times reports that only 40% of applications are processed within ten days in St Petersburg. In Rostov, only 29% are being processed in the ten day period.

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