Overseas visa applications: What if you are unable to travel to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) for your biometrics?

May 15, 2023

As part of the visa application process, the visa applicant must in most cases attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to have their biometrics taken. The rule generally is that the application will not begin unless the biometrics data have been submitted.

Since May 2023, it is possible however to delay attending a VAC where it is deemed unsafe to do so. For this the applicant must contact the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to request that the latter predetermines the application before the biometrics is taken, or to excuse the applicant from the requirement to attend a VAC to enrol their biometrics and defer the requirement to enrol their biometrics on or after their arrival in the UK.

Before contacting the UKVI, the applicant must demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to complete their biometrics including:

  • Delaying their journey until it is safe to travel
  • Looking for an alternative VAC for them to attend
  • Paying for the Priority Visa or Super-Priority if available for a faster decision
  • Opting to keep their passport while applying.

Decision makers must consider all 4 criteria listed below and only agree to predetermine an application or excuse individuals from the requirement to attend a VAC to enrol their biometric information where they can demonstrate they meet all 4 criteria as follows:

  1. The applicant’s identity must be certain to a reasonable degree
  2. The applicant must provide evidence that travelling to a VAC would be unsafe and that they cannot delay their application.
  3. The circumstances are so compelling as to make them exceptional such that their presence in the UK is required urgently for example the UK sponsor requires full-time care.
  4. The applicant must confirm that they want to be excused from attending a VAC or whether they are willing to attend an alternative VAC.

Where an applicant is excused from attending a VAC for their biometrics, the individual must arrange for their identification documentation such as their passport to be sent to the VAC where they would normally attend.

For further information please contact us at

Get in touch for more information

Our latest news

Birchin Court, 20 Birchin Lane, London, EC3V 9DJ

T:  +44 (0)20 7993 6923
1 Maiden Lane,  5th Floor,  New York NY 10038

2503 Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Road, Hong Kong
© Copyright 2022 - Bonheurlegal - All Rights Reserved
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram