UK Visa and Immigration to charge just to email them!

Contacting the UK Visas and Immigration agency just got a little more expensive. Starting recently (exact date unknown) The UKVI have begun to charge people £5.48 just to email them. According to their website:

This is despite:

  • Regularly ignoring the 6 month time limit to decide EEA-route applications, with some applications taking over one year. This was pre-Brexit, and it's now a lot worse.
  • Charging £65 for a UK residence card under EEA treaty rules and being completely opaque about how they arrived at that number.
  • The Home Office unlawfully denying Treaty rights to EEA citizens who gained UK citizenship 
  • Already charging £1.37 per minute on top of the standard network fees for telephone calls.

I have had nothing but bad experiences trying to contact the UKVI. They appeared to not know many of the UK laws and told me to apply for things like an EEA Family Permit for my partner even though this was confirmed to be illegal by the European Court of Justice, a case which brought significant media publicity. (There was no actual change in EU laws in that case – the UK just blatantly ignored Article 5, paragraph 2. You can see what to do here.)


About Tim

Tim is a Chartered Engineer and a typical nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

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  1. You should see fees for non EU citizens.They’re extortionate and are only going to get worse. Thank God we only have 1 more to do.

  2. Yes it amazing . I called the visa help line when helping my wife visa. They charge one pound 37 p a min. And now they even want a 20 pound payment before they start the per min charge. A total rip of

  3. My husband is in the process of trying to get his visa. They do not email back within 2 working days, will charge you again when you try to call them and any follow up emails are charged again at £5.48! It’s clear the people have no idea what is going on and are absolutely no help on the phone. All they say is to refer to the website. It seems all they can do is cause extreme stress to families who are trying to live together.

    • Sting the UKVI with credit card chargebacks as they have breached their contract to reply within 2 days. Please also report this to the watchdog

  4. Visa applications to the UK are an absolute rip off. Over the last few years they have increased over 400% plus additional charges. No wonder we are called RIP OFF BRITAIN

  5. I am from a Non EU country and a French resident. I had to request a VISA from France for business purposes. On top of the fact I had to pay a fortune (because I am staying a day and had to apply for a less than 6 months visa for 105Euros) I had a meeting scheduled and I was told when arriving to their center that it was mandatory that I pay 80 euros for a so called premium lounge (when there is no premium service at all and even worst because the person handling my file failed to enter it in the system and had me sitting there for over an hour before I realize that this was not normal and had to flag it !!! for me to finally be considered). On the bill it is indicated as a walk in service when in fact I had an appointed. I have also noticed other people paid the same price regardless they had a scheduled meeting or not . when I flagged it the answer was it s mandatory!!! OK!!
    because I was travelling I had to keep my passport. To do so I had to pay another 60.3 euros to keep my passport !!!)
    Some other people to have a return under 15 days had to pay over 200Euros on top of the visa fee and their so called walk in premium lounge thing
    I ve never experienced such things with other countries where I need visas ( for ex USA or CAN) it’s outrageous!!! never was fond of the UK but now i’ll just say no comment

  6. And oh don’t forget that their payment partner Worldpay sucks, too. When trying to pay for a visa application, all I got was a “the payment was refused by your card provider” result and an email saying “the payment for your application was refused by your card provider. Your card has not been charged.You should return to your booking to try again or use a different card”.

    But all my cards were charged 10 times in total for an application that didn’t even proceed to the next step of having an appointment!

    And on top of that, they ask you to use an archaic version of a browser when applying for a visa online.

    • Any update on this?
      I have been running into the same problem since a fortnight ago. Paid to email, and was told to change browsers, still not working and also tried with different credit cards. My partner used the same computer and credit card and it worked.
      The email person just said sorry please refer to the website.
      I would love to hear what else people have tried.

          • Thanks for the reply. My credit cards haven’t been yet charged and I haven’t got any confirmation they will be deducted, but do you think it will be deducted eventually and I need try to stop all transactions?

      • They couldn’t pinpoint the problem and they had to escalate me to different persons in charge. In the end, I had to request for a refund that took them 3 weeks to finally process, just in time before the charges were finalized on my credit card statements.

        All I can say is that their visa application system is erratic and their personnel incompetent.

        • Completely agree. I Also need 600dollars if refund. Could you please suggest how you contacted them for refund? Did you email? I’m worried if I pay for their email address the same thing is gonna happen.

          • When I complained over the phone (separate charges apply, of course), they decided to send me an email containing a template for an email refund request since I couldn’t even access the online refund request page. They told me to request for a refund using that email template so I was not charged for email inquiry.

  7. I think the consumer protection body or which ever organization with the mandate should step in to ensure the UKVI is not abusing their power to extort money from people with their new charges to contact them. I cancelled an application and its been over 2 months, no refund is made. Paid 6.4 euros to email them and have followed with 3 calls costing me over 20 euros in total. its like when you call the play delay tactics by asking you questions in thick UK accent that you have to keep asking them to repeat themselves and each time I call I happen to answer questions I expect them to have in their system.

  8. How do I send follow up emails quoting the enquiry reference number? I just replied to their email like the usual way through email but it seems they haven’t received it. I got an email that they havent received any information from me. But i had already sent.
    Should I use the form again and pay for the follow up email too?

  9. After waiting for 6 months for my spouse i decided to email tbe home office they charged me £5.48 and told me they would get back to me within 2 working days tbey breached that no one got back to me so i sent then another email from my wife again £5.48 same generic email computer generated will get back in 2 days nothing happened.
    Now i rang tben 10 days ago they charged me £ 1.48 per min plus network charges to talk to them i told tgen i have been waiting 6 months without any feed back they say 60 days but it had been 6 months people who applied long after me got their visa and theur spouse has joined them now after talking to them for 15 min they told me imy wife will get a decision within 15 working days and 10 working days have gone with out any reply i will wait another 5 days and see what will happen i have no faith the home office are abusing the authority and its just a big money makinb scam they can not justify the extorshinate amounts they charge for an overseas application watchdag should fine tben heavely and charges need to come down considrably they are keeping familys apart for months on end they do not care the slightest i woukd like to see them being apart ftom their wifes or husbands for many months and they will look at ann application to find out a slight mistake only to reject it so that we can reaply again thats more money fir them its a total Rip off and should pay back some of the money which they are stealing from vunrable people students old people its disghusting and shameful some thing should be done about this its against humn rights.
    People are very angry as to how they process applications which take many many months and not the time frame they say…..

  10. Its been 6 months for my wifes visa and no sign of the home office replying i emailed twice which they charged me £5.48 each which is a totol rip off they send a vcomputer generated email back saying we will get back in 2 days which is a total lie i then telephoned the visa section they asked me for my credit card because they will not speak too any one with out you paying them this is really out of order just a money making scam by the home office we have allready paid £4000 in visa application fees and this service should be free not a paid scam service there is no other place where you can find out about your visa.
    This is very humiluating for familys they do as they please and tge hoome office are looking for the slightest thing to reject your case so that you can pay then again they are abusing Authority and no one speaks up they are making familys suffer who are apart just because these people in the home office want to make money its absolutely disgusting its worse than a 3rd world country tryimg to siphen money from vunrible people total rip off.
    I am still waiting after they told me on the phone that we woulld get a decision within 15 days time but as yet nothing.

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