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Today (April 2nd 2019), my family had an appointment at USCIS ASC Washington location. At the appointment, we were told that ASC has suspended the processing of UK visa biometrics until further notice. We have a Schengen visa appointment date on April 29th so now we are not sure what our options are.

uk visa asc notice

Due to unanticipated events we are unable to accept UK visa applicants at this time. We are working closely with the UK to resolve this and hope to begin processing again soon. Affected customers should monitor the following web page, which will provide an alert when service has been restored, at which point you will be able to return to this ASC to complete your appointment.

  1. Does anyone know what these unanticipated events are?
  2. Do we have any other option to fast track UK visa?

And I am curious why we've received this updated only through some third party vendor (VFS global) and not through an official UK communication channel.

UPDATE:

We used the VFS Bronze package on 10th April 2019.

UPDATE 2: Received email from VFS that our passports are shipped(06th May 2019). Hopefully, we will receive it tomorrow.

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According to the VFS Global website:

Biometric enrolment services provided for UK visa customers at US Dept. of Homeland Security Application Support Centers (ASCs) are temporarily suspended. Work is ongoing to restore service as soon as possible – please monitor this page for updates.

Customers with ASC appointments this week are advised to monitor this page for updates to confirm that service has been restored, before travelling to their chosen ASC location.

If you are an affected customer and have missed your appointment due to this service interruption, you may present at your chosen ASC location on a ‘walk-in’ basis, as soon as you see the message on this page that service has been restored.

Normal service is in place across all 10 US VFS Premium Application Centres and available to all UK visa customers. Please note that services at these locations attract additional charges. Click ‘Premium Application Centres’ from the choices above for more information.

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    @Neena, yes at this point it's more like "Pay or Pray" situation. – Ads Apr 2 at 19:46
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IF you visit the link given in the letter you posted, you will see a link to a message about the disruption, which says in part:

Normal service is in place across all 10 US VFS Premium Application Centres and available to all UK visa customers. Please note that services at these locations attract additional charges. Click ‘Premium Application Centres’ from the choices above for more information.

This answers your second question.

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    Yes, I noticed that and it costs like $300 just to schedule the biometric appointment. – Ads Apr 2 at 14:46
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    @Ads I don't think there is any less costly way to expedite your visa application. – phoog Apr 2 at 14:50
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    I take that back, $300 option is not available at Washington or Newyork premium locations. Right now the bare minimum seems to be $1000+ dollars. :( – Ads Apr 2 at 14:55
  • It's May and I see no updates. What are people doing ? No one from USA has applied a single UK visa in the entire month of April ? – Anil May 2 at 3:42
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More information about this:

  • Article in the Guardian, 16 April 2019 says the problem arose because the UK missed a payment to USCIS. Specifically, it says that a UK payment didn't clear before its deadline. It doesn't explain how it is possible that such a problem could happen by mistake. It says that the alternative, applying at VFS premium application centers, can cost nearly $2,000 "for a fast-track service".

  • Post from BAL (law firm), 10 April 2019 explains that applicants can either wait for the problem to be resolved, or go to VFS premium application centers.

  • Given the UK government got itself into its state of total chaos, I'm not too surprised that this happened... – xuq01 May 7 at 8:01
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There are 4 solutions -

  1. If there's still a lot of time for travel, then wait for services to go back up.
  2. If you have time, then Create a new visa application, and use VFS premium ASC centre, and bronze service right away. Create a refund request for older application. Link for this would be on payment confirmation email.
  3. If short on time and in hurry, create new application and purchase silver package VFS for faster processing.
  4. If have 3-4 weeks before travelling, wait little longer for the service at ASC to go backup. Once it does, then buy the premium processing service ($289). Note this is not at premium location so do this ONLY if ASC service is back up. This will take 5-7 days for processing so you can make up for the lost time.

Hope this helps.

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    Thanks Ash. We need to process our Schengen visa which doesn't have any appointment dates till next month. So as of now, the only option will be to pay for VFS global(I am so curious to know how the technical glitch affects only the regular systems and not the VFS global systems). Regarding our point 4, where is this stated? Did a quick search but I was not able to find info regarding that. – Ads Apr 2 at 19:58
  • You can find the option 4 in your VFS account, under manage application. Go to your application and buy premium services. You wont be able to buy the bronze/silver package here but only premium processing at regular asc centre. So take this ONLY after asc service is Up. – Ash Apr 2 at 22:31
  • VFS account, I don't have one, I thought I don't have to involve VFS at any stage of my application till submission or pay any amount to a third party for a visitor visa. – Ads Apr 2 at 23:46
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    The issue is resolved now and you can go for biometrics at any USCIS. Please have the courtesy to answer the question once the issue is resolved. I read this post and thought its still not yet resolved. – Anil May 6 at 19:47
  • @Anil if you are sure that the issue is resolved, please feel free to post the link with the update it in the answer section. – Ads May 14 at 19:51

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