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This has been a difficult and at times confusing process and I haven't applied for a UK visitor visa yet.

One of my friends just went to VFS and they told her it wasn't just biometrics and she had to bring all her supporting documents with her, including hotel and flight reservations.

Meanwhile, gov.uk says not to include hotel and flight reservations unless they asked for after sending the application and the other supportive documents. It also says that during the biometrics appointment, the applicant doesn't need to bring the supporting documents.

If anyone has experience with this, I'd love some help: what's the difference between applying for a UK visa through VFS and through gov.uk? Which is better and which is more recommended?

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If you apply for a UK visa in the USA, you do not need to visit VFS at all, unless you want a premium service.

Many people are confused because the normal directions for applying for a UK visa from the USA instruct people to give biometrics at a Department of Homeland Security Application Support Center. But between 1-18 April the ASCs were not taking biometrics, a major service disruption. During the disruption it was only possible to use a VFS premium service to apply for a UK visa in the USA. The ASC biometrics service has been restored on 18 April and normal visa processing is available again.

You should now follow the normal directions for applying for a UK visa from the USA. Do not go to VFS unless you have booked a premium service.

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