Author Topic: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment  (Read 8761 times)

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Offline KFdancer

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2017, 04:08:33 PM »
Wow... Larrabee and KSand24, thanks for your replies! I figured the online application process was somewhat new but didn't realize the gold priority service had only just started. I will definitely keep everyone posted as our application makes its way through the system.

We too felt it was a truly excessive amount of documentation but trusted our solicitor, as they came recommended from the University of Leeds, where my partner starts as faculty in January. We've been in a relationship for four years and living together for over three. The documentation was a challenge since our house here in the states is in my name and we never bothered updating the utility accounts, getting paper bills, etc. We included letters of support from our families, our Facebook.com/US feed, hundreds of photos captioned and dated, proof of joint travel to a dozen countries plus domestic airline tickets as well as bank statements, joint credit card bills, car insurance, W2s, paystubs, and other random official correspondence plus some online insurance printouts which they may just ignore. I suppose this strategy could backfire since it'll take a while to go through but we figured it'd be better to go overboard. It might've been easier just to get married, but we want to do it properly and didn't want to be pushed into it for immigration purposes; moreover we thought it'd be suspicious if we did it right before applying for a visa.

We did get an email from Sheffield in less than 24 hours after the appointment in DC, saying:

"Your online application has been received at the UK Decision Making Centre.  Your application is currently being prepared for consideration by an Entry Clearance Officer."

Fingers crossed!

-Kelvin

Yeah, you didn’t need all that.  As long as UKVI can find the required documents amongst the others, you’ll be fine.  But I see why they wanted you to leave it with them and not have you wait while they scanned 800 pages.   ;)

I’m hopeful you and Dani hear before Christmas!   :)

Offline ksand24

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2017, 04:17:45 PM »
Wow... Larrabee and KSand24, thanks for your replies! I figured the online application process was somewhat new but didn't realize the gold priority service had only just started. I will definitely keep everyone posted as our application makes its way through the system.

Good luck with your application :).

The online application process is not new though - it was already in place when I joined the forum 11 years ago. The regular settlement priority service was introduced about 7 years ago, but the Gold one for settlement visas is brand new, introduced on 15th November 2017. The other premium services have been around for a few months or so, but this one is new.

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We too felt it was a truly excessive amount of documentation but trusted our solicitor, as they came recommended from the University of Leeds, where my partner starts as faculty in January. We've been in a relationship for four years and living together for over three.

Honestly, we're a little wary of lawyers here on the forum because many people have been given extremely bad advice by them because they didn't know what they were talking about. While a lawyer recommended by Leeds University is likely to know a fair amount about work visas and student visas, they may not be as knowledgeable about an unmarried partner visa.

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We included letters of support from our families, our Facebook.com/US feed, hundreds of photos captioned and dated, proof of joint travel to a dozen countries plus domestic airline tickets

Sadly, none of the above was necessary and it will only serve to clutter your application.
- They cannot consider letters of support from anyone but the UK partner, so none of those will be looked at.
- Only 1, maybe 2 photos are needed, just to prove you have met in person... any more than that is unnecessary. 
- None of the travel proof is needed because all you need to show is that you have been living together at the same address for at least 24 consecutive months.

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as well as bank statements, joint credit card bills, car insurance, W2s, paystubs, and other random official correspondence plus some online insurance printouts which they may just ignore.

Those are okay, but you only need maybe 3 or 4 documents each per year, approximately evenly-spaced, to show you were continuously living together for all 24 months.

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I suppose this strategy could backfire since it'll take a while to go through but we figured it'd be better to go overboard. It might've been easier just to get married, but we want to do it properly and didn't want to be pushed into it for immigration purposes; moreover we thought it'd be suspicious if we did it right before applying for a visa.

While it won't affect the visa outcome, the problem with going overboard is that your important documents may get lost or overlooked amongst all the hundreds of unneccessary bits, and could potentially cause an incorrect refusal. Plus, it can take longer for your application to be processed because of all the documents they have to go through.

It's just a tick box visa... you don't get a bigger tick for sending more than you needed to. For example, they just need to tick that you sent at least one photo of you together. So, if you sent 1 photo or 500 photos, you still get just that one tick. Same for letters... they need to tick that the UK sponsor included a letter of support. You get the required tick for that letter, but you don't get a tick for any other letters.

Oh, also, I just thought of those poor people in DC who would have had to scan every one of your 800 pages to send to Sheffield!

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We did get an email from Sheffield in less than 24 hours after the appointment in DC, saying:

"Your online application has been received at the UK Decision Making Centre.  Your application is currently being prepared for consideration by an Entry Clearance Officer."

That's good - I guess if they scanned everything, it would have been received right away rather than having to wait for everything to be mailed to Sheffield :).

Fingers crossed for a quick decision.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 04:19:24 PM by ksand24 »

Offline larrabee

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2017, 04:59:18 PM »
I will definitely keep everyone posted as our application makes its way through the system.

Yes, please do, it's incredibly helpful to get this kind of feedback!  Best of luck!  ;D
March 29th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).

Offline Dani1983

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2017, 07:20:16 PM »
Thanks so much for the report Dani!

Did you leave your current passport there then?

In your opinion, what kind of turnaround time will you deem good value for money?  The most recent priority decisions have been 14-20 business days.

How long was your appointment?

You were very prepared and I know would have kept a lot of documentation to a minimum.  I wonder what their reaction would be to some of the people who have had lawyers advise sending hundreds of photos?  And we had someone say their application weighed 11 pounds before!

I did end up just leaving my passport rather than having to send it or take it back out there. I don't actually need it for anything at the moment so that was never really a perk for me. I still wanted to find out for others how it worked though.

Honestly, with the other premium services claiming 24-hours, I think to say a 10 business day max for that money is more than fair. I'm not expecting that, but it doesn't seem unreasonable. I have received an e-mail from Sheffield that they are preparing to process my application. It was sent 13 hours after my appointment.

The appointment was exactly 1 hour. We used every minute of it so I have no idea what it would look like for someone who didn't have the resources that I did, coming in less prepared, or as you mentioned, possibly with way more stuff.  :-\\\\


Settlement - Gold Priority Timeline:

Online application: Nov. 27, 2017
Biometrics & document submission: Nov. 29, 2017
Documents received by Sheffield: Nov. 30, 2017
Decision e-mail:




Offline KFdancer

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2017, 07:32:59 PM »
I did end up just leaving my passport rather than having to send it or take it back out there. I don't actually need it for anything at the moment so that was never really a perk for me. I still wanted to find out for others how it worked though.

Honestly, with the other premium services claiming 24-hours, I think to say a 10 business day max for that money is more than fair. I'm not expecting that, but it doesn't seem unreasonable. I have received an e-mail from Sheffield that they are preparing to process my application. It was sent 13 hours after my appointment.

The appointment was exactly 1 hour. We used every minute of it so I have no idea what it would look like for someone who didn't have the resources that I did, coming in less prepared, or as you mentioned, possibly with way more stuff.  :-\\\\

My hope for you is that it’s one week.  So next Wednesday.  There’s where I would say good value for money.  But we’ll be able to best compare when we find someone who submits visa traditional priority route and we can compare.

Thank you for being our guinea pig and keeping us informed.  It’s the only way we can learn!   :D

Offline Dani1983

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2017, 07:39:10 PM »

So they only took the top sheet of the online application.. did they scan the rest of the application? Or they didn't even bother with it at all ?

They didn't scan the printout of the online application at all beyond the top page.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 10:14:35 PM by Dani1983 »
Settlement - Gold Priority Timeline:

Online application: Nov. 27, 2017
Biometrics & document submission: Nov. 29, 2017
Documents received by Sheffield: Nov. 30, 2017
Decision e-mail:




Offline Dani1983

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2017, 07:55:04 PM »
My hope for you is that it’s one week.  So next Wednesday.  There’s where I would say good value for money.  But we’ll be able to best compare when we find someone who submits visa traditional priority route and we can compare.

Thank you for being our guinea pig and keeping us informed.  It’s the only way we can learn!   :D

If it's one week, I will be over the moon! I agree that it would be worth the money then haha. My first settlement visa was in my hands in 14 business days. Back when priority was I think something like $150?   [smiley=laugh3.gif]

I'm glad to have a chance to share info. for once!
Settlement - Gold Priority Timeline:

Online application: Nov. 27, 2017
Biometrics & document submission: Nov. 29, 2017
Documents received by Sheffield: Nov. 30, 2017
Decision e-mail:




Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2017, 09:06:58 PM »
It's odd they didnt seem to want all the documentation including the entire application.. but if it's for faster service then the price seem to be already worth it ! Hopefully next week I'll get all my husbands paperwork .. hopefully NYC isn't backed up with this so I can get in and out ..

Hope you hear from them soon !!!!!
US girl met UK guy
Met Husband at England Rugby World Cup Oct 2015
Got engaged in Germany in July 2017
Got married in Philadelphia Oct 2017
Applying for Spouse visa for the UK
Application paid December 17th 2017
Bometrics booked for Dec 22nd 2017
Package sent off to Sheffield Dec 23rd 2017(priority)
Package recieved In Sheffield Dec 27th 😬🤞🏻
Decision email sent Jan 17th 2018 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2017, 10:36:05 AM »
Just wondering if there was Any word yet ?!
US girl met UK guy
Met Husband at England Rugby World Cup Oct 2015
Got engaged in Germany in July 2017
Got married in Philadelphia Oct 2017
Applying for Spouse visa for the UK
Application paid December 17th 2017
Bometrics booked for Dec 22nd 2017
Package sent off to Sheffield Dec 23rd 2017(priority)
Package recieved In Sheffield Dec 27th 😬🤞🏻
Decision email sent Jan 17th 2018 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼

Offline FLgator86

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2017, 11:59:40 AM »
Just wondering if there was Any word yet ?!

Morning Soccer4ja9!

I don't know about Dani but nothing yet for me. I will say that if I don't hear back this week, the extra money for Gold definitely won't have been worth it. I'll post an update as soon as I hear from Sheffield.
Gold Service Priority Settlement Visa FLR(UP)

Applied from : Washington D.C.
Priority : Yes (VFS Gold Premuim)
Online Application: Nov 17th 2017
Appointment at PAC: Nov 29th 2017
Documents rcv'd by Sheffield: Nov 30th 2017
Decision Made Email: Jan 5th 2018
Passport sent to PAC for vignette:  Jan 8th 2018
Passport rcv'd with vignette: Jan 13th 2018

±25 BD for a decision

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2017, 12:16:47 PM »
Morning Soccer4ja9!

I don't know about Dani but nothing yet for me. I will say that if I don't hear back this week, the extra money for Gold definitely won't have been worth it. I'll post an update as soon as I hear from Sheffield.


Good morning !!
   Well hopefully you hear something soon .. 1,600 is a lot of money for a normal priority process .. I'm still going back and forth  on doing it myself ..

Did u have the same experience as dani ? Did they only take the top page of your application? And tell u they didn't want things u needed ? I honestly am torn on what to do

But I'm wishing both you the best of luck and hopefully you hear something soon !!!!!!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 12:18:32 PM by Soccer4ja9 »
US girl met UK guy
Met Husband at England Rugby World Cup Oct 2015
Got engaged in Germany in July 2017
Got married in Philadelphia Oct 2017
Applying for Spouse visa for the UK
Application paid December 17th 2017
Bometrics booked for Dec 22nd 2017
Package sent off to Sheffield Dec 23rd 2017(priority)
Package recieved In Sheffield Dec 27th 😬🤞🏻
Decision email sent Jan 17th 2018 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼

Offline FLgator86

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2017, 12:40:17 PM »

Good morning !!
   Well hopefully you hear something soon .. 1,600 is a lot of money for a normal priority process .. I'm still going back and forth  on doing it myself ..

Did u have the same experience as dani ? Did they only take the top page of your application? And tell u they didn't want things u needed ? I honestly am torn on what to do

I wasn't thrilled with our experience. They definitely didn't give me a sense of confidence that they knew what they were doing. I wish I'd found this forum before applying - we might've skipped the lawyer and the gold priority. The guy that took our paperwork assured me they would scan everything and organize it into the requisite categories by barcode. They refused to go through it with us, even after handing over a brochure that said that was supposed to be a part of the service. He just said, oh you had a lawyer and you either have everything in this package or you don't - no point in going through it now. We were pretty flabbergasted. They didn't even have us go into a room - just took everything and asked us a couple questions while we were kept in the waiting area with a bunch of other applicants - mostly students. They then had me do the biometrics half an hour later. Oh I also had to ask them about the text messaging service with status alerts (also on the brochure). I have yet to receive a message from VFS - just the receipt email from Sheffield.

For as much as they charged us, it was a joke. The proof is in the pudding though. Like I said, if I hear back this week, it will have been worth it. The one plus is that they let me hold onto my passport so we'll both get to fly over for Christmas even if I don't hear back on the visa by then. Still waiting on our lawyer to confirm that's kosher. I also have my professional review interview in London during this trip to become a chartered engineer, which was really why I had to hold onto the passport.

Bottom line - I agree with Dani that you have to do your homework and ensure everything's in order before setting foot there. If we hadn't worked with a lawyer, I'd probably be a lot more stressed right now. If we weren't in such a rush, with my partner starting work in Leeds in less than a month - I 100% would not have shelled out the extra $600.
Gold Service Priority Settlement Visa FLR(UP)

Applied from : Washington D.C.
Priority : Yes (VFS Gold Premuim)
Online Application: Nov 17th 2017
Appointment at PAC: Nov 29th 2017
Documents rcv'd by Sheffield: Nov 30th 2017
Decision Made Email: Jan 5th 2018
Passport sent to PAC for vignette:  Jan 8th 2018
Passport rcv'd with vignette: Jan 13th 2018

±25 BD for a decision

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2017, 12:59:48 PM »
Wow that sounds like a crap experience .. I'm so sorry that's happened .. I don't understand why the people who do this are so rushing with this process .. people are paying a lot of money for the service. I have a feeling because they deal with a lot of students they seem it's the same process as a settlement visa .. but I feel the settlement is a lot more work on both parties ends ...

Well hopefully you hear back soon .. the only reason I wanted to do this is because honestly im sick of paperwork I stare at it all day and if I could pay someone to go through it all for me and mail it out with a quicker result is good in my book but if they are jerking u around for a lot of extra money that's a load of crap .. again I'm so sorry it was such a crappy experience .. hoping u hear something soon so this could be somewhat worth the extra money !
US girl met UK guy
Met Husband at England Rugby World Cup Oct 2015
Got engaged in Germany in July 2017
Got married in Philadelphia Oct 2017
Applying for Spouse visa for the UK
Application paid December 17th 2017
Bometrics booked for Dec 22nd 2017
Package sent off to Sheffield Dec 23rd 2017(priority)
Package recieved In Sheffield Dec 27th 😬🤞🏻
Decision email sent Jan 17th 2018 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼

Offline larrabee

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2017, 01:40:25 PM »
They refused to go through it with us, even after handing over a brochure that said that was supposed to be a part of the service. He just said, oh you had a lawyer and you either have everything in this package or you don't - no point in going through it now.

This is appalling and not what you paid for at all.

They are absolutely supposed to go through everything, even help you with the forms. It says so right here.  https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/usa/pdf/S-Gold.pdf. Is that the brochure they gave you?

If they don't give you all of that, they are basically robbing you!

I can understand you not wanting to rock the boat while an application is in progress but I would absolutely make an official complaint about that once you have your visa.

March 29th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).

Offline FLgator86

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2017, 02:00:31 PM »
This is appalling and not what you paid for at all.

They are absolutely supposed to go through everything, even help you with the forms. It says so right here.  https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/usa/pdf/S-Gold.pdf. Is that the brochure they gave you?

If they don't give you all of that, they are basically robbing you!

I can understand you not wanting to rock the boat while an application is in progress but I would absolutely make an official complaint about that once you have your visa.

Yep, that's the same brochure they handed to me - right before refusing to do it. Oh believe me, I fully intend to complain to their feedback line and trash them on review sites... As far as I'm concerned it's a scam. I'm going to reserve final judgement until we get a decision though.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2017, 02:02:08 PM by FLgator86 »
Gold Service Priority Settlement Visa FLR(UP)

Applied from : Washington D.C.
Priority : Yes (VFS Gold Premuim)
Online Application: Nov 17th 2017
Appointment at PAC: Nov 29th 2017
Documents rcv'd by Sheffield: Nov 30th 2017
Decision Made Email: Jan 5th 2018
Passport sent to PAC for vignette:  Jan 8th 2018
Passport rcv'd with vignette: Jan 13th 2018

±25 BD for a decision