Author Topic: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment  (Read 14246 times)

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Offline Dani1983

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Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« on: November 30, 2017, 01:46:42 AM »
Had my appointment today and asked as much as I could. Tbh, I didn't get much info. but some stuff was definitely different.

Mine was the first Settlement visa to be processed at this location. They were clearly very well versed in the other types of visas offering this service but I'm not sure about how mine will go as it's so different.

First, we went through all of my original documents. I was able to keep those and gave them the copies I had already printed. They took everything to another room to scan. This is apparently how they are delivered to Sheffield though they were a little indirect about several things I asked.

I did sort of have to push some of my evidence to be included, and this is a little worrying. They really didn't want my cover/contents letter. I ended up having them hang on to it in case, but I know it's not a requirement anyway. They didn't need my passport photos at all. And I had to make sure they included the two photos of my husband and I. They also don't like to include expired passports BUT one contains my previous Settlement vignette that had been mentioned throughout my application so it was sort of at my discretion and he agreed it was best to include. I was never met with a "we know better than you" attitude and they were very kind, but said scanning the documents over has a category/barcode for each type of documentation and there was no place for the contents letter (ironically) and possibly not for the personal photos but I don't know that, I just insisted they be included.

What I did learn: They do apply the vignette in the local office. They let you keep the passport but you'd have to send it to them anyway and that seemed more of a pain to me. They didn't know whether or not you could enter the U.K. during the process but seemed to lean towards no.

I asked if this service is faster than standard priority processing and he said yes, and that this is the fastest way. I unfortunately didn't ask specifically if gold apps are bumped in front of priority and I'm annoyed about my wording. 

He did not think it was realistic to expect to be going before Christmas (mentioned maybe New Year) but I don't think he was totally aware of settlement processing times. We'll see.

At this point, I'm just hoping the proper evidence for MY visa was sent to Sheffield.

On another note, they do the biometrics right there in the office as stated and applicants must have it done there or re-apply. He said they get a lot of folks trying to do walk-in biometrics ahead of their appointments at other facilities, only to be given that news. So just a head's up to maybe be super specific when giving that advice now that this service is in play for Settlement.
Settlement - Gold Priority Timeline:

Online application: Nov. 27, 2017
Biometrics & document submission: Nov. 29, 2017
Documents received by Sheffield: Nov. 30, 2017
Decision email: Jan. 25, 2018
Passport received/Approval letter: Jan. 26. 2018

**38 Business Days for the $1600 Gold Service**

Offline Dani1983

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2017, 02:04:23 AM »
They also only took the top sheet of the printed online application, which freaked me out a bit. Said the online signature was enough and the two signed disclosure pages were covered by that. Seems right but it's nerve wracking when original documentation is so important.
Settlement - Gold Priority Timeline:

Online application: Nov. 27, 2017
Biometrics & document submission: Nov. 29, 2017
Documents received by Sheffield: Nov. 30, 2017
Decision email: Jan. 25, 2018
Passport received/Approval letter: Jan. 26. 2018

**38 Business Days for the $1600 Gold Service**

Offline evyf

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2017, 02:31:39 AM »
They also only took the top sheet of the printed online application, which freaked me out a bit. Said the online signature was enough and the two signed disclosure pages were covered by that. Seems right but it's nerve wracking when original documentation is so important.

wow this is all really surprising! I added my old passport as proof of where I had travelled to in the past ten years. Wonder why they didn't want it. It upsets me that they charge all this extra money for the service and its sooooo vague

Online larrabee

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2017, 03:52:10 AM »
Thank you very much for the report!

It sounds just like the service from some of the other countries, with the barcode separators and scanning the docs.. but they are charging you extra for it.

To be honest, them deciding at that point what you can and can't send would be enough to put me off right there.   
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

Offline Dani1983

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2017, 05:28:06 AM »
Thank you very much for the report!

It sounds just like the service from some of the other countries, with the barcode separators and scanning the docs.. but they are charging you extra for it.

To be honest, them deciding at that point what you can and can't send would be enough to put me off right there.

Yeah, I'm not totally confident and wasn't from the moment we stepped in, but at least I provided all of the correct documentation so they've got it on hand and I have it in my possession as well (I did leave my passports). He said that if anything was missing, he didn't know if I could bring it to the office or if I'd need to mail it to Sheffield. I told him nothing was missing lol.

Still holding out hope for some crazy fast turnaround and if that happens, I'll be able to vouch for Seattle at least. Applicants definitely still have to do most of the work before the appointment though.

Also to add, the office was pretty fancy and had a VIP vibe for sure. Having done biometrics myself at the other place, it's a pretty huge improvement. $600+ improvement though, remains to be seen, definitely not if they muck it up.

I'll be keeping everyone posted!
Settlement - Gold Priority Timeline:

Online application: Nov. 27, 2017
Biometrics & document submission: Nov. 29, 2017
Documents received by Sheffield: Nov. 30, 2017
Decision email: Jan. 25, 2018
Passport received/Approval letter: Jan. 26. 2018

**38 Business Days for the $1600 Gold Service**

Offline Dani1983

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2017, 05:42:16 AM »
wow this is all really surprising! I added my old passport as proof of where I had travelled to in the past ten years. Wonder why they didn't want it. It upsets me that they charge all this extra money for the service and its sooooo vague

The guy just said that they (sorry can't remember who he actually referred to) said to keep the number of passports to a minimum.  I guess maybe they don't want to scan all that extra? That would be annoying though! He actually said, "Do you have a compelling reason to include these (cancelled) passports?" and I explained, to which his immediate response was to include them to be safe.

But yeah, I have to say, they were evasive when asked direct questions but I'm not sure if it was because they didn't know or didn't want to say. OR didn't want to say they didn't know [smiley=laugh3.gif]
Settlement - Gold Priority Timeline:

Online application: Nov. 27, 2017
Biometrics & document submission: Nov. 29, 2017
Documents received by Sheffield: Nov. 30, 2017
Decision email: Jan. 25, 2018
Passport received/Approval letter: Jan. 26. 2018

**38 Business Days for the $1600 Gold Service**

Online KFdancer

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2017, 09:04:41 AM »
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! 

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 09:56:13 AM »
Thank you so much for the feedback .. now I'm a a little nervous to make this appointment in NYC ... i wonder why they kept trying to hand u back paperwork u needed ... and you just left your passport at the office with them anyway ? 
     I think I'm still going to do it ! Just waiting on my husbands new paperwork to be sent out to me !! 

Wishing you nothing but the best of luck !!!!!!!!  Keep us updated
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 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼
VISA APPROVED Jan 22nd
Cambridge here I come !!!

Offline Soccer4ja9

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2017, 10:02:07 AM »
They also only took the top sheet of the printed online application, which freaked me out a bit. Said the online signature was enough and the two signed disclosure pages were covered by that. Seems right but it's nerve wracking when original documentation is so important.


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 ?
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 😬😳🤞🏻🙏🙌🏼
VISA APPROVED Jan 22nd
Cambridge here I come !!!

Offline jfkimberly

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 01:22:24 PM »
I really feel like being their beta tester for this new "service", with all the uncertainty that it entails, you (and others applying before the kinks are worked out) shouldn't be charged the full fee.  It's an outrageous amount of money when you don't even know what you're getting.  Add in that they don't seem to know, either, and it's downright unconscionable.
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
8/5/2018 - ILR in person -- approved!

Offline FLgator86

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 03:27:55 PM »
Hi all! This is my first post on this forum. We just submitted our application for settlement (as unmarried partners) at the Premium VAC in Washington, DC yesterday (11/29/17). 

Thanks for describing your experience in Seattle, Dani. We tried to insist that we wanted to do through everything with them to make sure it was in good order but they insisted that we just leave it with them. They claimed they would send everything off that we provided but I was very uncomfortable being so hands-off. We had a solicitor help us put everything together, so we felt confident going in. After leaving the appointment, we're filled with doubts about their professionalism. The receptionist and security guard were totally disinterested in their jobs. The person that took our documents only seemed to want to do the bare minimum. If they include everything, as they promised, we should be okay (with supporting documentation totaling over 800 pages).

He said we should expect a response in six weeks. Our solicitor said before Christmas, which now seems dubious. He also said I could retain my passport and we'd be fine traveling to the UK for Christmas, while the application was  being processed in Sheffield.  We'll double check that with our solicitor before booking flights. Has anyone else applied with gold priority and traveled to the UK (as a tourist for a couple weeks) before getting the vignette? Of course if we get a decision and are able to get the vignette and pick up my BRP this trip, it'd be ideal.

If we weren't in a time crunch and able to afford all the extra fees, I would've felt better just sending the application with priority via UPS and saved the extra $600+. We certainly would've gotten better customer service and felt more confident that everything would get to 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

Online larrabee

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2017, 03:30:56 PM »
  Add in that they don't seem to know, either, and it's downright unconscionable.

This is what concerns me.
I would hope that because of that, if Sheffield were not happy with the submitted documents, then they would definitely request additional information rather than it being the lottery it currently is as to whether they do or not.
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

Online larrabee

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2017, 03:38:42 PM »
Hi all! This is my first post on this forum. We just submitted our application for settlement (as unmarried partners) at the Premium VAC in Washington, DC yesterday (11/29/17). 

Thanks for describing your experience in Seattle, Dani. We tried to insist that we wanted to do through everything with them to make sure it was in good order but they insisted that we just leave it with them. They claimed they would send everything off that we provided but I was very uncomfortable being so hands-off. We had a solicitor help us put everything together, so we felt confident going in. After leaving the appointment, we're filled with doubts about their professionalism. The receptionist and security guard were totally disinterested in their jobs. The person that took our documents only seemed to want to do the bare minimum. If they include everything, as they promised, we should be okay (with supporting documentation totaling over 800 pages).

He said we should expect a response in six weeks. Our solicitor said before Christmas, which now seems dubious. He also said I could retain my passport and we'd be fine traveling to the UK for Christmas, while the application was  being processed in Sheffield.  We'll double check that with our solicitor before booking flights. Has anyone else applied with gold priority and traveled to the UK (as a tourist for a couple weeks) before getting the vignette? Of course if we get a decision and are able to get the vignette and pick up my BRP this trip, it'd be ideal.

If we weren't in a time crunch and able to afford all the extra fees, I would've felt better just sending the application with priority via UPS and saved the extra $600+. We certainly would've gotten better customer service and felt more confident that everything would get to Sheffield.

Hi Kelvin, welcome and thanks for sharing.  ;D

Dani is our very first gold applicant so you know as much as anyone about the process. Sorry your experience was the way it was. If anything it will perhaps help others to decide not to bother with gold and just go regular priority instead.
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

Offline ksand24

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2017, 03:45:09 PM »
Hi all! This is my first post on this forum. We just submitted our application for settlement (as unmarried partners) at the Premium VAC in Washington, DC yesterday (11/29/17). 

Welcome to the forum :).

Quote
If they include everything, as they promised, we should be okay (with supporting documentation totaling over 800 pages).

800 pages seems extremely excessive for an unmarried partner application.

Your relationship documents shouldn't be more than maybe 15-20 pages at most:
- 1 or 2 photos of you together
- one document in each name showing you live together for approximately each 4-month period of the last 2 years (6-12 documents total)

Your UK accommodation documents only need to be a few pages:
- tenancy agreement
- landlord letter
OR
- Land Registry document
- mortgage statement

Your finances will be more, but shouldn't total more than maybe 50-100 pages in the case of long bank statements:
- 6 or 12 months of payslips
- 6 or 12 months of bank statements
- employer letter
- job contract

Quote
He said we should expect a response in six weeks. Our solicitor said before Christmas, which now seems dubious. He also said I could retain my passport and we'd be fine traveling to the UK for Christmas, while the application was  being processed in Sheffield.  We'll double check that with our solicitor before booking flights.

I doubt the solicitor will know since the service has literally only been live for 15 days (with only three 2-hour appointment windows having been available so far) and almost no one seems to have used it yet.

Lately, normal priority applications have been taking 14-20 working days, so if you're on that timescale you may just get the visa before Christmas. If it works any faster with the Gold service, you could get it in the next couple of weeks... we'll just have to see.

Quote
Has anyone else applied with gold priority and traveled to the UK (as a tourist for a couple weeks) before getting the vignette? Of course if we get a decision and are able to get the vignette and pick up my BRP this trip, it'd be ideal.

The Gold priority service was only introduced 15 days ago and you and Dani are the first people on the forum who have used it so far, so we don't have any idea whether you can travel to the UK while it is processing... you guys are essentially our guinea pigs.

Offline FLgator86

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Re: Settlement Gold Premium Service Appointment
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2017, 04:03:34 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
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 04:06:19 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