UK Visas and Immigration
Agency overview
FormedApril 2013 (2013-04)
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Abi Tierney, Director General
Parent agencyHome Office
WebsiteUK Visas and Immigration

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is a division of the Home Office responsible for the United Kingdom's visa system. It was formed in 2013 from the section of the UK Border Agency that had administered the visa system.


The then Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced the abolition of the UK Border Agency on 26 March 2013, with the intention that its work would be returned to the Home Office.[1] The agency's executive agency status was removed, and internally it was split, with one division responsible for the visa system and the other for immigration enforcement.[2] May says UKBA had a "closed, secretive, and defensive culture" that contributed to immense backlogs. The intention of the split was to disperse cases more evenly in a way that would provide them with "high-quality decisions".[3] The responsible minister is the Minister of State for Immigration.[4]

Sarah Rapson, the Registrar General for England and Wales, was appointed as interim director general of UK Visas and Immigration. Her position was made permanent on 5 March 2014. Marc Owen, former senior director of national and international operations, is the current director for visas and citizenship.[5]


UKVI operates the UK visa system, managing applications from foreign nationals seeking to visit or work in the UK and also considering applications from businesses and educational institutions seeking to become sponsors for foreign nationals. It also considers applications from foreign nationals seeking protection or British citizenship and manages appeals from those who have been denied visas.[6]

The UKVI's role has widened in the aftermath of Brexit. In January 2021, the UK implemented a new points-based immigration system, and EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens who resided in the UK must have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after the Brexit transition period.[7]


Lunar House in Croydon, which houses the headquarters of UK Visas and Immigration

As of 2017, UKVI is spread over nine buildings across the country.[8] The headquarters of UK Visas and Immigration are in South London in Lunar House. Other immigration offices, such as the Public Enquiry Office, are also there.

See also


  1. ^ "UK Border Agency 'not good enough' and being scrapped". BBC News. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  2. ^ "UK Border Agency's transition to Home Office". UK Border Agency. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  3. ^ "UK Border Agency 'not good enough' and being scrapped". BBC News. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Minister of State for Immigration". GOV.UK. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Director for Visas and Citizenship". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  6. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Visa premium service centres". Retrieved 20 May 2017.