Applying from overseas
Applying from overseas

The following Immigration guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Applying from overseas
  • The Home Office’s overseas network
  • The law governing the determination of applications
  • Background to the 2011 ministerial authorisation: 2010 and 2011 Independent Chief Inspector reports

This Practice Note explains how the Home Office’s overseas network of diplomatic posts and visa application centres operates in respect of visa applications made outside the UK. It also summarises the law governing the processing of these applications. It should be read with the Practice Note: Procedure for applying from overseas.

The Home Office’s overseas network

From 1 April 2008, UK Visas, the joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) agency then responsible for overseas visa applications, was merged into the UK Border Agency. Background information on these organisational changes can be found in the Foreign Affairs Committee’s 2008–09 report.

The UK Border Agency was closed on 1 April 2013 and its functions brought back within the Home Office. The UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) group of the Home Office has had responsibility for overseas visa applications since this date.

Hub and spoke structure

The Home Office continues to operate a 'hub and spoke' structure for the processing of entry clearance applications, whereby applicants submit their applications to a number of visa application centres (spokes) which are supported by decision-making centres (hubs), where the applications are determined. The process of consolidation of the network, in particular reducing the number of decision making hubs, is ongoing.

The former UK Border Agency used to publish full details of the overseas network on