In a statement, VFS Global said that students can schedule appointments at Premium Application Centres operated by the company across the US as its centres in Latin America also open.
“Despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important we provide international students with the support and flexibility they need”
US centres have had a phased reopening since August, and are operating in ten cities including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Seattle, Washington DC and San Francisco.
“Over the last few years we have continued to see thousands of students from the United States choose the UK’s world-class higher-education system as the destination for their studies,” said Martin Potter, head of customer experience and account management for UKVI.
“Despite the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important we provide international students with the support and flexibility they need to pursue their studies in the UK, in a safe manner.”
Additionally, centres in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador and Guatemala are processing Tier 4 visa applications.
While the centres are subject to local lockdown regulations, students across Latin America can opt for a On-Demand Mobile Visa service, which allows them to submit their visa application and enrol biometrics from home.
VFS Global and UKVI also said that new health precautions will be brought in to protect those students who apply for visas.
“In order to ensure a safe environment for customers and employees, VFS Global has established standardised protective measures to be followed across all its Premium Application Centres,” the statement said.
“For those travellers, our message is clear: your safety is our highest priority. Throughout the visa application process and your travel to the UK, we are taking measures to ensure you are safe and secure,” Potter added.
UKVI and VFS Global said that staff will carry out preventive measures such as disinfecting high-contact surfaces, body temperature screenings, use of hand sanitisers.
US students making applications via the standard visa service will attend a USCIS Application Support Center to provide their biometrics.
“As borders re-open and travel resumes, we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of health and safety precautions, according to the guidelines of the World Health Organisation and local authorities,” said VFS’s regional group chief operating officer (South Asia, Middle East, North Africa and Americas), Vinay Malhotra.
“We are conscious that this is the time students will be applying for visas to travel to the UK for higher education, and would like to assure them of a safe and seamless visa application process at our Centres,” he added.