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Visit Visa (Tier 2) – Service Assessment

If you need a visa to visit the UK you will be able to apply using a simple online service.

Department / Agency:

Date of Assessment:

Moving to:
Private Beta


Lead Assessor:
M. Sheldon

Service Manager:
T. Bruck

Digital Leader:
M. Parsons

Assessment report

The Tier 2 Visit Visa service is seeking permission to continue development as it moves from Alpha to Private Beta.

Outcome of service assessment

After reviewing all the evidence GDS have concluded that the Tier 2 Visit Visa service has shown sufficient progress, is meeting the pre-April 2014 assessment criteria, and should proceed to Private Beta once a full IT health check has been passed and signed off by the SIRO.


The Visit Visas service team demonstrated that they are:

  • following good user research practices and have plans for in depth interviews and ongoing testing with real users
  • collaborating with an accessibility expert to regularly review and improve the service
  • working with a content designer to ensure the language is simple and concise, and is collating feedback for the GDS style guide around multilingual support
  • following an agile methodology and can improve the service iteratively and quickly based on user feedback
  • considering the service’s safety and security by carrying out early IT health checks and addressing issues in a timely manner


The Visit Visas service team should consider the following recommendations:

  • the Service Manager ensures they understand the service as fully as the Product Manager.
  • the team find a dedicated person to focus on service analytics and analysis. As the service scales its user base, it could become increasingly harder for the Product Manager to fulfil this function.
  • plan to make all the code open, regardless of its usefulness to a wider audience. The only exceptions are configuration management code, code that contains sensitive information (e.g. fraud detection components) or can pose a security risk if open. Publishing the source code will be a mandatory requirement when the service is seeking approval to go Live.
  • continue to work closely with a GDS Content Designer and make the language used on the service as simple and easy to follow as possible, incorporating improvements based on user feedback.
  • consider the long term approach to service notification emails and how these will be managed as the service scales.
  • link to the Privacy Policy from a prominent place on the service.

Next Steps

This service has been given approval to launch as a Private Beta.


In summary GDS is pleased to report that this service is meeting the Digital by Default Service Standard. The work carried out so far has been driven from real user needs. GDS is pleased to hear that the team have continued to regularly user test while building the Alpha and Beta and have iterated and improved the service based on feedback. With a plan already in place to continue in this vein and carry out in depth interviews with private beta users, GDS looks forward to seeing the continued development of this service. GDS are very pleased with the work so far that has clearly demonstrated it is a service so good users will prefer to use it.