UK Visa Processing Times and What to Expect when you Apply

UK visa processing times differ depending on what visa you apply for, where you are a registered citizen, where you’re applying from and how long you intend to stay.

Once you have applied for your visa, you are likely to be anxious to find out whether your application has been successful or not quickly, however it’s important to be patient.

Your visa is more likely to be approved if you received help from expert immigration solicitors to compile all the documents you need.

We can guide you through your visa application process from start to finish.
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UK visa processing times

Different UK Visa Processing Times

The Home Office is committed to sticking to their rules concerning UK visa processing times, and only in exceptional circumstances will they take longer than the times given below to give you an answer about your application. The list below states the Home Office’s general processing times for different visa categories:

  • Temporary basis visas e.g. as a spouse, worker, entrepreneur or student – up to 8 weeks
  • All other visas applied for from outside the UK – 3 to 12 weeks
  • Settlement applied for from outside the UK – 12 to 24 weeks
  • Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applied for from inside the UK – up to 6 months
  • Updating an organisation’s visa sponsorship details – up to 18 weeks

If you are:

  • From Turkey and have applied to come to the UK under the European Community Association Agreement, or
  • A non-EEA national family member applying under the European regulations for a residence card,

then your application should be processed within six months of you first applying.

If you are looking to apply to come to the UK on a temporary basis, or are wanting to apply for ILR, then you should have the option to fast-track your application. By taking this option you’ll be able to get a definite result in either five days, or one day, depending which fast-track route you opt for.

What to Expect when you Send your Application to the Home Office

When you submit your visa application, you’ll be required to book an appointment at a visa application centre to provide your biometric information.

When you’re there, you’ll need to submit documents which will show your eligibility. Some centres may need to keep your passport and documents whilst they process your visa application.

Depending where you’re from and how long you are applying to come to the UK for, you might have to take a tuberculosis test too.

When you apply you will get confirmation that your visa application has been received. The UK visa processing times vary from three weeks to six months, depending on which of the above list applies to you.

You will then receive a letter with the result of your application, which will explain what your next steps should be.

If your application is successful you will be given a sticker which goes in your passport which shows the visa you’ve been granted, the dates your visa is valid to and from, and the conditions you need to meet.

The conditions might say, for example:

  • ‘No work’, which means you cannot take up paid or unpaid work
  • ‘No access to public funds’, which means you can’t claim any benefits in the UK
  • ‘Restricted work’, which means you can only work for your sponsor

If your application is unsuccessful, you’ll receive a letter explaining why.

The letter will explain if you have a right to an administrative review or an immigration decision appeal. If you have the right to either of these, our team can help you be in with the best chance of success.

Visa Application Reviews and Appeals

If you are told in your letter from the Home Office that you have the right to what is called an administrative review, you must apply within 28 days.

You’ll only be offered the chance for an administrative review if all of the below apply:

  • You currently live outside the UK
  • You applied from outside the UK
  • Your application was refused on or after April 6th 2015
  • You don’t have a right of appeal
  • Your application wasn’t for a visitor or short term student visa

We can help you fill out your administrative review application form so that you have the best chance of success.

We’ll help you enter the reasons for refusal which are on your letter from the Home Office, and then say why you think a mistake was made. We’ll then send your completed form to the Home Office. The processing times for a UK visa review can be anywhere between 1 and 28 days, unless your case is particularly complex.

Visa Extensions

If you are looking to extend your visa, you might be wondering how long it will take to get a decision from the Home Office. It is important to know this so you don’t leave it too late and have your current visa expire.

If you are currently in the UK on one of the following visas, it should take up to 8 weeks for you to get a decision from the Home Office about your visa extension application:

  • Spouse visas
  • Student visas
  • General worker visas
  • Visitor visas

The processing times for your extension application may take longer if your situation is overly complicated, but your solicitor will be able to advise you of whether this might happen.

Fast-Track Applications

It is possible to opt for a fast-track application if don’t want to wait the length of regular UK visa processing times.

Any student, family or worker visas can be fast-tracked. This means that you can get a response in just one week. This factors in time for your solicitor to fully prepare your application, send it to the Home Office, and for them to get back to you with their decision.

Our team have helped many clients get a quick decision on their visa application with our fast-track service, and can help you too.

Same Day Applications

It is also possible to get a same-day response to your visa application. This can be done for people when they urgently need a visa or extension. It can be a demanding experience, but with the right solicitor by your side you’ll have the best chance of success without the stress.

Our team have plenty of experience helping people successfully apply for their visa and get a decision with our same day service.

Our Immigration Services

It’s a good idea to be aware of the processing times for your UK visa so you can allow enough time before you are due to arrive in the UK.

Our immigration solicitors are based in Manchester, but can help anyone looking to apply for a visa to enter the UK. We are always transparent and supportive, and will help your application process run as smoothly as possible.

Why Choose AWH Solicitors

We value honesty and transparency and believe above all that legal services should be fairly priced, so they can be available to anyone.

Our solicitors are highly experienced and have an abundance of experience in their field of law, ensuring you the best chance at a successful outcome of your case or claim.

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