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.

Are you ready to get started with your visa application? We can guide you through your visa application process from start to finish.

Would you rather complete your visa application yourself, but worried your application may not be as strong as it needs to be? Our solicitors also offer a visa application checking service. Once you feel your application is ready we look over it for you, check that everything is in order and give you guidance on how to strengthen your application further before you submit it to the Home Office. 

Please note: A 30-minute consultation with one of our immigration experts can be held in our offices or over the phone or Skype. Please be aware that we do not offer free advice and will charge a non-refundable fee of £60 per consultation.


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:

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.

Get in touch to let us help you with your visa application, may it be a fast-track, same-day or standard application.

Please note: A 30-minute consultation with one of our immigration experts can be held in our offices or over the phone or Skype. Please be aware that we do not offer free advice and will charge a non-refundable fee of £60 per consultation.

 

FAQ

  • What is the UK spouse visa processing time?

    The UK spouse visa processing time does differ depending on a number of factors. If you are applying for entry clearance as a spouse or partner overseas, the processing time will depend on the embassy you have applied from - some work more quickly than others.

    In general, we advise that the UK spouse visa processing time is up to three months. Your application may be decided sooner than this if you are in a country that processes visas more efficiently. The visa processing time can be faster if, in addition to the visa fee, you pay for the priority service. This does not guarantee a faster decision but generally speeds up the decision making process.

    We assist by ensuring your application is well prepared and clearly shows how you meet the spouse visa requirements.

  • What is the UK student visa processing time?

    The UK student visa processing time is usually around 3 weeks. The time in which you receive a decision depends on the country you are applying from, as student visa processing times can differ depending on the embassy you apply to. Additionally, it is important that you do not apply earlier than 3 months before you are due to start your course. Your application may be refused if you apply too early.

    As with all visa applications, the speed in which you receive a decision depends on how well your application is prepared and your ability to meet the requirements. Our Immigration Solicitors at AWH Solicitors ensure your application is well-prepared which can increase the visa processing time.

  • What is the Tier 2 visa processing time?

    The average Tier 2 visa processing time is three weeks when applying outside the UK. The length of time it will take for you to receive a decision on your visa depends on the country you have applied from as visa processing times can differ depending on the embassy. You cannot apply for your visa any earlier than three months before your start date on your certificate of sponsorship.

    Our Tier 2 visa lawyers assist you with your application from beginning to end, giving you the best chances of a quick, successful decision.

  • What is the UK Tier 2 visa processing time after biometrics?

    The Tier 2 visa processing time after biometrics depends on where you are making your application (inside or outside the UK), and whether you have purchased any additional services.

    The Tier 2 visa processing time is usually around three weeks, however, if you also pay for priority services when submitting your application, you may receive a decision as soon as the next working day.

  • Tier 2 visa extension processing time

    If you are already in the UK with a valid Tier 2 visa which you wish to extend, the visa processing time is around 8 weeks of your application being submitted. This is with the standard service and can vary depending on Home Office case load at the time.

    If you require a faster decision, the visa extension processing time is within 5 working days of your UKVCAS biometric appointment with the priority service and within 1 working day if you choose the super priority service.

  • What is the UK visa processing time after biometrics?

    Your UK visa processing time after biometrics varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for and whether you are applying inside or outside of the UK.

    You will need to complete your biometric enrolment for all visa categories, and this can be done by booking an appointment at the relevant visa centre.

    Currently there are difficulties in booking biometric appointments in the UK due to limited availability at UK visa centres. If you book your appointment in the UK with the Super Priority Service, you would likely receive a decision the next working day after your biometrics.

    Appointments and visa processing times after biometrics outside the UK depend on availability at the relevant embassy and their decision making processes.

  • What are British citizenship application processing times?

    The processing times for British citizenship and naturalisation vary. Once your application has been submitted, you will usually receive confirmation that your application has been received. Following this, a decision on your citizenship application will take around 6 months.

  • What is the Indefinite leave to remain processing time?

    The processing time for applications for settlement and indefinite leave to remain in the UK are currently around 6 months with the standard service.

    If you require a decision sooner, the 24-hour super priority service is available to be purchased in addition to the application fee. With the super-priority service, your indefinite leave to remain processing time would be 24 hours or the next working day.

  • What is the Fiancé visa processing time UK?

    The fiancé visa processing time UK does differ depending on the embassy you have applied from - some work more quickly than others.

    We advise that the standard fiancé visa processing time is up to three months. Your application may be decided quicker if you are in a country that processes visas more efficiently. The visa processing time can be faster if, in addition to the visa fee, you pay for the priority service. Although the priority service does not guarantee a faster decision, your application is likely to be decided more quickly than if you had not purchased the priority service.

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