Applying for visas can vary from being straight forward to actually turning into a stressful ordeal. It really depends on individual circumstances, and it is unlikely that any two visa applications will play out in exactly the same way. One major factor to take into account is the amount of time it takes for visa applications to be assessed and finalised, as it is important to account for this when deciding when you should start your preparation and submit your application.

 

When it comes to arranging travel, we advise that you wait until the result of you application is confirmed. There is no point making any decisions until you know for sure that you can travel into, or through the UK legally on an approved visa.

 

If you have any questions about the visa types listed below, we are here to help! Our experts will be able to guide you every step of the way!

 

Applications made outside the UK differ from those made from within the UK, so we will go through each in separate sections.

 

 

 

Visa applications made from outside the UK

 

When does the waiting time start and end?

 

With each of these visa routes, in certain circumstances, it may be possible to receive your decision faster. However, this will be based on individual circumstances. If you have concerns that the waiting time is too long, you can contact us for advice or ask for help at you visa application centre.

 

Once you have submitted your application online, the waiting time starts when you either:

 

  • attend your appointment and provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre

 

  • verify your identity using the UK Immigration: ID Check app. This will depend on the visa you apply for and you will be advised if you can use this

 

The waiting time will end when you get an email containing the decision on your application. This email will contain instructions on what to do next.

 

Visa to visit the UK

 

Generally, you should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a visa to visit the UK:

 

  • for a holiday or to see family or friends

 

  • for a business trip or meeting

 

  • to get married

 

You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you are in – you can check with your visa application centre, or contact us if you want to ask any questions in advance.

 

Travelling through the UK

 

When it comes to travelling through the UK in order to get to another country, you should get a decision within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre.

 

Study in the UK

 

For aspiring students who want to come to the UK to learn, you should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you either attend your appointment at the visa application centre or use the ID Check app, if you are applying for a:

 

  • Short-term study visa

 

  • Student visa

 

  • Child Student visa

 

 

Work or invest in the UK

 

For investors or people looking to work in the UK, the waiting time for a decision on your visa is usually within 3 weeks once you either attend your appointment at the visa application centre or use the ID Check app.

 

If you are applying for a Turkish Business Person visa, the waiting time is usually 12 weeks.

 

Join family in the UK

 

A decision is usually made within 12 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre to, if you are applying to settle in the UK as the spouse, partner or family member of someone who has British citizenship or is settled in the UK.

 

If you are applying as the dependent of another applicant, it is likely that you will get your decision at the same time.

 

If you are applying for an EEA family permit or an EUSS family permit you will get a decision as soon as possible after proving your identity and provided your documents.

 

Family reunion

 

Again, in general you should get a decision 12 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for family reunion with a refugee or person with humanitarian protection.

 

 

Commonwealth citizens

 

You should get a decision within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for an Ancestry visa.

 

Returning residents

 

You should get a decision within 3 weeks you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a returning resident visa.

 

When you might wait longer

 

You might wait longer for a decision if your application is not straightforward and more information is required before a decision is made, for example:

 

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified

 

  • if you need to attend an interview

 

  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

 

 

Visa applications made within the UK

 

Likewise with the applications made outside the UK, you may be able to get a decision faster if you need to, but this will have to be decided on your individual circumstances. In some cases you may be able to pay more to get a faster decision, and this will be communicated to you if it is a possibility. You can also enquire about this if it is something you are interested in.

 

When your application’s waiting time starts and ends

 

The waiting time starts once you have submitted your application online and ends when you get a letter or an email with a decision.

 

As part of the application process, you will need to either:

 

  • book and attend your appointment to submit your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre, Service and Support Centre (SSC) or Post Office (if applicable)

 

  • verify your identity using the UK Immigration: ID Check app. The Home Office will usually tell you if you can use this.

 

You can usually stay in the UK until you have been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

 

Switch to or extend a Student visa

 

You should usually get a decision within 8 weeks once you have applied online to switch to or extend a Student or Child Student visa.

 

Switch to or extend a family visa

 

You should usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks once you have applied online to switch to or extend as a:

 

  • spouse or partner

 

  • fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner

 

  • child

 

  • parent

 

 

Extend a relative who will provide long-term care visa

 

In this case a decision should be made on your visa within 8 weeks once you have applied online to extend as a relative who will provide long-term care.

 

Extend a Parent of a Child Student visa

 

You should usually get a decision within 8 weeks once you have applied online and you are applying to extend a Parent of a Child Student visa.

 

Switch to or extend a work visa

 

You usually should get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks once you have applied online to extend or switch to any of the following work visas:

 

  • Global Talent

 

  • Innovator

 

  • Intra-company

 

  • Skilled worker

 

  • Entrepreneur

 

  • Investor

 

  • Minister of Religion

 

  • Sportsperson

 

 

Switch to a Start-up visa

 

You should usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you have applied online to switch to a Start-up visa.

 

Extend a Representative of an Overseas Business visa

 

You should usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks once you have applied online to extend a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

 

Switch to or extend a Temporary Worker visa

 

You should usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks once you have applied online to switch to or extend in any of the following temporary work visas:

 

  • Creative and Sporting

 

  • Government Authorised Exchange

 

  • International Agreement Worker

 

Extend a Charity Worker Visa or Religious Worker Visa

 

In both cases the usual waiting time is 8 weeks.

 

 

Extend a Standard Visitor visa

 

You should usually get a decision within 8 weeks once once you have applied online to extend a visitor visa as a:

 

  • a patient receiving medical treatment

 

  • an academic and you still meet the eligibility requirements

 

  • a graduate doing a clinical attachment or retaking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test

Extend an Ancestry visa

 

You should usually get a decision on your visa within 8 weeks once you have applied online to extend a UK Ancestry visa.

 

Applying for settlement

 

You should usually get a decision on your visa within 6 months once you apply online.

 

If you have questions about your eligibility for settlement, you can always contact us in advance of making your application.

 

 

What do we think?

 

It is clearly good for the Home Office to publish these visa processing time estimates. As users of their services, applicants are entitled to know how long it will take the Home Office to process their cases, so that they can make necessarily arrangement. In the extreme circumstances where there have been reasonable delays, the Home Office can be held accountable to their failure.

 

We do hope that these times can be adhered to. Practices have shown that many cases are dealt with well outside these announced times and there are apparently no exceptional factors. In most cases, such delay is caused by the Home Office’s administrative errors, instead of applicants’ personal circumstances. Some cases are simply ignored in the Home Office’s offices due to change of offices, caseworkers or work practice. These are areas which clearly need improving.

 

We are here to help anyone who has questions about visa applications or other immigration issues. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

 

 

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