Visa waiting times, as many applicants will know, can fluctuate. While some people will have positive experiences, many will find themselves waiting much longer than they had anticipated for a decision to be reached on their application.
This blog will delve into the latest guidelines from the Home Office on what people should expect when making visa applications to come or remain in the UK.
Let’s start with applications from outside the UK
When your application’s waiting time starts and ends
Once an application has been submitted 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 will explain what you need to do next.
The standard wait time for visitor visas should be 3 weeks, however the Home Office is currently operating around the 6 week mark. This is much longer than it should be, and the Home Office has released statements promising work is being done to reduce this wait time, but we are yet to see any drastic improvements.
Visas for: Traveling through the UK, Studying, Working or Investing in the UK:
At the moment people looking to get on these types of visas can expect at least a 3 week wait before a decision is made on their behalf, once they have either attended their appointment at the visa application centre or used the ID Check app.
Joining family in the UK / Family Reunion:
Wait times for these visa can be up to 12 weeks currently. If you are applying as the dependent of another applicant, 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 providing your documents.
Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa:
Again, wait times of up to 12 weeks can be expected with this visa type.
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.
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.
Replacing residence cards and permits / transferring visas from passports
These processes also have a 3 week waiting time attached to them.
How about applications made within the UK?
There are some different options here, and the waiting times appear to be longer in general than those of applications made outside the country.
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 (if you are on a 5-year route to settlement)
- fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
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
- Skilled worker
- Minister of Religion
Extend a Standard Visitor visa / Switch to a Graduate visa / Extend a Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa / Extend a Representative of an Overseas Business visa / Switch to or extend a Temporary Worker visa:
Each of these visa types currently has an expected wait time of 8 weeks.
Switch to or extend a Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa:
You should get a decision within 12 weeks once you either attend your appointment at the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) or when you submit your online documents after completing the ID Check app.
Applying for settlement:
You should usually get a decision on your visa within 6 months once you apply online.
We hope to see a reduction in these wait times soon, as some of them are longer than they should be. The on-going situation with coronavirus, and now the added pressure of the war in Ukraine will inevitably play a part in the capabilities and priorities of the Home Office, but it is an achievable target to shave even a few weeks off some of the longer wait times you see in this list.
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