UK Visas and Immigration has issued service standards for visa and immigration application processing times. UK Visas and Immigration also offers information on processing timelines for visa and immigration applications submitted within and outside the United Kingdom.

This article examines UK visa processing times in detail, including Home Office waiting time service standards, Home Office visa processing times, options for obtaining a quicker decision on an application, and how to challenge a delay in processing a UK visa or immigration application.

Standard Processing Times for UK Visas

If a visa application for the United Kingdom contains all required information and supporting documentation, the following customer service standards apply:

  • Settlement visa applications submitted outside the United Kingdom:

98.5% of settlement applications will be resolved within 12 weeks of the application date, and 100% will be decided within 24 weeks (five working days) of the application date;

  • Non-settlement visa applications received outside the United Kingdom will get a decision within three weeks, ninety-eight per cent within six weeks, and one hundred per cent within twelve weeks of the application date (five working days per week).
  • Applications for permission to stay submitted within the United Kingdom, including spouses, workers, and students; eight-week processing time;
  • Applications for no time limit (NTL) submitted in the United Kingdom: six-month decision time;
  • Decisions on requests for indefinite permission to remain (ILR) made in the United Kingdom take six months;
  • Organizations seeking to sponsor a worker; eight weeks;
  • Organizations are revising their sponsor license information; eighteen weeks.

When these services are available, the standard processing time for priority and super-priority service applications is five working days and one working day, respectively (see further below). Applications for a sponsor licence submitted through the pre-licensing priority sponsor licence service should be decided within ten business days.

Based on its customer charter, these service standards represent the visa processing times that UK Visas and Immigration aspires to meet for simple to complete applications. Visa processing periods in the United Kingdom might vary significantly.

What Factors Influence Visa Processing Times in the UK?

Among the variables that can cause delays in the processing of UK visas are:

  • The intricacy of the matter, such as if it requires an evaluation of Article 8 ECHR rights or derived rights of extended family members of the EEA;
  • Consideration of any problematic immigration past;
  • The number of given documents;
  • Questions about the legitimacy of papers;
  • Season of the year
  • Concerns surrounding conditions for suitability, such as criminality;
  • Whether additional research or an interview is required;
  • The effectiveness and capacity of caseworkers; and

There is no stated service standard for waiting times for more complex applications, and UK Visas and Immigration has a substantial degree of discretion about the timing of their determinations.

Sometimes, Home Office decisions are delayed. During the Covid-19 outbreak, many visa applications to the United Kingdom have endured lengthy wait times during the past few years. As detailed below, the Home Office is now delaying decisions on some UK visa applications to prioritize Ukraine Visa Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian catastrophe precipitated by the invasion of Ukraine.

What Are the Current Visa Decision Times at the UK Home Office?

The Home Office announces visa determination waiting times for international and domestic applications. This information makes it feasible to estimate roughly how long a pending visa application should be processed.

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