Waiting for a UK Visa – Home Office Decision Delays and What You can do to get your Visa banner


Waiting for a UK Visa – Home Office Decision Delays and What You can do to get your Visa

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Once you have made an application there is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a decision. That is especially true when the decision you are waiting for is the outcome of your visa application submitted to the Home Office. That’s the case whether you have applied for a spouse visa to be reunited with your husband or wife or you are unable to start work in the UK with your sponsoring employer until you can get your skilled worker visa.

Our immigration solicitors spend their days submitting visa, sponsor licence and settlement applications to the Home Office so understand just how frustrating any delay is and the anxiety that often accompanies the wait, whether or not the outstanding Home Office application is for an individual immigration application or a business immigration visa.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on visa applications call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Home Office visa processing time tips

The Home Office has recently published updated information on how long visa and settlement applicants may expect to wait for a visa decision. Immigration solicitors stress that the information is a guide. Some decisions may be quicker and other decisions a lot slower. You can help yourself get a quick Home Office decision by taking some simple steps:

  • Get immigration legal advice before you submit your application – often you can make several different types of visa applications and some types of visa are easier and quicker to obtain than others
  • Supply the right information and paperwork – specialist immigration lawyers are often consulted after the Home Office has delayed in responding to an application or the application has been refused. Delays and refusals are often down to an applicant sending the wrong information or paperwork or paying an incorrect fee. If a situation is a bit complicated, an expert immigration solicitor will take the time to explain the situation in the visa application so you have the best chance of getting your visa as quickly as possible. For example, if you have a complex immigration record or you know that you know that a historical criminal record may raise a ‘red flag’ on your application
  • Pay for priority service – if time is of the essence, then consider paying the Home Office a priority service fee to speed up the decision-making time. Priority fees can be expensive so ask an immigration solicitor whether the priority service fee is likely to be worthwhile in your situation

Home Office decisions – how long you may have to wait for a visa

The latest published information says that provided you supply the Home Office with the right application and correct supporting documents the Home Office aims to process applications as follows:

  • From outside UK non-settlement visa applications - 90% decided within 3 weeks, 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks
  • From outside the UK settlement visa applications - 98.5% decided within 12 weeks of the application date and 100% within 24 weeks of the application
  • Made within UK applications for leave to remain - 8 weeks
  • Indefinite leave to remain applications made in the UK - 6 months
  • Applications for no time limit made from within the UK- 6 months
  • Sponsor licence applications - 8 weeks
  • Updating sponsor licence information - 18 weeks

The Home Office say that a week is 5 working days.

The above time indicators are Home Office service standards. They are not promises or binding commitments by the Home Office.

Priority applications

If you do not want to wait a long time for a visa decision from the Home Office you may want to choose the option of paying the Home Office an additional fee for ‘fast service’. This service is not available for every type of UK visa and settlement application.

Some applications can be processed using either:

  • Priority – 5 days
  • Super priority – next day
  • Sponsor licence priority application – 10 days

Days are classed as working days so weekends are excluded from the next day or 5 or 10-day calculation.

In some situations, an immigration solicitor will tell you that it is not worth using the priority or the super-priority service because of the complexity of your application or because the priority service is not available for your type of application.

Pending applications if you are in the UK

Once you have applied to the Home Office you will not be classed by the Home Office as a visa overstayer if your current visa expires and you have not had a decision from the Home Office. That may not help you much if you have submitted a skilled worker visa application and you cannot take up your sponsored employment until your skilled worker visa has been decided or if you are a UK business owner who needs a sponsor licence before you can sponsor a recruit under either the skilled worker visa or under the global business mobility visa route.

If you need to make a visa application or settlement application it is best to speak to an immigration solicitor as soon as you can so they can advise you on which visa is best for you and advise you on the documents you need. For example, if you are applying for a spouse visa and your sponsor is a company director, your sponsor may need time to obtain relevant company tax returns as well as 12 months of personal bank statements and other detailed financial paperwork.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors 

For advice on visa applications call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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