Visa Processing Times for Applications Outside the UK

If you're planning to visit, study, work, or settle in the United Kingdom, understanding the visa processing times is crucial. Here, we'll break down the essential information about when your application processing starts and ends, the current processing times for various visa categories, and what to do if you might have to wait longer for your visa.

When Your Application Processing Time Starts

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) begins processing your visa application once you've taken certain steps:

  1. Verify Your Identity and Submit Documents Online: You can use the UK Immigration: ID Check app to verify your identity and submit your application and documents online. If this option is available to you, the processing time begins once you've completed these steps.
  1. Attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC): If you're required to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph), you can do so by attending an appointment at a Visa Application Centre. In this case, your processing time starts when you attend the appointment.

Please note that if you're applying from the USA and attend a USCIS Application Support Centre for biometrics, you'll need to send your passport and documents to the VFS processing hub in New York. If you visit a VFS premium Application Centre for biometrics, you can submit your passport and supporting documents at that location.

When Your Application Processing Time Ends

Once your application is processed, you will receive a letter or email notifying you of the decision. If you attended a Visa Application Centre, it's important not to visit one again until you've been contacted to do so. You do not need to contact UKVI to track your application if it's still within the current processing times.

Current Processing Times

The processing times for various visa categories are based on the current volume of applications and are measured against agreed customer service standards:

Visit Visas
Standard Visitor  3 weeks
Permitted Paid Engagement  3 weeks
Marriage Visitor  3 weeks
Chinese tour group  3 weeks
Transit3 weeks
Study Visas
Student3 weeks
Child Student3 weeks
Study English in the UK (6 to 11 months)3 weeks
Family Visas
Partner or spouse24 weeks
Parent24 weeks  
Child24 weeks
Adult coming to be cared for by a relative24 weeks
Homes for Ukraine  As quickly as possible
Ukraine Family SchemeAs quickly as possible
Popular Work Visas
Skilled Worker3 weeks
Health and Care Worker3 weeks
Temporary Work Visas
Government Authorised Exchange3 weeks
Charity Worker3 weeks
Creative Worker3 weeks
International Agreement3 weeks
Seasonal Worker3 weeks
Religious Worker3 weeks
Work Visas Without a Job Offer
Global Talent3 weeks
Youth Mobility Scheme3 weeks
India Young Professionals Scheme visa3 weeks
UK Ancestry3 weeks
High Potential Individual (HPI)3 weeks
Work Visas to Start a Business
Innovator Founder3 weeks
Work Visas for an Overseas Employer
Overseas Domestic Worker3 weeks
Graduate Trainee3 weeks
Secondment Worker3 weeks
Senior or Specialist Worker3 weeks
Representative of an Overseas Business3 weeks
Service Supplier3 weeks
UK Expansion Worker3 weeks
Other Visas and Permits
British National (Overseas)  12 weeks
International Sportsperson3 weeks
Minister of Religion3 weeks
Scale-up Worker3 weeks

When You Might Wait Longer

Your visa application may take longer to process if:

  • The information in your application is not accurate or requires further consideration.
  • You need to provide additional evidence, such as proof of funds.
  • Your supporting documents need verification.
  • An interview is required.
  • Further information is needed regarding your personal circumstances (e.g., if you have a criminal conviction).
  • UKVI is experiencing increased visa demand.

If more information is required for your visa application, you'll be contacted by letter or email.

Remember that you are not required to book any travel before applying or before a decision is made on your application. Ensure you allow enough time for the visa application process, and keep track of the current processing times to plan your travel accordingly. If you're in a hurry, some visa categories offer expedited processing for an additional fee.

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Ruslan Kosarenko

Ruslan Kosarenko

Senior Partner