02 Feb What to do if your visa application is delayed?
Delays in application decisions have been particularly acute in the last year. With a step into 2023, processing times are now gradually returning to normal, however, applicants will still experience delays in the processing of UK visa applications from time to time.
Here are some options available to individuals experiencing this type of problem.
Assessing whether it is a delay
Firstly, you should determine whether your application falls within the general processing timeline. The processing times will be updated by Home Office and are available on the UKVI website:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk#full-publication-update-history for applications made outside the UK
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-inside-the-uk#full-publication-update-history for in-country applications.
In general, processing times vary depending on the type of visa:
Outside the UK applications
|Visit the UK (including transit)||5-6 weeks|
|Study in the UK (including short-term study)||3 weeks|
|Work or invest in the UK||4-5 weeks|
|Join family in the UK||24 weeks|
|Hong Kong BN(O) visa||12 weeks|
|UK Ancestry visa||3 weeks|
|Returning residents||3 weeks|
|Replacing biometric residence permits (including vignette transfer)||3 weeks|
|Certificate of entitlement||3 weeks|
Inside the UK applications (Switch/extend)*
|Family visa||8 weeks|
|Work or business visa||8 weeks (3 weeks for Start-up visa)|
|Hong Kong BN(O) visa||12 weeks|
|Ancestry visa||8 weeks|
|BRP replacement||8 weeks|
|Registration of minor||3-6 months|
*Please note that ILR applications are currently taking up to 6 months.
Reasonable cause for delay
If there are complexities in your case, such as a prior refusal, the processing will naturally exceed the normal time frame, in which case your complaint will be disregarded. In addition, your case might take longer if one of the below applies:
- if your supporting documents need to be verified
- the volume of documents provided – further information required or excessive documentary evidence
- if you need to attend an interview
- because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction or refusal history)
Delays after using priority service
If available, you may wish use priority service or super priority service while applying for certain UK visas. You’ll need to pay an additional fee of £500 for 5 working days of processing, whilst receiving a decision in the next working day would cost you £800.
According to the Immigration and nationality refunds policy, you should expect to receive a full refund of the priority fees from Home Office if your case is deemed a “Non-complex application not processed in published timescales“.
Chasing a delayed application
If you are experiencing unexpected and unreasonable delays in the application, you may decide to
You could either send an emails or make a phone call to get in touch with the advisors, they cannot help with specific information, but can tell you whether the application is awaiting a decision or if a decision has been made. Use https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk to find the contact details. Please note that you are required to provide fees; home office reference number/GWF number; submission date; visa centre in the correspondence with Home Office.
You can request that a case be escalated or fast-tracked as a priority, but you may be asked to provide evidence of urgency. It is advisable to ask the Home Office to refund you for the priority or super-priority service fee if you paid for this.
Send a complaint to UKVI
You could use the online form on https://www.gov.uk/complain-uk-visas-immigration to complain about the delays. Investigating your complaint can take up to 20 working days. Alternatively, you could write a letter to the Complaints allocation hub at: Central point of receipt 7th Floor Lunar House 40 Wellesley Road Croydon CR9 2BY
Or emailing to [email protected]. You will need to provide:
– your contact details – it is important you include your address and phone number as we may contact you to resolve your complaint by phone or to request further information
-the names of the applicant/original complainant if you’re completing this on behalf of someone else – we must have written authority to disclose information about another person’s case
-full details of the matter you’re complaining about, including times, dates and locations
-details of any reimbursement issues including papers and receipts to support your claim
Contact your local MP
You can also contact your local MP to help you contact the Home Office and to press for progress on your behalf.
You can use this link https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons to find your MP as well as his/her contact details. Get in touch with them directly for help by writing or emailing. Please ensure that you provide them with all of the information regrading your application.
Contact Our Immigration Team
For expert advice regarding any aspect of the UK visa application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075.