Get a faster UK immigration decision

The time it takes to receive a decision on your UK immigration application can be unpredictable. If you need to make decisions about moving house, or starting work or school, you are probably looking for some guidance about decision-making times, and how to get a decision sooner.

UK Visas & Immigration provides some guidance on its website about waiting times for applications made inside the UK, and outside the UK.

For example, from outside the UK, a Standard Visit, UK Ancestry or Work Visa application should take about 3 weeks to decide. However, a Partner Visa could take up to 24 weeks.

If you make your application inside the UK, an application as a Student, or as a Partner in the 5-year route to settlement, could take up to 8 weeks. However, an application for indefinite leave to remain could take up to 6 months. For some categories, including an application as a Parent, there is no “standard processing time” at all, and applications are currently taking an average of 10 – 11 months to decide.

There are options available to speed up the decision-making process. However, not all options are available for all immigration categories, or in all countries. A number of them involve substantial additional fees.

Priority services: applications outside the UK

UKVI offers “priority” and “super-priority” services for some visa applications.

A priority application costs an additional £573 (for a settlement visa) or £250 (for a non-settlement visa) and should result in a decision within 5 working days.

A super-priority application costs an additional £956, and should result in a decision within 24 hours.

During 2022, there was no priority service available for family visas such as Partner or Parent applications. However, UKVI began to reintroduce a “priority” option for people with outstanding family visa applications. This is a neat money-maker: people who have already been waiting several months for a decision, can now pay £573 to get a decision within 15 working days of payment.

The priority option for family visas has now started to appear again as a booking option, alongside non-family options, when you apply for your visa and book your biometric appointment.

Priority services: applications inside the UK

UKVI provides a list of applications made inside the UK where you can use a “super-priority” option (24 hours) for an additional £800.00, or a “priority” option (5 working days) for an additional £500.00:

The priority fee should show as an option when you submit your application form online. If the option is not showing, you can try logging in again at a different time: new priority slots are usually allocated overnight, between 00.00 and 02.00.

Another reason the priority option might not appear is that your application form has been generated in a category that does not have a priority option. For example, some family and private life applicants cannot use the priority service. You should check your application form to see what category of application you have selected.

Other ways to get a faster decision

If you do not select the priority service when you submit and pay for your application, you will not be able to add this option at a later date.

If you need an urgent decision, for example, because you need to travel outside the UK urgently, then you can also consider the following options:

  • Write to UKVI by email and post. You can use the general enquiry email and send a letter to Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY.
  • If UKVI have contacted you during the application process, you can send an email to that address asking for assistance.

In all cases if you are contacting UKVI to ask for a faster decision in your case, you should provide your case reference number, details about how long you have been waiting, and evidence to support your request for an urgent decision. This could include medical documents, or evidence of difficulties you are having getting work.

For help with your case, you can contact me using the details below, or by completing an enquiry form.

Kitty Falls

07752 722 292

20 March 2023

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