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Waiting times for visa applications made in the UK

Waiting times for visa applications made in the UK

In typical Home Office fashion, years after it should have been issued, we now have some generic guidance on visa decision waiting times for applications inside the UK. Until now, we only ever had waiting times for applications outside the UK.

The standard processing time for most applications is eight weeks, with faster processing times for Start-up and Health and Care visas (three weeks) and those who choose to pay for the priority service (five working days if you pay £500; next working day for £800). There are longer processing times (six months) for settlement applicants and those making No Time Limit applications to replace their biometric residence permit (I always wonder why the latter takes so long).

Experience shows that eight weeks is perhaps slightly optimistic in the current climate. Many applicants over the last year have spent months waiting on straightforward applications because of lockdowns causing a significant shortage of appointments at the Sopra Steria visa application centres. Some are still waiting many weeks to secure appointments (at extravagant prices on top of the application fees).

We also now seem to have a definitive intention to offer priority service as it was pre-Covid. It will be interesting to see whether the Home Office can deliver on the timescales.

Bilaal is an Associate in the commercial dispute resolution department of a leading international law firm.