UK Spouse Visa Timelines

This guidance relates to UK spouse visa processing time 2019 after biometrics for entry clearance, leave to remain and ILR settlement applications. Perhaps, many applicants also intend to fast track their UK family and spouse settlement visa timelines by using the priority service. Therefore, the post also highlights: when and how to fast-track UK spouse visa processing time by using the priority or super-priority service?

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UK Spouse Visa Processing Time 2019 After Biometrics

The details from different UKVACs indicates that the UK spouse visa processing time after biometrics may greatly vary on a case to case basis. Perhaps, for a straightforward spouse visa application with priority service, it is quite possible to receive a decision even within 3, 5, 10, 15 or 30 working days. However, the UK spouse visa processing time for nearly 75% of the applications is 12 weeks or 60 working days. Nevertheless, 10-15% spouse visa applications (mostly non-straightforward) remain outstanding even after 120 working days or 24 weeks. Therefore, if a UK spouse visa application is straightforward than it is a high possibility that it will be processed within 30 working days with priority service or within 60 working days with normal (non-priority) service.

The Average UK Spouse Visa Processing Time 2019

In fact, during Jan-March 2019 Q1, the UKVI received a total of 12,493 straightforward UK family settlement visa entry clearance applications. And 3,561 non-straightforward applications. Accordingly, the share of straightforward applications in the total settlement applications (16,054) is 77.82%. And 99.2% i.e. 12,394 out of the total 12,493 straightforward settlement visa applications processed within 60 working days or 12 weeks during Jan-March 2019 Q1.

Therefore, there is more than a 99% chance that a straightforward UK settlement visa entry clearance application for a spouse, civil partner, dependant child or a family member is processed within 60 working days or 12 weeks. Accordingly, the average UK spouse visa processing time is 60 working days or 12 weeks. However, if a UK spouse visa application is categorized as non-straightforward then the processing time usually exceeds 60-90 working days. Perhaps, at times, the UK spouse visa processing time for a non-straightforward application even exceeds more than 120 working days. Please note: UKVI does not maintain any service standard for non-straightforward applications. However, an applicant usually receives an email, approx 6-8 weeks from the date of the receipt of documents by Sheffield UKVI, informing that the spouse visa application is not straightforward and will take more time then the stated service standard.

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The Service Standard

In fact, the UK spouse settlement visa timelines may vary from time to time. Perhaps, depending on the nature of the application and the administrative workload/consideration of the UKVI. However, the UKVI processing time service standard for a straightforward non-priority UK spouse visa application are:

  1. to process all straightforward priority spouse settlement visa applications within 6 weeks or 30 working days
  2. to process 95% of the non-priority (normal) spouse settlement visa applications within 12 weeks i.e. 60 working days or approx 3 months
  3. to decide 100% of the non-priority (normal) spouse settlement visa applications within 24 weeks i.e. 120 working days or approx 5-6 months

Please note the UK spouse settlement visa processing time service standard is only maintainable in case of a straightforward application. Therefore, if a spouse visa application is categorized as non-straightforward then it is bound to experience delays in processing beyond 60 or even 120 working days service standard.

When UKVI is not able to meet its service standard?

Perhaps, more than 20-25% of the settlement applications are not straightforward. Therefore, as stated above, the UK settlement visa processing time service standards are only applicable for straightforward applications. Therefore, UK visa spouse visa processing time from a random sample of more than 40 UKVAC indicates that usually 75% of the settlement applications are processed within 60 working days or 12 weeks. However, 10-15% of the settlement applications remain outstanding even after 120 working days or 24 weeks. Perhaps, this delay in UK spouse visa processing time is mainly due to verifications, interviews, past immigration history, administrative workload etc.

What is a straightforward settlement visa application?

A straightforward spouse visa application means that an applicant has not only met the requirements but has an immaculate overall credibility- applicant’s background, relations with the sponsor, income verification, intentions and future plans in the UK etc.

How to expedite the UK settlement visa processing time?

Perhaps, the easiest way to expedite UK spouse visa timelines is to purchase the settlement priority service, which cost GBP 573. Therefore, instead of paying £1,523, an applicant will pay £2,096/- for the UK spouse priority visa processing time. Please note both the application fees and that for the priority service are non-refundable.

However, if an applicant intends to expedite the UK spouse visa processing time then also needs to submit a clear and well-documented application. Moreover, if necessary and affordable then hire a specialist immigration solicitor for documentation. Remember: at the end, the decision is primarily reached on the documentary evidence. And if the caseworker likes to get further information then may ask for additional documents or interview.

When an applicant may use the priority service?

Perhaps, an applicant should use the priority settlement service for the processing of a straightforward spouse visa application. And also if one can afford the additional cost without any problem. Quite noteworthy: the payment of priority service fee does not guarantee anything. Therefore, an applicant should neither expect a favourable outcome nor an expeditious decision after purchasing the priority service. Moreover, the priority visa fee is not refundable.

When using priority service is not advisable?

If an application is not straightforward due to past refusals, removals, deportation, detentions, criminal records etc. then it is not advisable to opt for the priority service.

ILR Processing Time

Perhaps, the indefinite leave to remain (ILR) processing time from inside the UK is usually 6 months. Please note ILR applications not only relates to family and spouse visa applications, but also other settlement routes. Moreover, apart from ILR applications, No Time Limit (NTL) applications are also eligible for the super-priority service. However, priority service is not available for ILR and NTL applications.

ILR super-priority visa processing time

Quite clearly, the 24-hours super-priority visa service is also available for processing ILR applications from inside the UK. However, in addition to the ILR fees (£2,389), an applicant needs to pay an additional amount of £800/- for the 24-hour ILR super priority service.

Normal and Priority Timelines for Leave to Remain Applications

The UK visa application processing time for in-country leave to remain applications is 8 weeks or 40 working days. And, the service standard for leave to remain priority processing time is 5 working days or 1 week. However, an applicant needs to pay an additional £500/- for the priority service. Therefore, instead of paying £1,033/- for leave to remain application an applicant needs to pay £1,533/-. Moreover, in-country leave to remain applicants can also purchase the super-priority service, which enables processing within 24 hours. However, an applicant needs to pay an additional £800/- for the super-priority service.

What are the reasons for prompt processing from the USA?

In fact, contrary to UK spouse visa timelines from Pakistan and India, where approx 20% of the spouse visa applications processed within 30 days, more than 40% of the applications from the USA are processed within 30 working days or 6 weeks. Perhaps, this is due to greater usage of priority service, better documentation, country risk perception, the higher credibility of the applicants and their respective sponsors. Quite noteworthy: the priority service charges are on a higher side, therefore, applicants with a higher disposable income are more likely to use it. Accordingly, people applying from countries with higher per capita income are more inclined to purchase priority service for expediting their UK spouse settlement visa processing time.

Reasons for Variation in UK Spouse Visa Timelines 2019

Perhaps, UKVI is keen to meet its service standard. And likes to dispose of applications as soon as possible. However, at the same time, the UKVI does not wish to compromise the quality of decision making. For instance, in April 2019, 57% and 91% of the applications from the USA decided within 30 and 60 days, respectively. However, 7% of spouse visa applications from USA remain outstanding even after the stipulated 120 days. This indicates a variation in the UK spouse visa processing time due to documents verification, interview, overall credibility of the applicant etc.

Is the processing system perfect?

No. Certainly, there are some individual grievances against UKVI for unnecessarily delaying the decisions. And also making the wrong decisions. Perhaps, it quite human to make mistakes. And due to the high quantum of applications, wrong decisions could be made. However, it is not in the interest of UKVI to either delay processing or to make a wrong decision. Therefore, a margin of error should be given to both the caseworker and UKVI administrative arrangements.

Does the UK spouse visa timelines really matter?

Perhaps, irrespective of the duration of the processing time, an applicant is satisfied if the final decision is favourable. In fact, during the application process, it is the anxiety, which takes its toll on the applicant. However, once the result is successful then the applicant forgets: how long it took to get the final decision! Contrarily, if the end result is a refusal then applicant start finding faults in the UK visa assessment procedure. Although the decision-making process is not perfect; however, usually it is quite objective and well functioning. Quite noteworthy: do your homework before submitting the UK spouse visa application.

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time by Country 2019

Apparently, the details for UK spouse settlement visa processing time 2019 from a random sample of UKVACs indicates that nearly 10% of all settlement applications are concluded within 30 working days. However, in quite a few instances 25-40% of settlement applications decided within 30 working days. Therefore, if an applicant has purchased the priority service then there is a likelihood that the application may process within 6 weeks or 30 working days. Perhaps, most of the applications in 2019 processed within 60-90 days. However, 10-15% of the applications did not conclude even after 120 working days i.e. 24 weeks or 5-6 months.

USA

UK spouse visa timelines from the USA in July 2019

The UK spouse visa timelines from the USA in July 2019 indicates that 17%, 32% and 43% of the applications decided within 5, 10 and 15 working days, respectively. Moreover, 73%, 92% and 94% of applications processed within 30, 60 and 120 working days, respectively. Perhaps, the UK spouse visa processing time from the USA clearly indicates that waiting time varies from case to case basis. In fact, nearly 3 out of 4 UK visa applications from the USA processed within 6 weeks or 30 days. However, a final decision on 6% of the cases was not made even after the stipulated time period of 120 days.

April 2019

During April 2019, 57%, 91% and 93% of the settlement applications from DHS VAC, United States concluded within 30, 60 and 120 days, respectively. Perhaps, the aforesaid indicates that nearly more than 40% of the applicants from the US purchased the priority service for fast-tracking the UK spouse visa processing time.

March 2019

Perhaps, in March 2019 the UK spouse visa processing time from DHS VAC, United States, has been moderately quick. Accordingly, 45%, 95%, 97% and 100% of the applications decided within 30, 60, 90 and 120 days, respectively.

India

UK spouse visa processing time from India in 2019

Apparently, the UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from India indicates that some applicants may experience delays. However, nearly 25% of the settlement applicants from India opted for UK spouse visa priority processing time.

During April 2019, 23% and 29% of the applications from New Delhi and Jalandhar, India, decided within 30 working days, respectively. And, 89% and 93% applications from New Delhi and Jalandhar decided within the stipulated 120 working days. Therefore, this strongly indicates that processing time for some spouse settlement applicants from India will inevitably escalate beyond 60, 90 and even 120 working days. Perhaps, UKVI intents to meet its service standards. However, proper scrutiny is more important before making a final decision.

Pakistan

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Pakistan

The UK spouse visa timelines from Pakistan in July 2019 indicates delays in processing. However, there is more than a 70% chance that a UK spouse visa application from Pakistan may process within 12 weeks. And nearly 20% of applicants from Pakistan are opting for UK spouse visa priority processing time. Perhaps, 25-30% of the spouse settlement visa applications from Pakistan are not-straightforward!

UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from Islamabad

Apparently, in July 2019, 23% of the settlement applications from Islamabad, Pakistan, processed within 30 working days. Moreover, 69% and 81% of the applications decided within 60 and 120 working days.

In April 2019, 14% and 65% of the applications from Islamabad, Pakistan, decided within 30 and 60, respectively. And, 70% and 73% of the applications determined within 90 and 120 working days, respectively. Therefore, in April 2019, 27% of settlement applications remained outstanding beyond the stipulated service standard of 120 days.

During March 2019, 32% and 67% of the settlement applications from Islamabad, Pakistan, concluded within 30 and 60 working days, respectively. And, 75% and 85% of the applications processed within 90 and 120 working days, respectively. Therefore, 15% of settlement applications remained outstanding beyond the stipulated service standard of 120 days.

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Karachi

Apparently, in July 2019, 19% of the settlement applications from Karachi, Pakistan, processed within 30 working days. And, 73% and 84% of the applications from Karachi, Pakistan, decided within 60 and 120 working days, respectively. Therefore, 16% of settlement applications remained outstanding beyond the stipulated service standard of 120 working days.

UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from Lahore

In July 2019, 24% of the settlement applications from Lahore, Pakistan, processed within 30 working days. However, 75% and 92% of the applications from Lahore, Pakistan, decided within 60 and 120 working days, respectively. Therefore, 8% of settlement applications remained outstanding beyond the stipulated service standard of 120 working days.

UAE

UK spouse visa processing time from Abu Dhabi, UAE

Evidently, the UK spouse visa processing time from Abu Dhabi, UAE, is quite quick. And more than 60% of the Emirati nationals and foreign residents from Abu Dhabi are fast-tracking UK spouse visa processing time by using the priority service.

Perhaps, in April 2019, 67% of settlement applications from Abu-Dhabi concluded within 30 working days. And, 97% and 100% of the applications decided within 60 and 90 days, respectively.

Moreover, in March 2019, 82% of the applications from Abu Dhabi, UAE, concluded within 30 working days. And, 95% and 100% of the settlement applications determined within 60 and 90 working days.

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Dubai, UAE

The UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from UAE is quite quick. In fact, 7%, 15%, 32% and 35% of the applications in April 2019 concluded within 3, 5, 10 and 15 working days, respectively. And as many as 63% and 81% of the applications decided within 30 and 60 days, respectively. Moreover, all the settlement applications from Dubai, UAE, processed within 90 days.

Turkey

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Istanbul, Turkey

Perhaps, the UK spouse visa processing time from Istanbul, Turkey, is quite normal. And more than 30% of the applicants from Istanbul, Turkey, are opting for UK spouse visa priority processing time.

In March 2019, 34% of the applications from Istanbul decided within 30 working days. And, 87% and 95% of the applications processed within 60 and 90 days, respectively.

During April 2019, 62% of settlement applications from Istanbul, Turkey, concluded within 30 working days. And, 93% and 100% of the applications determined with 60 and 90 days, respectively.

UK spouse visa processing time from Ankara, Turkey

In July 2019, only 21% of the applications from Ankara, Turkey, decided within 30 days. However, 80% and 92% of the applications processed within 60 and 120 days, respectively. Therefore, 8% of the applications remained outstanding even after 120 days i.e. 24 weeks or 5-6 months.

Nigeria

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Nigeria

In March 2019, only 9% of the family settlement applications from Lagos, Nigeria decided within 30 working days. And, 90% and 93% of the applications processed within 60 and 120 working days, respectively.

The Philippines

UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from the Philippines

In April 2019, 15% of the settlement applications from Manila, Philippines, decided within 30 working days. And, 86%, 91% and 95% of the applications processed within 60, 90 and 120 working days.

Quite clearly, during March 2019, 40% of the applications from the Philippines concluded within 30 working days. However, 89% and 94% of the applications determined within 60 and 120 working days, respectively.

Sri Lanka

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Sri Lanka

During March 2019, only 5%, 61% and 72% of the settlement applications from Sri Lanka concluded within 30, 60 and 120 days, respectively. Therefore, 28% of the settlement applications remained outstanding beyond the stipulated service standard of 120 days. Perhaps, family settlement applicant from Sri Lanka may expect delays in the UK spouse visa processing time.

Ethiopia

UK settlement visa processing time from Ethiopia

Apparently, during April 2019, 28%, 83%, 98% and 99% of the applications from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, decided within 30, 60, 90 and 120 working days, respectively. However, in March 2019, 7% and 100% of the applications from Ethiopia concluded within 30 and 60 days, respectively.

Uganda

UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from Uganda

In March 2019, 8%, 97% and 100% of the UK settlement visa applications from Uganda concluded within 30, 60 and 90 days, respectively. And 25%, 97% and 98% of the applications from Uganda decided within 30, 60 and 120 days in April 2019, respectively.

Nepal

UK settlement visa timelines 2019 from Nepal

During April 2019, 9% of the applications from Kathmandu, Nepal, decided within 30. And, 94% and 95% of the applications determined within 60 and 120 working days, respectively.

In fact, during March 2019, 94% of the settlement applications from Nepal concluded within 60 working days. And, 95% and 98% of the applications processed within 90 and 120 working days, respectively.

Sudan

UK settlement visa processing time 2019 from Sudan

In April 2019, 8% of the spouse settlement applications from Khartum, Sudan, decided within 30 working days. And, 95%, 97% and 99% of the applications processed within 60, 90 and 120 working days, respectively.

Apparently, during March 2019, 7% of the applications from Sudan concluded within 30 working days. And, 96% and 100% of the applications determined within 60 and 90 working days, respectively.

Ghana

UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from Accra, Ghana

In March 2019, 8% of the applications from Ghana decided within 30. And, 76%, 89% and 91% of the applications processed within 60, 90 and 120 working days, respectively. Therefore, 9% of the settlement applications from Ghana remained outstanding beyond the stipulated service standard of 120 days. Therefore, applicants from Ghana may experience delays in UK spouse visa processing time.

Lebanon

UK spouse visa timelines from Beirut, Lebanon in 2019

In March 2019, only 13% of the UK settlement visa applications from Lebanon processed within 30 days. However, 87%, 95% and 97% of the applications decided within 60, 90 and 120 days, respectively.

Egypt

UK settlement visa processing time 2019 from Egypt

Perhaps, the UK spouse visa processing time from Egypt is quite quick. Apparently, in April 2019, 9% and 22% of the settlement applications from Egypt decided within 15 and 30 days, respectively. However, 97% of applications concluded within 60 days. Moreover, all the applications processed within 90 days.

Bangladesh

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Bangladesh

In July 2019, 23% of the settlement applications from Dhaka, Bangladesh, decided within 30 working days. Moreover, 74%, 85% and 100% of the applications processed within 60, 90 and 120 working days, respectively.

Hong Kong

UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from Hong Kong, China

In fact, the UK spouse visa processing time from Hong Kong is quite quick. In March 2019, 43% of the UK spouse visa applications from Hong Kong, China, decided within 15 days. And 87% and 100% of the applications concluded within 30 and 60 working days, respectively.

Jordan

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 from Jordan

During July 2019, 18% of the settlement applications from Amman, Jordan decided within 30 working days. And 77%, 94% and 100% of the applications concluded within 60, 90 and 120 working days, respectively.

Thailand

UK spouse visa timelines 2019 from Thailand

In July 2019, only 14% of applications from Bangkok, Thailand, concluded within 30 days. Moreover, 67% and 82% of applications decided within 60 and 120 working days, respectively. Therefore, 18% of the spouse settlement applications remained outstanding even after 120 working days.

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