Settlement visa processing time for UK spouse visa applications!

UK Spouse Visa TimelinesThis relates to UK family settlement visa processing time 2019 for entry clearance applications from outside the UK. And also ILR (settlement) timelines from inside the UK. Usually, settlement visa from outside the UK essentially refers to the family or spouse visa. Apparently, the UK spouse visa timelines from outside the UK predominates the UK settlement visa timelines. Moreover, the post also covers and highlights the UK spouse visa priority processing time. However, apart from spouse visa timelines, the UK family settlement visa processing time also includes other dependant family members such as children under 18, parents etc.

  1. UKVI’s service standards for UK settlement applications timelines
    • Is there any priority service to expedite the UK spouse visa timeline?
    • ILR (settlement) processing time from inside the UK
    • Should I be using the priority service for UK spouse visa processing?
    • What is the meaning of a straightforward settlement (spouse) visa case?
    • When using priority service is not advisable?
    • Why UK settlement visa processing time takes too long?
  2. UK spouse visa processing time for March and April 2019
  3. UK spouse visa processing time for July 2018
  4. Well, I like to know about some individual experiences!

UKVI’s service standards for UK settlement applications timelines

The UKVI has a couple of service standards for UK settlement visa processing time. The first is to process 95% of the applications within 12 weeks i.e. 60 working days or approx 3 months. And the second service standard is to process 100% of the applications within 24 weeks i.e. 120 working days or approx 5-6 months.

Is there any priority service to expedite the processing time?

Yes, of course, if an applicant pays an additional amount of GBP 573 for priority service, then the service standard is to process a straightforward settlement application within 30 working days or 6 weeks.

ILR (settlement) processing time from inside the UK

The indefinite leave to remain (ILR) processing time from inside the UK is usually 6 months. Moreover, 24-hours super-priority visa service is also available for processing settlement applications from inside the UK.

UK settlement, spouse and ILR processing timeUKVI Service Standard
Settlement Applications from Outside the UK95% of settlement applications within 12 weeks or 60 working days of the application date and 100% within 24 weeks or 120 working days of the application date
Settlement Applications from Outside the UK with PRIORITY service - Additional Cost £57330 working days or 6 weeks
Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or no time limit (NTL) applications6 months or 120 working days
Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or no time limit (NTL) applications with SUPER PRIORITY Service - Additional Cost £80024 hours

Should I be using the priority service then?

Yes, you may if you think that your case is straightforward. And also you can afford the additional cost without any problem. Quite noteworthy: the payment of priority service fee does not guarantee anything i.e. neither a favourable outcome nor an expeditious decision. Moreover, the priority visa fee is not refundable.

What is the meaning of a straightforward case?

A straightforward case means that an applicant has immaculate personal circumstances. Therefore, does not necessitate the immigration officer to unnecessary worry about an applicant’s background, relations with the sponsor, intentions and future plans in the UK.

When using priority service is not advisable?

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

Why UK settlement (spouse) visa processing time takes too long?

Perhaps, may be due to the share magnitude of applications, at times the UK settlement visa processing time becomes tiresome and prolonged. For instance, in Oct-Dec 2018 quarter, the UKVI received 14,961 family settlement applications. However, resolved 16,295 applications, which indicates a backlog of applications.

Year/QuarterApplicationsResolved
Settlement applications - 201857,466
58,904
Q1 201813,56513,457
Q2 201814,86014,004
Q3 201814,08015,148
Q4 201814,96116,295

UK spouse visa processing time 2019 indicates delays

Apparently, the information relating to UK spouse visa processing time 2019 for the month of March and April indicates delays.

Settlement processing time: UK spouse visa timelines April 2019

During April 2019, the UKVI quite frequently failed to meet its service standard for processing settlement applications. For instance, only 65% and 73% UK spouse visa applications submitted from UKVAC Islamabad, Pakistan, were processed within 60 and 120 working days.

UK visa application centre30 days60 days90 days120 days
Abu Dhabi, UAE67%97%100%N/A
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia28%83%98%99%
DHS VAC, United States57%91%93%93%
Islamabad, Pakistan14%65%70%73%
Istanbul, Turkey62%93%100%N/A
Kampala, Uganda25%97%97%98%
Kathmandu, Nepal9%94%95%95%
Khartoum, Sudan8%95%97%99%
Manila, Philippines15%86%91%95%

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time March 2019

Apparently, a random sample (for the month of March 2019) indicates a disparity in the UK settlement visa processing time across UKVACs. For instance, 82% of the applications submitted at UKVACs Abu Dhabi processed within 30 working days. However, only 32% of applications from Pakistan processed within 30. And merely 8-10% of applications from Nigeria and Ghana processed within 30 days. Moreover, applications from a number of UKVACs did not conclude within the service standard of 120 days (24 weeks).

UK Spouse Visa Timelines March 201930 days60 days90 days120 days
UKVI's Service StandardN/A95%N/A100%
Abu Dhabi, UAE82%95%100%N/A
Accra, Ghana8%76%89%91%
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia7%100%N/AN/A
Colombo, Sri Lanka5%61%72%72%
DHS VAC, United States45%95%97%100%
Islamabad, Pakistan32%67%75%85%
Istanbul, Turkey34%87%95%95%
Kampala, Uganda8%97%100%N/A
Kathmandu, Nepal1%94%95%98%
Khartoum, Sudan7%96%100%N/A
Lagos, Nigeria9%90%93%93%
Manila, Philippines40%89%94%94%

UK Spouse Settlement Visa Timelines 2018

Apparently, the details for UK Settlement Visa Processing Time from a random sample of fifteen (15) UKVACs during the month of July 2018 indicates that 10% of the applications submitted in nearly all the UKVACs are concluded within 30 days. However, in quite a few instances 25-50% settlement applications decided within 30 days. Therefore, if an applicant has purchased priority service then there is a likelihood that the application may process within 6 weeks (30 working days). Perhaps, most of the applications process within 60-90 days. However, a fraction of the applications does not conclude even within 120 days (24 weeks).

UK spouse visa processing time from India 2018

The UK spouse visa timelines India for the applications submitted from UKVAC Mumbai and Jalandhar indicates that 27% and 24% of the applications decided within 30 working days, respectively. Probably, this surmises that nearly one-fourth of the applicants opted for UK partner visa priority processing time and get the result within 6 weeks. Furthermore, only 90% and 97% applications decided from Mumbai and Jalandhar within the stipulated 120 working days. Accordingly, this strongly indicates that processing time for some application inevitably escalates due to verification checks and other administrative considerations of the UKVI. Moreover, UKVI intents to meet its service standards, but proper scrutiny is more important before making a final decision.

UK spouse visa processing time from Pakistan 2018

Perhaps, the UK spouse visa processing time from Pakistan for the applications submitted from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi indicate that 25%, 23% and 27% of the settlement applications processed within 30 working days, respectively. This again surmises that one out of four applicants, especially those who can afford and have a straightforward case, may be opting for UK partner visa priority processing time to expedite the decision making with 6 weeks.

Moreover, all the applications from Karachi processed within 60 days. However, only 95% and 92% of the applications from Islamabad and Lahore, respectively, decided within 60 days or 12 weeks. Furthermore, in the case of Islamabad, all the applications processed within 120 days. However, only 97% of the applications processed within 120 from Lahore. Accordingly, if an applicant has submitted a spouse visa application from Pakistan then there are more than 90% chances that the application may process within 12 weeks. Probably, with priority service, the UK spouse visa timelines could be within 6 weeks.

UK spouse visa processing time from USA 2018

The UK spouse visa timelines from the USA indicates that 15%, 31% and 45% of the applications decided within 5, 10 and 15 working days, respectively. Moreover, 74%, 94% and 98% of applications processed within 30, 60 and120 working days, respectively, Perhaps, the UK spouse visa processing time from the USA clearly indicates that waiting time varies from case to base. Although, nearly 3 out of 4 application processed within 6 weeks or 30 days; however, a final decision on 2% of the cases was not made even after the stipulated time period of 120 days.

Reasons for Prompt Processing and Delays

Contrary to UK spouse visa timelines from Pakistan and Inda, where one out of four applications processed within 30 days, approximately three out of four applications from the USA processed within 30 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 apply from countries with higher per capita income are more inclined to purchase priority service for expediting case processing.

Variation in Processing Time and Quality of Decision Making

Although 45% and 74% of the applications from the USA decided within 3 and 6 weeks; however, 2% of applications remain outstanding even after the stipulated 120 days. This indicates that UKVI is keen to meet its service standard and where possible to expedite processing without compromising the quality of decision making. Certainly, there are some individual grievances against UKVI for unnecessarily delaying the decisions and making apparently wrong decisions. But it quite human to make mistake and due to the quantum of applications, wrong decisions could be made. However, it is not in the interest of UKVI to pile up and delay processing. Therefore, a margin of error should be given to both the caseworker and UKVI administrative arrangments.

All’s Well That Ends Well

Moreover, irrespective of the duration of the processing time, an applicant is either satisfied or dissatisfied if the final decision ends with a successful visa grant or rejection. During the duration of the application process, it is the anxiety due to waiting for the result, which takes its toll on the applicant. However, once the result is successful then the applicant forgets: how long it took to reach the final decision. Contrary, if the end result is the refusal then applicant start finding fault with the decision making process. Although the decision-making process is not perfect, overall it is quite objective and well functioning. Quite noteworthy: do your homework before submitting the application.

How to Expedite Application Processing Time?

Accordingly, if you want to not only expedite the application but also like to have a successful result then submit a clear and well-structured application. Perhaps, if necessary and affordable, hire a specialist immigration solicitor for documentation. Moreover, purchase the priority service for a straightforward application. Remember: at the end, the decision is primarily reached on the documentary evidence. If the caseworker likes to get further information then may ask for additional documents or interview.

UK Spouse visa timelines Lebanon (Beirut)

From Lebanon, only 12% of the applications processed within 30 days. However, nearly 95%, 97% and 98% of the applications decided within 60, 90 and 120 days, respectively.

UK settlement visa processing time 2018 Egypt (Cairo)

Only 9% and 22% applications decided within 15 and 30 days, respectively; however, 97% of applications concluded within 60 days. Moreover, all the applications processed within 90 days.

UK spouse visa processing time UAE (Dubai)

The UK spouse visa processing time from UAE is quick as 5%, 14%, 29% and 32% of the applications concluded within 3, 5, 10 and 15 days, respectively. As many as 58% and 82% of the applications decided with 30 and 60 days, respectively. Moreover, all the applications processed within 90 days.

UK spouse settlement visa processing time Bangladesh (Dhaka)

20% and 94% of applications decided within 30 days, respectively. Moreover, all the applications processed within 90 days.

UK spouse visa processing time China (Hong Kong)

46% of the applications decided within 15 days. Moreover, all the applications processed within 30 days.

UK settlement visa processing time Ghana (Accra)

Only 11% of applications processed within 30 days. Whereas, all the applications decided within 60 days.

UK spouse visa timelines 2018 Jordan (Amman)

15% and 71% of the applications decided within 30 and 60 days, respectively. Moreover, all the application concluded within 90 days.

UK spouse visa processing time Turkey (Ankara)

21% applications decided within 30 days. However, 80% and 92% of the applications processed 60 and 120 days, respectively. Therefore, 8% of the settlement/spouse visa applications were outstanding even after 120 days i.e. 24 weeks or 5-6 months.

UK Spouse visa timelines 2018 Thailand (Bangkok)

Only 10% of applications concluded within 30 days. Moreover, 86% and 100% applications decided within 60 and 90 days, respectively.

UK spouse visa processing time: individual experiences!

For further information relating to UK spouse settlement visa timelines, please read the following experiences:

UK Settlement Visa Processing Time Experience # 1

Finally, we got our VISA, listed down are the details.

  • Type: Settlement VISA (Husband Holds ILR) with Non-Priority Service
  • Biometric Submission @VFS Bangalore: 28th Mar 2017
  • online application received @Sheffiled: 29th Mar 2017
  • Documents submitted @Sheffiled: 7th April 2017
  • VISA received: 29th June 2017

We had applied under category B, with the below details.

  • PART I: He was holding a job offer of more than or equal to £18500/Annum.
  • PART II: income from the immediate past 12 months employment must be more than or equal to £18500) we ”Added Both overseas (7 months) & UK Employment Income”.

He had just got a transfer to the UK from India for the same employer. Dark waiting time of 3 months!!! there were no updates from UKVI in between waiting time, and yes we got it finally. All the best for those are in the anticipation of VISA.

UK Family Settlement Visa Processing Time Experience # 2

  • Application submitted & biometrics enrolled at Application completed on 5 October 2015
  • Biometrics at Lahore on 8 October 2015
  • Supporting documents sent to Sheffield on 16 October 2015
  • Supporting documents received back from Sheffield on 11 January 2016
  • Contacted with ‘decision made’: 4 January 2016
  • Afterwards Contacted for Collection: 13 January 2016
  • The collection made on 13 January 2016
  • The decision of Application: Visa granted

UK Spouse Visa Timelines Experience # 3

  • Online application submitted on 02/10/15
  • Biometrics enrolled at & enrolled on 22/10/15
  • Supporting documents sent to Sheffield on 26/10/15
  • Afterwards, supporting documents received back from Sheffield on
  • Status Checked: 15/01/2016 Processed
  • IHS Refunded: 19/01/2016
  • Contacted for Collection: 22/01/16
  • Collection made: 25/01/16

Final Decision Refused (refused with a silly reason that eco thinks “couple have not met in person” even though wedding photographs provided with the application. Certified copies of passport showing spouse were in Pakistan. I don’t know what else I can provide or how eco thinks that they have not met in person. This was the only reason.)

UK Family Settlement Visa Processing Time Experience # 4

  • Application submitted & biometrics enrolled at 05/10/2015
  • Case File forwarded to British High Commission on 12/10/2015
  • The application under process at the British High Commission on 13/10/2015
  • Supporting documents sent to Sheffield on 12/10/2015
  • Supporting documents received back from Sheffield on: Not yet received
  • Sponsor contacted by UKVI (if applicable) – NA
  • Contacted with ‘decision made’: 25/01/2016
  • Contacted for Collection: 26/01/2016
  • Collection made: 27/01/2016
  • The decision of Application: Visa Granted

Also, I need to mention for people who want to change jobs – I changed my previous job on 1st December and sent the new employment contract to Sheffield, wasn’t asked but I just sent it anyway.

PS. Mrs was refused twice on a Family Visitor Visa – Reason for refusal was that ECO wasn’t satisfied that she will leave the country at the end of Visit Visa.

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