UK Settlement Visa Processing Time | UK Spouse Visa Timelines!

UK Spouse Visa TimelinesThis relates to UK family settlement visa processing time 2019 for entry clearance applications from outside 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.

Why UK settlement visa processing time is so exhausting?

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.

Please note in Table below *T EC APP. is Total Entry Clearance Applications from outside the UK. *T Family APP. means Total Family Settlement Applications. PIS, CIS and OIS mean Partner, Child or Other for Immediate Settlement. SR and RR mean success and refusal rates.

CategoryApplicationsResolvedGranted*SRRefused*RRWDNLapsed
*T EC APP.637,211635,758543,53585.49%90,44514.23%1,75226
*T Family APP.14,96116,29512,50276.72%3,69822.69%914
Partner10,44911,4319,26881.08%2,10418.41%563
*PIS34979193.81%55.15%10
Child1,7661,7861,23268.98%53529.96%190
*CIS45391448352.84%42946.94%20
Other2,1701,9411,40672.44%52326.94%111
*OIS891262217.46%10280.95%20

UKVI receives settlement applications from across the globe!

Perhaps, what makes the thing a bit more complicated is the fact of receiving and processing applications from different countries and backgrounds. For instance, in Oct-Dec 2018, the UKVI receives applications from all parts of the globe.

Country of nationalityTotalPartnerPIS*ChildCIS*OtherOIS*
*Total12,5029,268911,2324831,40622
Afghanistan3431960507900
Albania736308020
Algeria847905000
American Samoa0000000
Andorra0000000
Angola1100000
Anguilla (British)0000000
Antigua and Barbuda2101000
Argentina171601000
Armenia4400000
Aruba0000000
Australia214179029420
Austria0000000
Azerbaijan15903030
Bahamas, The4400000
Bahrain7400030
Bangladesh637551076901
Barbados6600000
Belarus151400010
Belgium0000000
Belize4400000
Benin3200100
Bermuda (British)0000000
Bhutan0000000
Bolivia4201010
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba0000000
Bosnia and Herzegovina7601000
Botswana3200100
Brazil13412706100
British overseas citizens1000010
Brunei1100000
Bulgaria0000000
Burkina1100000
Burma3102000
Burundi2100010
Cambodia6501000
Cameroon341803490
Canada13612709000
Cape Verde1000010
Cayman Islands (British)0000000
Central African Republic0000000
Chad1000010
Chile8701000
China2632020332071
Christmas Island0000000
Cocos (Keeling) Islands0000000
Colombia635605200
Comoros0000000
Congo2100100
Congo (Democratic Republic)507026341
Cook Islands0000000
Costa Rica3300000
Croatia0000000
Cuba121002000
Curacao0000000
Cyprus0000000
Cyprus (Northern part of)1100000
Czech Republic0000000
Denmark0000000
Djibouti1100000
Dominica3300000
Dominican Republic131101100
East Timor0000000
Ecuador111100000
Egypt9072070110
El Salvador1100000
Equatorial Guinea1000010
Eritrea293340532501
Estonia1000010
Ethiopia9038047410
Falkland Islands (British)0000000
Faroe Islands0000000
Fiji191206100
Finland0000000
Former Yugoslavia0000000
France0000000
French Guiana0000000
French Polynesia0000000
Gabon0000000
Gambia, The503704630
Georgia2200000
Germany1001000
Ghana2231733182630
Gibraltar (British)0000000
Greece0000000
Greenland0000000
Grenada121002000
Guadeloupe0000000
Guam0000000
Guatemala3300000
Guinea12301440
Guinea-Bissau0000000
Guyana4301000
Haiti1100000
Heard Island and McDonald Islands0000000
Honduras5500000
Hong Kong8066013010
Hungary0000000
Iceland0000000
India1,01583121502732
Indonesia645904010
Iran34014431211782
Iraq2191970101110
Ireland0000000
Israel262303000
Italy0000000
Ivory Coast7202210
Jamaica1451160111611
Japan696206010
Jordan232300000
Kazakhstan141102100
Kenya564508210
Kiribati0000000
Korea (North)0000000
Korea (South)353500000
Kosovo282203300
Kuwait0000000
Kyrgyzstan5202100
Laos0000000
Latvia0000000
Lebanon403102160
Lesotho0000000
Liberia5400100
Libya4013000270
Liechtenstein0000000
Lithuania0000000
Luxembourg0000000
Macau0000000
Macedonia3300000
Madagascar1100000
Malawi13911200
Malaysia8264016002
Maldives0000000
Mali0000000
Malta0000000
Marshall Islands0000000
Martinique0000000
Mauritania0000000
Mauritius353301100
Mayotte0000000
Mexico636201000
Micronesia0000000
Moldova0000000
Monaco0000000
Mongolia7502000
Montenegro0000000
Montserrat (British)0000000
Morocco13513103010
Mozambique1000100
Namibia0000000
Nauru0000000
Nepal505250725112930
Netherlands0000000
New Caledonia0000000
New Zealand545202000
Nicaragua5500000
Niger0000000
Nigeria3622670642650
Niue0000000
Norfolk Island0000000
Northern Mariana Islands0000000
Norway0000000
Occupied Palestinian Territories161501000
Oman1100000
Other and unknown222002180
Pakistan2,3081,997520917791
Palau0000000
Panama2200000
Papua New Guinea0000000
Paraguay0000000
Peru131300000
Philippines5123882784400
Pitcairn Islands (British)0000000
Poland0000000
Portugal0000000
Puerto Rico0000000
Qatar0000000
Refugee241501080
Reunion0000000
Romania0000000
Russia130111013150
Rwanda3200100
Samoa0000000
San Marino0000000
Sao Tome and Principe0000000
Saudi Arabia8404000
Senegal5301100
Serbia181601100
Seychelles6303000
Sierra Leone372408401
Singapore242202000
Slovakia0000000
Slovenia0000000
Solomon Islands0000000
Somalia111401813481
South Africa3512351862810
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands0000000
Spain0000000
Sri Lanka2771980191572
St. Helena (British)0000000
St. Kitts and Nevis0000000
St. Lucia9801000
St. Maarten (Dutch Part)0000000
St. Martin (French Part)0000000
St. Pierre and Miquelon0000000
St. Vincent and the Grenadines4301000
Stateless200001190
Sudan191350201531
Sudan (South)2000020
Surinam0000000
Svalbard and Jan Mayen0000000
Swaziland4202000
Sweden0000000
Switzerland0000000
Syria258310202232
Taiwan333300000
Tajikistan1100000
Tanzania232210000
Thailand242211025420
Togo1100000
Tokelau0000000
Tonga0000000
Trinidad and Tobago11901100
Tunisia464600000
Turkey2482050280150
Turkmenistan5300020
Turks and Caicos Islands (British)0000000
Tuvalu0000000
Uganda5329047130
Ukraine11289015161
United Arab Emirates1100000
United States607577027111
Uruguay2200000
Uzbekistan14905000
Vanuatu0000000
Vatican City0000000
Venezuela121200000
Vietnam89590110190
Virgin Islands (British)0000000
Virgin Islands (US)0000000
Wallis and Futuna0000000
Western Sahara0000000
Yemen453204270
Zambia2312011000
Zimbabwe1004601124181

What are UKVI’s service standards for settlement applications?

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.

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.

I need to know about the actual processing times

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).

UKVAC5 days10 days15 days30 days60 days90 days120 days
UKVI's Service StandardN/AN/AN/AN/A95%N/A100%
Abu Dhabi, UAE2%22%45%82%95%100%N/A
Accra, GhanaN/AN/A6%8%76%89%91%
Addis Ababa, EthiopiaN/AN/A3%7%100%N/AN/A
Colombo, Sri LankaN/AN/AN/A5%61%72%72%
DHS VAC, United StatesN/A6%9%45%95%97%100%
Islamabad, Pakistan2%5%15%32%67%75%85%
Istanbul, Turkey2%2%4%34%87%95%95%
Kampala, UgandaN/AN/A8%8%97%100%N/A
Kathmandu, NepalN/AN/AN/A1%94%95%98%
Khartoum, SudanN/AN/AN/A7%96%100%N/A
Lagos, NigeriaN/AN/AN/A9%90%93%93%
Manila, PhilippinesN/A2%21%40%89%94%94%

I need to know more about UK Spouse Settlement Visa Timelines

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).

What is the UK spouse visa processing time from India?

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.

How about UK spouse visa processing time from Pakistan?

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.

Well, what if I am a US Citizen or a Green Card Holder?

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.

Well, I like to know about some 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 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.

Furthermore, to know more: UK Tourist Visa Processing Time, UK Immigration Appeal Waiting Time, UK Visa Russia Processing Time, UK Spouse Visa Accommodation Requirements