UK Priority Visa Fast Tracking Service: what you need to know?

Fast Track UK Visa Processing Time from Inside and Outside the UKThis relates to UK Priority Visa Service (aka premium or express service) to Fast Track UK Visa Processing Time. Accordingly, the post explains the following aspects of UK priority and super-priority visa processing service:

  1. What is the purpose of Priority Service?
    • Do I need to pay an additional amount for priority service?
    • Can I Fast Track My UK Visa Application?
    • How can I Fast Track my application from outside the UK?
    • How can I Fast Track my application from inside the UK?
    • Does purchasing priority service guarantees a decision?
    • When it is not advisable to use priority service?
    • Should I Contact UKVI During the Assessment Process?
    • Can I track my application status by using the GWF number?
    • How can I contact UKVI for knowing the application status?
  2. How to use Priority Service from Outside the UK?
    • Priority and Super-Priority service for non-settlement applications
    • Can I fast track my settlement visa application?
  3. How to Fast Track UK Visa from Inside the UK?
    • How to use priority and super-priority service inside the UK?
    • Priority Visa Service UK from Inside the UK
    • Super-Priority Service has replaced the Premium Service
    • Do I get an email from UKVI about the decision?
    • Types of Applications Processed through UKVCAS

1) What is the purpose of Priority Service?

The purpose of UK priority and super-priority visa service is only to fast track UK visa processing time by putting an application at the front of the queue. Certainly, the purpose of priority or super-priority service is not to influence the decision. Apparently, priority and super-priority services are not available for all types of visa applications. Moreover, the UK priority visa service and UK visa premium service are only for processing a straightforward case and not complex applications. However, if your application is complex and you like to use the priority or super-priority service then no one will be stopping you to do so!

Do I need to pay an additional amount for priority service?

Yes. Apparently, UK priority and premium services are optional user-pay services, which are exclusive to the application fee. Therefore, you need to pay an additional amount of:

  1. £220 for UK priority visa service for non-settlement applications from outside the UK.
  2. £500 for priority service for leave to remain application for leave to remain applications from inside the UK.
  3. £573 for UK priority settlement visa service from outside the UK.
  4. £800 for UK super-priority visa service for leave to remain and ILR (settlement) applications from inside the UK.
  5. £956 for super-priority service for non-settlement applications from outside the UK.

Is the fee refundable after biometrics?

No, the fee for priority and super-priority visa service from inside and outside the UK are not refundable after biometrics.

UK priority and super-priority visa service info

UK priority and super-priority visa service info!

Can I Fast Track My UK Visa Application?

Yes, if priority or super-priority visa services are available for entry clearance, leave to remain and ILR (settlement) application type, which you are applying from inside or outside the UK. Accordingly, if the service available and you can afford and intend to get the decision as soon as possible then may opt for UK priority visa service. However, if you think that by using the priority service you will get the visa then you are mistaken! Certainly, the UK priority visa processing service is not meant to increase the balance of probabilities and influence the decision.

How can I Fast Track my application from outside the UK?

To fast track visa processing time from outside the UK, the following types of services are available:

  1. Priority visa service to fast-track non-settlement applications– such as visitor, Tier 2 work, Tier 4 student- within 5 working days or 1 week instead of the usual processing time of 15 working days or 3 weeks.
  2. Priority visa service to fast-track settlement applications– such as a spouse, child, parent visa application under Appendix FM- within 30 working days or 6 weeks instead of the usual processing time of 60-120 working days or 12-24 weeks.
  3. Super-priority visa service to fast-track non-settlement applications– such as visitor, Tier 2 work, Tier 4 student- within 24 hours instead of the usual processing time of 15 working days or 3 weeks.

How can I Fast Track my application from inside the UK?

To fast track visa processing time from inside the UK, the following types of services are available:

  1. Priority service through UKVCAS to fast-track, a temporary leave to remain application- such as spouses, workers, Tier 1 general and entrepreneurs, students and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker– within 5 working days instead of 8 weeks or 40 working days. Please note: in the previous system, fast-tracking time through the Premium Service Centres was 10 working days.
  2. Super-Priority service through UKVCAS to fast-track, a temporary leave to remain application- such as spouses, workers, Tier 1 general and entrepreneurs, students and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker within 24 hours instead of 8 weeks or 40 working days.
  3. Super-priority service through UKVCAS to fast-track an indefinite leave to remain (settlement) application within 24 hours instead of 6 months or 120 working days.

Please note: the super-priority service was previously known as UK premium visa service and was only available through the 8 Premium Service Centres across the UK.

Standard, Priority and Super-Priority ServiceUKVI Service Standard
Non-Settlement Applications from Outside the UK without priority service90% of non-settlement applications within 3 weeks or 15 working days, 98% within 6 weeks or 30 working days and 100% within 12 weeks or 60 working days of the application date (where 1 week is 5 working days)
Non-Settlement Applications from Outside the UK with PRIORITY service - Additional Cost £2205 working days or 1 week
Non-Settlement Applications from Outside the UK with SUPER priority service - Additional Cost £95624 hours
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
Leave to remain remain applications on a temporary basis including as spouses, workers, Tier 1 general and entrepreneurs, students and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker8 weeks or 40 working days
Leave to remain remain applications on a temporary basis with PRIORITY service - Additional Cost £5005 working days or 1 week - please check your application type for available priority services
Leave to remain remain applications on a temporary basis with SUPER PRIORITY Service - Additional Cost £80024 hours - please check your application type for available super priority services
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

Does purchasing priority service guarantees a decision?

No. UK priority or premium service is only to fast track UK visa processing time for a straightforward and well-documented case. Moreover, these services do not have any influence on the outcome; however, certainly, an applicant may use these services if the focus is to get the decision as quickly as possible. Perhaps, in most of the cases, it is quite futile to use these services merely to increase the balance of probabilities for getting a positive decision.

When it is not advisable to use priority service?

Certainly, if the case is not straightforward and well-documented then it is quite inevitable to experience delays. Accordingly, it is not advisable to use priority and super-priority services where an applicant:

  1. has either been refused a visa (for UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, or the Schengen countries) or leave to enter the UK and/or;
  2. has either overstayed or been deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK, and/or;
  3. leave to remain in the UK was curtailed by the Home Office, and/or;
  4. refusal of leave to remain in the UK by the Home Office, and/or;
  5. was interviewed, detained, or prosecuted by the police for any offence in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, and/or;
  6. has an unspent criminal conviction in any country, and/or;
  7. has committed a criminal offence in any country.

Accordingly, if the application is not straightforward and well-documented then in spite of paying the service charges for UK priority visa service, an applicant may experience delays in the UK Visa Processing Time beyond the stated service standards.

Should I Contact UKVI During the Assessment Process?

In some circumstances, applications require further assessment which can take longer than the published customer service standards of UKVI. If an application is going to take longer than expected then the UKVI will inform the applicant accordingly. Therefore, applicants should keep their correspondence to a minimum during the consideration process.

Do UKVI inform about delays in priority visa processing?

Yes, in case of a delay in UK priority visa processing, the UKVI usually send this message to the applicant:

Dear Customer,

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. THIS MAILBOX IS NOT MONITORED.

Your UK visa application is currently under consideration at the British Embassy Abu Dhabi.

We are aware that you purchased the priority service. And I can confirm that your application was assessed ahead of other visa applications. Unfortunately the processing of your application has been delayed while we undertake further assessment. This means that we will be unable to make a decision within our published customer service standards.

We will notify you when your application has been concluded. And you will be contacted by the Visa Application Centre when your documents are ready for collection. Please do not go to the Visa Application Centre before they have contacted you.

Please avoid making travel arrangements until you have collected your passport.

We would be grateful if you could keep your correspondence to a minimum during the consideration process. If however you need to contact us or would like to track the progress of your application, you can do so via our International Enquiry Service at www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-outside-uk

Kind regards,

UK Visas and Immigration

British Embassy Abu Dhabi

www.gov.uk/ukvi

Can I track my application status by using the GWF number?

Perhaps, a few years ago, applicants were able to track their UK application status online. However, since the introduction of GWF number in early 2014, there is no free online service for tracking the application status. Accordingly, if an applicant is keen to know about the UK visa application status then needs to contact UKVI. However, it is not a free service but a paid service.

How can I contact UKVI for knowing the application status?

If an applicant intends to track the progress of an application then may contact the UKVI’s enquiry service from inside and outside the UK. Although, the staff of UKVI is usually very polite and considerate; however, they cannot give any advice about the personal circumstances of an applicant. Therefore, you may ask questions for which the staff of the contact centre may be able to give adequate replies!

Calling UKVI for tracking visa application

From outside the UK, an applicant may call UKVI at +44 2034811736 to know the status of the UK visa application. Apparently, the service is available 24 hours from Monday to Friday. Perhaps, the representatives of UKVI are usually quite polite. And also apart from English, the service is available in Arabic, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish. Usually, after greetings, the UKVI asks for caller’s name and the Credit or Debit Card number. And also informs about the service charges of £1.37 per minute exclusive of international call charges. For instance, if an applicant talks to UKVI for 5 mins, the service charges will amount to £6.85.

Emailing UKVI for knowing the UK visa application status

Alternatively, an applicant can contact UKVI by email. However, an enquirer needs a credit or debit card to use the email service of UKVI. Accordingly, this first requires filling in the online form and the payment details before sending the email. Perhaps, the cost of each enquiry is £5.48. And this is inclusive of initial email plus any follow-up emails relating to the same enquiry. Therefore, to know the UK application status the applicant may provide the GWF number and other relevant details. Usually, the UKVI service standard is to reply within two working days. Please note: the UKVI contact centre staff are not involved in the decision process. And for urgent enquiries, it is recommended to use the phone service.

2) How to use Priority Service from Outside the UK?

The UK Priority Service from outside the UK is available for settlement as well as non-settlement visa applications from most of the UK Visa Applications Centres (UKVACs). Moreover, at a few UKVACs, Super Priority Visa Service is also available only for non-settlement applications.

Priority service for non-settlement applications

Perhaps, the priority service has become exceedingly popular as applicants like to get a decision as soon as possible. Therefore, you can fast track your non-settlement application by paying £220 for UK priority visa service.

How quickly you can get a decision?

Apparently, the service standard of UKVI is to process 90% of non-settlement applications within 3 weeks or 15 working days, 98% within 6 weeks or 30 working days and 100% within 12 weeks or 60 working days of an applicant’s biometrics date. However, by using the priority service you can fast track your non-settlement application and can get a decision within 5 working days!

Super-Priority Visa Service 24 Hours

The Super-priority visa service is the 24-hours service and costs £956, in addition to the application fee. Perhaps, the service is not available in most of the countries. And it is also not available for settlement visa application processing. For instance, super priority visa service in India is only available at UKVAC New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai for visitor visas, Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa applications.

How to pay for the UK Priority Visa Sevice?

If you want to use the UK priority visa service, then select the Priority Service in the online application. Accordingly, the priority or super-priority visa fee will add to your total application fee. For instance, if you are applying for 6 months standard visitor visa then instead of £95 you will be paying £315 or equivalent in US$ or local currency. Please note: the fee is non-refundable!

However, if you have selected Standard Service then can easily upgrade it to Priority or Super Priority Service before application submission at the UKVAC.

Is the UK priority visa service really popular?

Yes, apparently priority service is quite popular. The information available at UK Family, Business, Tourist and Long Term Visit Visa Processing Times indicates that apart from a few exceptions at an average approx. 40-60% of the visitor visa applications are decided within 5 working days. This indicates that in order to get a decision quickly, applicants like to opt for the priority service.

Can I fast track my settlement visa application?

Yes, you can fast-track your family settlement application for spouse, child, parent visa from outside the UK by paying £573, in addition to the application fee.

How quickly you can get a decision?

Apparently, the service standard of UKVI is to process 90% of the settlement applications within 12 weeks and 100% within 24 weeks of an applicant’s biometrics date. However, by using the priority service you can fast track your settlement application and can get a decision within 30 working days or 6 weeks!

Are applicants really using priority settlement service?

Yes, it is getting quite popular as applicants don’t like to wait for 60-120 to get a decision. Accordingly, the information available at UK Settlement Visa Processing Time indicates that 25-50% of settlement applications decide within 30 days.

Moreover, to know the country-specific details of UK visa applications and priority service please refer to Egypt, Ghana, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, RussiaSaudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, USA

3) How to Fast Track UK Visa from Inside the UK?

Prior to November 2018, there were three services for expediting/fast-tracking UK visa viz. Priority Service, Premium Service Centres and Super Premium Service. However, with the introduction of the UK Visa Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS), the aforesaid services have been replaced with the priority and super-priority service for leave to remain and ILR (settlement) applications from inside the UK.

How to use priority and super-priority service inside the UK?

Perhaps, like in case of an entry clearance application, if an applicant intends to expedite the processing of leave to remain or ILR (settlement) application then can simply select the optional priority and super-priority service before making online payment of the application. The cost of the priority or super-priority service will add to the application fee.

Priority Visa Service UK from Inside the UK

The price of Priority service from inside the UK is £500 and the service standard is to process a straightforward application within 5 working days of an applicant’s biometric information (fingerprints and photo) at UK Visa and Citizen Application Services (UKVCAS) appointment centre.

Moreover, it is available for applicants applying to remain on a temporary basis including as, Tier 1 General and Entrepreneurs, Spouses, Workers, Organisations seeking to Sponsor a Worker, and Students. However, it is apparently not available for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications.

How much an application may cost with priority service?

For leave to remain application, the final application cost with priority service from inside the UK will comprise of:

  • Home Office Application Fee for a Leave to Remain Fee Application
  • Biometrics Enrolment Fee £19.20
  • Priority Service Fee £500
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which an applicant needs to pay separately

Super-Priority Service has replaced the UK Visa Premium Service

The 24-hours super-priority service has replaced the premium or same-day visa through the Premium Application Centres. Accordingly, the super-priority service is available for a fee of £800. This service can be used for extension applications (‘limited leave to remain’) and also for permanent settlement applications (ILR).

Certainly, an applicant must have all the requisite information to enable the provision of a decision within 24-hours. Moreover, depending on the circumstances and documentation of the applicant, it may take longer to reach a decision due to extra checks and verifications.

Do I get an email from UKVI about the decision?

Yes, you may get an email from the Home Office (UKVI) only if your application is successful. However, in case of a rejection, you may only receive a refusal letter in the post. Accordingly, you will receive your biometric residence permit (BRP) within 7 to 10 days of the email.

For instance, if you apply for leave to remain in the UK on April 22 by using the super-priority service. Then in case of an affirmative decision, you may receive an email from Home Office the next day. Accordingly, you may get your BRP by May 3!

Types of Applications Processed through UKVCAS

From Jan 2019, following types of applications will be processed through UKVCAS:

Types of Applications Processed through UKVCAS

Types of Applicants eligible to use the new UKVCAS from Jan 2019

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