This relates to UK priority and super-priority visa service (aka premium or express service) to fast track processing time- with Covid-19 update. Accordingly, provides the details of when and how to use the UK priority and premium visa service to fast track processing time? And also the UK priority and super-priority visa service timelines to fast track spouse, visitor, Tier 2 work, Tier 4 student, Tier 5 Temporary Worker, extension, leave to remain and ILR applications.
UK Priority and Premium Visa Service Purpose
The UK priority and premium visa services are optional user-pay services, which are exclusive to the application fee. The purpose of UK priority visa service is to fast track processing time by putting an application at the front of the queue. And these services are mainly for a straightforward and well-documented case. Therefore, an applicant may use these services if the focus is to get the decision as quickly as possible.
Please note, the purpose of priority service is not to influence the decision. Perhaps, if an applicant thinks that by using the UK premium service he/she will get the visa then is surely mistaken! Certainly, the service is not meant to increase the balance of probabilities. Moreover, some applicants even may experience delays in timelines despite paying the UK priority visa fees.
Migrants forced to wait months for UK visa despite paying £800 for priority
Furthermore, the service is not available for all types of applications. Therefore, if priority or super-priority visa service is available for entry clearance, leave to remain or ILR (settlement) then only an applicant can fast track the UK visa processing time.
2. When to Use?
When to Use the UK Visa Priority Service?
Perhaps, the UK priority visa service is only for processing a straightforward case and not complex applications. Therefore, if the application is not straightforward and well-documented then it is quite inevitable to experience delays. And it is not advisable to use priority service for complex applications. However, if an application is complex and an applicant likes to use the priority service then can do so. Therefore, it is not advisable to use priority and super-priority services if:
- an applicant has an adverse immigration history due to past visa refusal. Perhaps, especially that of UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, or the Schengen countries
- the applicant was refused a leave to enter at the UK border control
- an applicant overstayed and subsequently was deported or removed from the UK
- in the past a leave to remain of the applicant was curtailed by the Home Office
- the Home Office had refused a leave to remain
- the applicant was interviewed, detained, or prosecuted by the police for any offence in the United Kingdom or elsewhere
- an applicant has an unspent criminal conviction in any country
- an applicant has committed a criminal offence in any country
3. How to Pay?
How to Pay for the UK Priority Visa Service?
If an applicant wants to fast track UK visa timelines then needs to select the Priority Service option in the online application. Accordingly, the priority or super-priority visa fee will add to the total application fee. For instance, if an applicant is applying for 6 months standard visitor visa then instead of £95 the applicant will be paying £315 or equivalent in US$ or local currency. Please note: the fee is non-refundable after biometrics. And in most of the instances, an applicant can upgrade the Standard Service to Priority or Super Priority Service at UKVAC.
Apparently, depending on the type of application the cost of priority service may range from £220-£956 to fast track processing time. However, in any case, the fee is not refundable after biometrics. The cost and benefit of following types of UK priority (aka premium or express) visa services are as under:
- UK Priority Non-Settlement Visa Service
- Super Priority Service (Non-Settlement)
- UK Priority Settlement Visa Service
- Priority Service for Leave to Remain Applications
- Super Priority Service for Leave to Remain Applications
- ILR Premium Service
1. UK Priority Visa Service – Non-Settlement (£220)
The UK priority non-settlement service fees is £220 to fast track timelines of visitor, Tier 2 General, Tier 4 student and Tier 5 visa applications. Accordingly, an applicant can fast track processing time of a non-settlement application within 5 working days. Please note, the normal (non-priority) service standard of UKVI is to process 90% of non-settlement applications within 3 weeks or 15 working days. And 98% and 100% of applications within 6 and 12 weeks after biometrics, respectively.
In fact, this service is a very popular and available at most of the UK Visa Applications Centres (UKVACs). Accordingly, the information for UK business and tourist visa processing time indicates that at an average approx 40-60% of the visitors use the priority service. Therefore, in order to get a prompt decision, applicants are willing to pay an additional cost of £220.
2. UK Super Priority Visa Service – Non-Settlement (£956)
The fee of UK super-priority non-settlement service is £956 to fast track timelines of visitor, Tier 2 work, Tier 4 student and Tier 5 visa applications within 1-day (or 24 hours) instead of the standard processing time of 15 working days (or 3 weeks). However, the UK super priority visa service to fast track processing time is available only at a few UKVACs. For instance, the UK super priority service in India is only available at UKVAC New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to fast track visitor, Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa processing time.
3. UK Priority Visa Service – Settlement (£573)
The UK priority spouse visa service fees is £573 to fast track timelines of family settlement applications under Appendix FM. Accordingly, an applicant can fast track the UK spouse visa timelines and can get a decision within 30 working days or 6 weeks! Please note, the normal (non-priority) UK settlement visa service standard of UKVI is to process 98.5% of the spouse applications within 12 weeks or 60 working days. And 100% of spouse applications within 24 weeks or 120 working days after biometrics.
In fact, the spouse premium service is quite popular and available at most of the UK Visa Applications Centres (UKVACs). Moreover, the information available at UK spouse visa processing time indicates that 25-30% of applicants are also using the priority settlement service.
4. Leave to Remain Priority Service (£500)
The UK priority visa service fees is £500 to fast track the processing time of the following temporary leave to remain applications within 5 working day instead of the normal 8 weeks (or 40 working days):
- Tier 1 Entrepreneurs
- Tier 4 Students
- Organisations seeking to sponsor a worker such as Tier 2, Tier 5 etc.
5. Leave to Remain Super Priority Service (£800)
Indeed, the UK super priority visa service fees is £800 for fast tracking the processing time of the following temporary leave to remain applications within 24-hours (next working day) instead of 8 weeks (or 40 working days):
- Tier 1 Entrepreneurs
- Tier 4 Students
- Organisations seeking to sponsor a worker such as Tier 2, Tier 5 etc.
6. ILR Premium or Super-Priority Service (£800)
Although, the priority service is not available for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications; however, applicants can use the same-day super-priority ILR service (aka ILR premium). Moreover, the cost of ILR 24-hour premium service is £800 to fast track timelines of UK settlement visa applications within 24-hours instead of the standard ILR processing time of 6 months (or 120 working days).
UKCAS has replaced Premium Application Centre
The 24-hours UK super-priority service has replaced the ILR premium or same-day visa through the Premium Application Centres. In fact, prior to November 2018, there were three services to fast track UK visa processing time from inside the UK i.e. 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 UK priority and super visa service for leave to remain and ILR (settlement) applications. Moreover, in the previous system, fast tracking time through the Premium Service Centres was 10 working days. And the super-priority service was known as UK premium visa service and was only available through the 8 Premium Service Centres across the UK.
Delays in UK Priority Visa Timelines
Perhaps, in a few instance, UKVI/Home Office may undertake further assessment. Therefore, the UK visa fast track processing time may take longer than the customer service standards. However, if an application takes longer than expected then the UKVI normally informs the applicant. Therefore, applicants should keep their correspondence to a minimum during the consideration process.
Perhaps, a few years ago, applicants were able to track their UK application status online. However, since the introduction of the GWF number, 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.
You can call or email English-speaking staff with a question about your application. Contact centre staff cannot give you advice about your personal circumstances.
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 also available in Arabic, Cantonese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and 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.
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 an online form and the payment details. The cost of each enquiry is £5.48. And this includes initial email plus any follow-up emails. 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.
UKVI Email for delays in UK Visa Priority Service
Perhaps, in case of a delay in UK priority visa processing time, the UKVI usually send this message to the applicant:
PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. THIS MAILBOX IS NOT MONITORED.
Your UK visa application is currently under consideration.
We are aware that you purchased the UK priority visa 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.
UK Visas and Immigration
British Embassy Abu Dhabi
Home Office Email for Delays in same-day ILR Premium Service
In fact, the Home Office’s same-day service is only for straightforward ILR applications. Accordingly, the mere purchase of the same-day service does not guarantee a prompt or favourable decision! Therefore, if an ILR application is complex then there is no point of paying the fees for ILR same day service. Apparently, if an application is not straightforward then instead of a same-day decision, an applicant may receive the following communication from UKVI/Home Office:
We are sorry that your case is outside of the published service standards. We aim to complete all applications within the 24-hour service standard. However, where we are not able to do this we will complete the application as quickly as possible. If the delay in making the decision is due to UKVI, we will refund the super-priority service fee. The team will be in touch once they have made a decision.
Please note the onus is upon individual customers to ensure that they satisfy the requirements……….
Email from the Home Office – only in case of a successful decision
Please note, an in-country applicant may usually get an email from the Home Office (UKVI) only if the application is successful. Thereafter, an applicant may receive the biometric residence permit (BRP) within 7 to 10 days of the email. However, in case of a rejection, the applicant may only receive a refusal letter by post. For instance, if an applicant applies for leave to remain in the UK on April 22 by using the UK super-priority visa service then in case of an affirmative decision may receive an email from Home Office the next day and accordingly may get the BRP by May 3!