How Long Does It Take for UK Spouse Visa to be Approved in 2021?

This guidance relates to the latest UK Spouse/Partner Visa Processing Time after Biometrics 2021 for Entry Clearance (aka Settlement), Leave to Remain (LTR) (aka Extension or Switching) and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) (aka Permanent Residence) Applications. Moreover, for reference and better understanding, also answers the FAQs relating to UK Spouse/Partner Visa Standard (Normal), Priority and Super-Priority (Premium) Service Processing Time, Fees, Email Notification etc.

1. Standard Applications 2. Priority Applications 3. Super-Priority Applications 4. FAQs

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1. Standard Applications

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time After Biometrics 2021

The service standards for UK spouse visa processing time after biometrics 2021 is to decide 98.5% of straightforward Settlement (Entry Clearance), Leave to Remain (LTR) (Extension and Switching), and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) (Permanent Residence) applications within 60-working days, 8-weeks, and 6-months, respectively.

Entry Clearance

From April 2019 to Dec 2020, UK spouse visa processing time after biometrics for 43,381 (94.89%) straightforward spouse (settlement) entry clearance visa applications was within sixty working days. Therefore, there are more than 90% chances that UKVI may decide a straightforward UK spouse or partner visa application after biometrics in 2021 within 60-working days (12-weeks). However, this does not mean that UKVI will process a non-straightforward application within 60-working days service standard. Please note, during the period, UKVI had received 9,157 non-straightforward (16.69% of the total 54,874 settlement entry clearance applications). The UKVI has no service standard for processing non-straightforward settlement applications. Therefore, if UKVI categories a spouse settlement entry clearance application as non-straightforward then it may experience delays in processing.

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time 2021

Details of Standard (Non-Priority) Straightforward (SF) and Non-SF UK Spouse Visa Applications Received and Processed by UKVI

Entry Clearance (EC)

Settlement Entry Clearance Visa Processing Time after Biometrics for Straightforward (SF) Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse, Partner, Dependent Child, Parents and Other Relatives from Outside the UK
QuarterTotalSFNon-SFSF Apls Processed within 60-Working DaysPercentage of SF Apls Processed within 60-Working Days
2019 Q29,0967,0442,0526,87497.60%
2019 Q38,6157,0361,5797,00499.50%
2019 Q48,1997,8773227,85699.70%
2020 Q17,9145,0962,8184,28584.10%
2020 Q28727858774194.40%
2020 Q39,1418,0701,0716,92085.70%
2020 Q411,0379,8091,2289,70198.90%
Total54,87445,7179,15743,38194.89%

Leave to Remain (LTR)

From April 2019 to Dec 2020, UK spouse visa processing time after biometrics for 24,414 (95.44%) straightforward spouse or partner visa extension or switching LTR applications was within 8-weeks. Therefore, there are more than 90% chances that UKVI may decide a straightforward Leave to Remain (LTR) application for UK spouse or partner visa extension or switching after biometrics in 2021 within 40-working days (8-weeks). However, this does not mean that UKVI will process a non-straightforward LTR application within 8-weeks service standard. Please note, during the period, UKVI had received 52,973 non-straightforward LTR applications (67.30% of the total 78,716 spouse visa extension and switching applications). The UKVI has no service standard for processing non-straightforward LTR applications. Therefore, if UKVI categories a spouse extension or switching application as non-straightforward then it may experience delays in processing.

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time 2021

Details of Standard (Non-Priority) Straightforward (SF) and Non-SF UK Spouse Visa Applications Received and Processed by UKVI

Leave to Remain (LTR)

Leave to Remain (LTR) Processing Time after Biometrics for Straightforward (SF) Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse or Partner Visa Extension and Switching from Inside the UK
QuarterTotalSFNon-SFSF Apls Processed within 8-WeeksPercentage of SF Apls Processed within 8-Weeks
2019 Q28,5626,9461,5806,80698.00%
2019 Q39,1866,9522,2046,78297.60%
2019 Q48,7536,2982,4556,20298.50%
2020 Q19,5993,7135,8863,61797.40%
2020 Q212,92528712,54117962.40%
2020 Q317,5361,07516,46162658.20%
2020 Q412,15530911,84620265.40%
Total78,71625,58052,97324,41495.44%

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

From April 2019 to Sept 2020, UK spouse visa processing time after biometrics for 21,508 (98.54%) straightforward spouse or partner ILR applications was within 6-months service standard. Therefore, there are more than 90% chances that UKVI may decide a straightforward UK spouse or partner Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application after biometrics in 2021 within 6-months. However, this does not mean that UKVI will process a non-straightforward ILR application within 6-months service standard. Please note, during the period, UKVI had received 4,414 non-straightforward LTR applications (16.79% of the total 26,285 spouse and partner ILR applications for permanent residence in the UK). The UKVI has no service standard for processing non-straightforward ILR applications. Therefore, if UKVI categories a spouse or partner ILR application as non-straightforward then it may experience delays in processing.

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time 2021

Details of Standard (Non-Priority) Straightforward (SF) and Non-SF UK Spouse Visa Applications Received and Processed by UKVI

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Processing Time after Biometrics for Straightforward (SF) Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner Permanent Residence in the UK
QuarterTotalSFNon-SFSF Apls Processed within 6-MonthsPercentage of SF Apls Processed within 6-Months
2019 Q23,1202,8642192,80197.80%
2019 Q33,0752,9091662,83597.50%
2019 Q43,0422,5494932,48597.50%
2020 Q136282,915713288699.00%
2020 Q25,7274,1421,5774,11999.40%
2020 Q37,6936,4471,2466,38299.00%
Total26,28521,8264,41421,50898.54%
UK Spouse Visa Processing Time After Biometrics 2021

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2. Priority Applications

UK Priority Spouse Visa Processing Time after Biometrics 2021

Please note, the 30-days priority service (£573) is available for spouse settlement entry clearance visa applications processing from outside the UK. However, the 5-day priority service (£500) is not available for spouse or partner extension and switching leave to remain (LTR) and indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications for permanent residence in the UK.

Entry Clearance

If an applicant pays an additional amount of £573 for the priority service, then the service standard for UK settlement (spouse) visa processing time after biometrics is within thirty working days.

From April 2019 to Dec 2020, UK visa processing time after biometrics for 16,339 (92.55%) straightforward priority spouse settlement visa applications was within thirty working days. Therefore, in 2021, the expected UK priority spouse or partner settlement visa processing time after biometrics is within 30-working days (6-weeks). However, this does not mean that UKVI will process a non-straightforward priority spouse or partner visa within 30-working days service standard. Please note, during the period, UKVI had received 2,227 non-straightforward (11.20% of the total 19,882 priority spouse or partner settlement entry clearance visa applications). The UKVI has no service standard for processing non-straightforward priority spouse or partner settlement visa applications. Therefore, if UKVI categories a priority spouse or partner settlement entry clearance visa application as non-straightforward then it may experience delays in processing.

Please note, for all priority visa applications where the customer has met all their obligations, the aim of UKVI is to complete all priority visa applications within 30 working days (excluding Bank Holidays and weekends), where the first day is the day of biometric enrolment. Moreover, immediately after the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, the provision of priority service for UK spouse visa application processing remained suspended for some time. However, from July 2020, the provision of priority service has gradually resumed for UK spouse visa application processing.

UK Priority Spouse Visa Processing Time 2021

Details of Priority 30-Working Days Straightforward (SF) and Non-SF (Complex) UK Settlement (Spouse) Entry Clearance Visa Applications received by UKVI

Entry Clearance (EC)

Priority Settlement Entry Clearance Straightforward (SF) and Non-Straightforward Visa Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner, Dependent Child, Parents and Other Relatives from Outside the UK
QuarterTotalNon-SFSFSF Apls Processed within 30-Working DaysPercentage of SF Apls Processed within 30-Working Days
2019 Q23,9482613,6873,20586.90%
2019 Q34,6003764,2243,81590.30%
2019 Q44,8004304,3704,33199.10%
2020 Q14,2459453,3003,10194.00%
2020 Q213310550.00%
2020 Q37374669152876.40%
2020 Q41,5391661,3731,35498.60%
Total19,882222717,65516,33992.55%

Leave to Remain (LTR)

As explained, the 5-day (£500) priority service is not available for leave to remain (LTR) applications for processing of spouse or partner visa extension or switching applications from inside the UK.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

As explained, the 5-day (£500) priority service is not available for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications for processing of spouse or partner permanent residence in the UK.

3. Super-Priority Applications

UK Super Priority Spouse Visa Processing Time after Biometrics 2021

Please note, the (£956) super-priority (premium) service is not available for processing of spouse or partner settlement entry clearance visa applications from outside the UK. However, the £800 super- priority (premium) service is available for processing of spouse or partner extension and switching leave to remain (LTR) and indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications for permanent residence in the UK by next working day (24-hours).

Entry Clearance

As explained, the £956 super-priority service is not available for processing of spouse or partner settlement visa application from outside the UK. Please note, during April 2019 to Dec 2020, UKVI had received twenty-two super-priority settlement visa applications from outside the UK. However, this does not mean that the super-priority service is available for processing of spouse or partner settlement visa applications from outside the UK.

UK Priority Spouse Visa Processing Time 2021

Details of Super Priority Next-Working Day (24-hours) Straightforward (SF) and Non-SF (Complex) UK Spouse Visa Applications received by UKVI

Entry Clearance (EC)

Super-Priority Settlement Entry Clearance Straightforward (SF) and Non-Straightforward Visa Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner, Dependent Child, Parents and Other Relatives from Outside the UK
QuarterTotalNon-SFSFSF Apls Processed by Next Working DayPercentage of SF Apls Processed by Next Working Day
2019 Q4505480.00%
2020 Q14311100.00%
2020 Q20000-
2020 Q380800.00%
2020 Q4505240.00%
Total22319736.84%

Leave to Remain (LTR)

If an applicant pays an additional amount of £800 for the super-priority (aka premium) service, then the UK visa processing time after biometrics 2021 service standard is to decide a spouse or partner extension or switching leave to remain (LTR) application by next working day (or 24-hours).

From April 2019 to Dec 2020, UK visa processing time after biometrics for 12,453 (99.20%) straightforward super-priority spouse visa extension or switching LTR applications was by next working day. Therefore, in 2021, the expected UK super-priority visa processing time after biometrics in 2021 for spouse visa extension or switching LTR applications is by next working. However, this does not mean that UKVI will process a non-straightforward super-priority spouse visa extension or switching LTR application by next working day service standard. Please note, during the period, UKVI had received 1,499 non-straightforward applications (10.60% of the total 14,148 super-priority spouse visa extension or switching LTR applications). The UKVI has no service standard for processing non-straightforward super-priority spouse visa extension or switching LTR applications. Therefore, if UKVI categories a super-priority spouse visa extension or switching LTR application as non-straightforward then it may experience delays in processing.

Please note, for all Super Priority visa applications where the customer has met all their obligations, the aim of UKVI is to complete all super priority visa applications by the end of next working day (excluding Bank Holidays and weekends), where the first day is the day of biometric enrolment. Moreover, immediately after the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, the provision of super priority (premium) service for spouse visa extension or switching LTR application processing have remained suspended.

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time 2021

Details of Super Priority Next-Working Day (24-hours) Straightforward (SF) and Non-SF (Complex) UK Spouse Visa Applications received by UKVI

Leave to Remain (LTR)

Super-Priority Leave to Remain (LTR) Straightforward (SF) and Non-Straightforward Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner Visa Extension and Switching from Inside the UK
QuarterTotalNon-SFSFSF Apls Processed by Next Working DayPercentage of SF Apls Processed by Next Working Day
2019 Q23,4013423,0593,03899.30%
2019 Q33,8713853,4863,47999.80%
2019 Q43,5793253,2313,18598.60%
2020 Q13,2974472,7772,75199.10%
2020 Q20000:
2020 Q30000:
2020 Q40000:
Total14,148149912,55312,45399.20%

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

If an applicant pays an additional amount of £800 for the super-priority (aka premium) service, then the UK visa processing time after biometrics 2021 service standard is to decide a spouse or partner ILR application by next working day (or 24-hours).

From April 2019 to Dec 2020, UK visa processing time after biometrics for 9,112 (95.76%) straightforward super-priority spouse or partner ILR applications was by next working day. Therefore, in 2021, the expected UK super-priority visa processing time after biometrics in 2021 for spouse or partner ILR applications is by next working. However, this does not mean that UKVI will process a non-straightforward super-priority spouse or partner ILR application by next working day service standard. Please note, during the period, UKVI had received 2,831 non-straightforward applications (22.83% of the total 12,400 super-priority spouse or partner ILR applications). The UKVI has no service standard for processing non-straightforward super-priority spouse or partner ILR applications. Therefore, if UKVI categories a super-priority spouse or partner ILR application as non-straightforward then it may experience delays in processing.

Please note, for all Super Priority visa applications where the customer has met all their obligations, the aim of UKVI is to complete all super priority visa applications by the end of next working day (excluding Bank Holidays and weekends), where the first day is the day of biometric enrolment. Moreover, immediately after the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, the provision of super priority (premium) service for spouse or partner ILR application processing have remained suspended.

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time 2021

Details of Super Priority Next-Working Day (24-hours) Straightforward (SF) and Non-SF (Complex) UK Spouse Visa Applications received by UKVI

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Super-Priority Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Straightforward (SF) and Non-Straightforward Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner Permanent Residence in the UK
QuarterTotalNon-SFSFSF Apls Processed by Next Working DayPercentage of SF Apls Processed by Next Working Day
2019 Q23,0646002,4612,41097.90%
2019 Q33,2077662,4392,43299.70%
2019 Q43,0307912,2222,05892.60%
2020 Q13,0996742,3932,21292.40%
2020 Q20000:
2020 Q30000:
2020 Q40000:
Total12,40028319,5159,11295.76%

4. FAQs

UK Visa Processing Time After Biometrics 2021

How popular is the UK spouse visa priority service?

Please note, before the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak in March 2020, the priority service was available at most of the UK visa application centres. However, after the suspension in March-June 2020, the spouse settlement priority service is yet to be resumed at several visa application centres from outside the UK.

From April 2019 to March 2021, 21,166 applicants (24.29% of the total 87,129) used the spouse or partner settlement visa priority service to expedite the processing within 30-working days instead of the standard (normal) 60-working days. Therefore, the priority service has been quite popular, especially before the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak as 30-35% of the spouse or partner settlement visa applicants were using it. After the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak in March 2020, the spouse settlement priority service remained suspended for few months. Since July 2020, the UKVI has been making the requisite arrangements for the provision of priority service for UK spouse or partner visa applications. During Jan-Mar 2021Q1, 1,284 spouse or partner settlement visa applicants (10.41% of the total 12,338) used the priority service.

How popular is the UK super-priority spouse visa service?

Before the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak in March 2020, the super-priority (premium) service was popular spouse visa extension and ILR applications from inside the UK. However, after the suspension in March-June 2020, the spouse extension and ILR premium service has not reopened as on March 31, 2021. If you are intending to use the premium super-priority service after April 1, 2021, then may check with UKVI for resumption and better guidance.

From April 2019 to March 2020, 14,147 applicants (13.44% of the total 105,293) used the 24-hours super-priority service to expedite the processing of UK spouse or partner extension or switching LTR applications from inside the UK.

From April 2019 to March 2021, 12,415 applicants (23.18% of the total 53,558) used the 24-hours spouse or partner ILR premium super-priority visa service from inside the UK.

UK Spouse Visa Applications by Service Type

Source: Migration Transparency Data

Entry Clearance (EC)

Total Settlement Visa Entry Clearance Standard, Priority, and Super-Priority Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner, Dependent Child, Parents, and Other Relatives from outside the UK
QuarterT Apls.StandardPriorityPriority Visa ShareSuper PrioritySuper Priority Share
2019 Q213,0499,0963,94830.26%50.04%
2019 Q313,2238,6154,60034.79%80.06%
2019 Q413,0048,1994,80036.91%50.04%
2020 Q112,1637,9144,24534.90%40.03%
2020 Q2885872131.47%00.00%
2020 Q39,8869,1417377.45%80.08%
2020 Q412,58111,0371,53912.23%50.04%
2021 Q112,33811,0471,28410.41%70.06%
Total87,12965,92121,16624.29%420.05%

UK Spouse Visa Applications by Service Type

Leave to Remain (LTR)

Total Leave to Remain (LTR) ​Standard, Priority and Super-Priority Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner Visa Extension and Switching from Inside the UK
QuarterT Apls.StandardPriorityPriority Visa ShareSuper PrioritySuper Priority Share
2019 Q211,9638,56210.01%3,40028.42%
2019 Q313,0599,18620.02%3,87129.64%
2019 Q412,2758,70110.01%3,57329.11%
2020 Q112,9719,66620.02%3,30325.46%
2020 Q2129251292500.00%00.00%
2020 Q317,53617,53600.00%00.00%
2020 Q412,15512,15500.00%00.00%
2021 Q112,40912,40900.00%00.00%
Total105,29391,14060.01%14,14713.44%

UK Spouse Visa Applications by Service Type

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Total Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Standard (Normal), Priority and Super-Priority Applications Received by UKVI for Spouse/Partner Permanent Residence in the UK
QuarterT Apls.StandardPriorityPriority Visa ShareSuper PrioritySuper Priority Share
2019 Q26,1853,12010.02%3,06449.54%
2019 Q36,2873,08000.00%3,20751.01%
2019 Q46,1563,11100.00%3,04549.46%
2020 Q16,7273,62800.00%3,09946.07%
2020 Q25727572700.00%00.00%
2020 Q37,6937,69300.00%00.00%
2020 Q47,5017,50100.00%00.00%
2021 Q17,2827,28200.00%00.00%
Total53,55841,14210.00%12,41523.18%

Has the priority service resumed after Coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Indeed, immediately after the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19), the UKVI suspended the priority and super-priority visa services for spouse settlement visa, extension, switching and ILR. Since July-Sept 2020 Q3, the 30-day priority service for spouse or partner settlement visa has been reopened gradually for entry clearance applications from outside the UK. However, the super-priority service remained suspended, as on March 31, 2021.

In fact, due to the ongoing global impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19), disruptions to local travel and courier routes have increased visa processing time UK in some regions and countries. These delays mean that it may take longer than usual for UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to assess entry clearance, LTR ad ILR applications. Accordingly, the UK spouse or partner visa processing time after biometrics during coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic may take more than the stated service standards. Moreover, at a few application centres, priority and super-priority service may not be available due to coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.

What is the processing time for a complex visa application?

In fact, there are no time limits for deciding a non-straightforward (complex) UK spouse or partner visa application. If the immigration office has doubts, then may institute verification checks. The ECO will only decide after the completion of the verification process. Therefore, a decision on a non-straightforward spouse visa application may delay beyond the service standard due to administrative checks and verifications. However, even in case of a delay, there is still no correlation between the processing time and the outcome.

You might wait longer for a decision if your application is not straightforward, and more information is required before a decision is made. If your application is delayed, you will be informed within the standard timescales for your visa.

UKVI

What to do if UK spouse visa is refused?

After a UK spouse or partner settlement, extension, switching or ILR application refusal, it is better to file an appeal against the rejection decision within respective 10 or 28 day time limit. Please note, the UK Spouse Visa Appeal Processing Time is usually within 6-9 months. And the UK spouse visa success rate is around 50%.

How much does the UK spouse visa cost in 2021?

The UK spouse visa fee 2021 is £1,523 for entry clearance application. However, to fast-track processing time within 6 weeks (instead of 12-24 weeks) the UK spouse visa fees with priority service (£573) is £2,096. The Home Office fees for spouse visa extension or leave to remain applications from inside the UK are £1,033, and £1,833 for standard (normal 8 weeks), and 24-hours super-priority service, respectively. Spouse visa ILR application charges are £2,389 and £3,189 for normal (6 months) and ILR same day premium service, respectively.

UK Spouse Visa Fees 2021

Application TypeCharges

Entry Clearance (EC)

30-Days Priority Settlement (Additional Cost)£573
Super Priority - Not Available for Spouse Settlement Entry Clearance (Additional Cost) £956
UK Spouse or Partner Visa Fees£1,523
UK Priority Spouse Visa Fees£2,096
Route to Settlement£1,523
Route to Settlement - other dependant relative£3,250
Route to Settlement - refugee dependant relative£388
Indefinite leave to enter the UK as the dependant of a member of the armed forces under Appendix Armed Forces to the Immigration Rules.£2,389

Leave to Remain (LTR)

UK Spouse Visa Extension and Switching Fees 2021£1,033
Super Priority (aka Premium) Service Fees for 24-Hours Next Day Processing of Leave to Remain Applications£800
Spouse Extension Premium Visa Fees £1,833
Expedited Processing - Priority Service (Not Available for UK Spouse/Partner Visa Extension and Switching) £500

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

UK Spouse/Partner ILR Fees 2021£2,389
Super Priority (aka Premium) Service Fees 2021 for 24-Hours Next Day Processing of Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Applications£800
Spouse/Partner ILR Same-Day Super Priority (Premium) Visa Fees£3,189
Expedited Processing - Priority Service (Not Available for UK Spouse/Partner ILR Applications) £500

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time after Biometrics 2021 – Service Standards

UK Spouse Visa Processing Time after Biometrics 2021 Service Standards for Settlement (Entry Clearance), Leave to Remain - LTR (aka Extension or Switching) and Indefinite Leave to Remain - ILR (Permanent Settlement)
*Super Priority Service is not normally available for UK Spouse (Settlement) Entry Clearance Visa Applications. However, there are 42 Reported Super Priority Cases during April 2019 to March 2021.
Service TypeService Standard
Non-Straightforward (Complex) Settlement (EC), LTR and ILR ApplicationsNo Service Standard
Settlement (Entry Clearance)
Standard (Normal)To process 98.5% of straightforward applications within 60 Working Days (12-Weeks)
Priority (Additional Cost of £573)30 Working Days (6-Weeks)
Super Priority* (Additional Cost of £956)Next Working Day (24-Hours)
Leave to Remain - LTR (aka Extension or Switching)
Standard (Normal)To process 98.5% of straightforward applications within 8 weeks (40-Working Days)
Priority (Additional Cost of £500)**5 Working Days
Super Priority (Additional Cost of £800)Next Working Day (24-Hours)
Indefinite Leave to Remain - ILR (aka Permanent Residence/Settlement in the UK)
Standard (Normal)To process 98.5% of straightforward applications within 6 months
Priority (Additional Cost of £500)**5 Working Days
Super Priority (Additional Cost of £800)Next Working Day (24-Hours
UK Spouse Visa Processing Time After Biometrics 2021