This relates to Priority Visa UK Service in 2023 to expedite your visa or ILR application process. The UK priority and super-priority visa and ILR services can provide faster processing times for various visa categories, making your journey to the UK smoother. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the distinctions between priority and super-priority services, their advantages, fees, processing times, potential delays, and refund policies.
Table of Contents
1. Overview of Priority Visa UK
Introduction to UK Priority and Super-Priority Services
How Priority Service UK Visa Expedite the Process?
The UK Visa and ILR Priority and Super Priority Services are designed to expedite the processing time of visa applications after biometrics and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications by placing them at the front of the queue.
If the priority or super priority visa and settlement (ILR) application is not straightforward, it may take longer. However, UKVI (Home Office or UKVCAS) will still prioritize the application at every stage of the decision-making process.
Priority Service UK Visa Processing Time – UKVI Service Standards
- Non settlement priority visa UK processing time for visitor, work, and student applications from outside the UK: 5 working days after biometrics
- Settlement (spouse) applications from outside the UK: 30 working days (6 weeks)
- Extension or switching visa and ILR applications from inside the UK: 5 working days
- UK super-priority visa and settlement (ILR) fast track processing time: by the end of the next working day
Priority service UK visa may not be suitable for applicants with:
- Past visa refusals from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, or the Schengen countries
- Refusal of leave to enter at the UK border control
- Overstayed visas, deportations, or removals from the UK
- Refusal or curtailment of leave to remain in the UK by the Home Office
- Interviews, detentions, or prosecutions by the police for any offence in the UK or elsewhere
- Unspent criminal convictions in any country
- Criminal offences committed in any country
If a priority or super-priority (premium or express) application is assessed as complex (non-straightforward), the applicant may not receive a refund due to processing delays.
UKVI priority service is not available for all types of applications. Moreover, at times UKVI and UKCAS may limit the number of priority and super-priority visa applications, so not all applicants may be offered the option for faster decision-making. In such cases, applicants can still complete a standard application.
The priority and super-priority services were suspended for several months after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in March 2020 and gradually resumed from July 2020. In March 2022, UKVI suspended these services again for a few months due to the Ukraine Scheme.
In Jan 2023, UKVI suspended the priority and super-priority service for new family visa applications but has since restored the service. Currently, UKVI has limited the availability of priority service for visitor visa applications.
Key Takeaways from UK Priority Visa Processing Time Data
Before diving into further details, let’s look at some indicative UK priority visa processing time based on recent data:
|Visa Type||Typical Processing Time|
|Non-Settlement Priority Visa UK Processing Time||5-7 days|
|Settlement Spouse Visa Priority Service||20-25 days|
|Super Priority Visa UK and Indefinite Leave to Remain Premium Service||1-2 days|
Please note that these times are subject to change and may vary based on various factors, including application volume and location.
These statistics show that priority and super-priority services can significantly reduce visa processing times for applicants.
Get Expert Guidance for All Types of UK Visa and Immigration Applications, Reapplications, Refusals, and Appeals.
2. Priority Visa UK & ILR Service
Advantages and Fees for UK Visa and ILR Priority Service
The priority visa service aims to process applications faster than standard processing times. Here’s what you need to know about this service:
- Fees: The priority visa service costs an additional £250 for non-settlement applications and £573 for settlement applications.
- Processing Times: Non-settlement priority applications take 5-7 working days, while settlement priority applications take 30 working days (6 weeks).
- Visa Categories: Various visa categories, including visitor, tourist, student, work, family, and spouse settlement visas, can use the priority service.
- Success Rate and Processing Times: In 2021Q3, 96.56% of non-settlement priority applications and 92.89% of settlement priority applications were processed within their respective service standards.
UKVI Priority Service (Non Settlement) – £250
The £250 UKVI priority service from outside the UK is designed to expedite the processing of visitor, student, and work visa applications within 5 working days.
Availability of the Non Settlement Priority Visa UK service depends on whether an applicant proves their identity at a TLS Contact or VFS Global visa application center or uses the UK Immigration: ID Check app. Applicants can check availability during the visa application process.
- For applications from Europe, Africa, Jordan, and Israel, check TLS Contact’s website
- For applications from other locations, check VFS Global’s website
The processing time for priority visit, work, and student visa applications from outside the UK is within 5 working days. The processing time starts from the appointment day at the TLS or VFS Global application center, or from the working day after uploading documents using the UK Immigration: ID Check app. The processing time ends when applicants receive an email from UKVI containing their visa application decision.
UKVCAS Priority Service from Inside the UK
The UKVCAS priority service for inside the UK aims to process applications faster than standard processing times. Here’s what you need to know about this service:
- Fees: The priority service for inside the UK costs an additional £500.
- Processing Times: Priority applications for ILR, switching, and extension made from within the UK are usually processed within 5 working days.
- Success Rate and Processing Times: In 2021Q3, 79.38% of ILR priority straightforward applications and 87.54% of straightforward priority extension or switching applications were processed within their respective service standards.
Applicants who have proven their identity at a UKVCAS appointment center or using the UK Immigration: ID Check app can use the 5 working day priority visa service for various extension or switching applications, including Child Student visa, Skilled Worker visa, and Student visa, among others.
Applicants who have proven their identity at a UKVCAS appointment center or through the UK Immigration: ID Check app can use the priority visa service for specific ILR applications, such as SET(O) and Innovator.
3. Super Priority Visa & ILR Service
Advantages and Fees for Super Priority Visa UK and Indefinite Leave to Remain Premium Service
The super priority visa service offers even faster processing times than the priority service. Here’s what you need to know about this service:
- Fees: The super priority visa service costs an additional £956 for non-settlement applications.
- Processing Times: Non-settlement super priority applications are processed within the next working day.
- Visa Categories: Only certain visa categories, such as visitor, tourist, student, work, and family visas, can use the super-priority service. Settlement applications are usually not eligible.
- Success Rate and Processing Times: In 2021Q3, 97.22% of super-priority non-settlement applications were processed within the service standard of the next working day.
Please note the super priority service is available at select TLS Contact and VFS Global application centers, only in a few countries. If using the UK Immigration: ID Check app, the service is limited to student, skilled worker, and health and care worker visa applications.
UKVCAS Super Priority Service (Inside the UK)
The super priority service for inside the UK offers even faster processing times than the priority service. Here’s what you need to know about this service:
- Fees: The super priority service for inside the UK costs an additional £800.
- Processing Times: Super priority applications for ILR, switching, and extension made from within the UK are usually processed within the next working day.
- Success Rate and Processing Times: In 2021Q3, 97.38% and 98.50% of super-priority ILR and extension applications, respectively, were processed within the service standard of the next working day.
Please note processing times depend on the appointment day. If the appointment is on a weekday, the processing time is by the end of the next working day. If it falls on a weekend or bank holiday, the processing time is within two working days.
The Super Priority Visa UK Service is not available for applications with identity proven using the UK Immigration: ID Check App.
For those who have verified their identity at a UKVCAS appointment center, the service can be used for various types of ILR applications, including UK Ancestry, former HM Forces members, children under 18, long residence, and innovators.
The super priority service can be used for various types of extension or switching applications, including child student visas, skilled worker visas, global talent visas, start-up visas, and dependent visas.
4. BRP Fast Track Collection
What is the Fast Track BRP Service, and How Does it Expedite the Collection of a Biometric Residence Permit?
After a successful priority or super-priority visa UK application, individuals coming to the UK for more than 6 months need to collect their BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK or before the vignette sticker in their passport expires, whichever is later. For extension, switching, or ILR fast track applications made within the UK, the Home Office typically sends the BRP to the applicant’s address within 2-3 working days of the decision. The overall processing time for a fast track BRP is usually 7-10 days.
If an applicant has verified their identity through the UK Immigration: ID Check app and their visa or settlement application is successful, they do not need a BRP as their immigration status is entirely online.
5. Potential Delays in Priority Services
Causes and Solutions for Delays in Priority & Super Priority Visa UK and ILR Priority Service Delays
Applicants may experience delays in priority or super-priority visa UK processing if their application is not straightforward. Reasons for delays can include verification of supporting documents, interviews, and personal circumstances such as criminal convictions or past immigration history. If an application takes longer than expected, the UKVI or Home Office will inform the applicant. It is advisable to keep correspondence to a minimum during the consideration process.
UKVI Email for Delays in Priority Visa UK Service Processing Time
If there are delays in priority or super priority visa processing time from outside the UK, UKVI usually sends an email to the applicant explaining the situation. The non-straightforward email typically arrives within the following time frames:
- Standard non-settlement applications from outside the UK: 2-3 weeks.
- Priority non-settlement applications from outside the UK: 3-5 working days.
After receiving the non-straightforward email, the processing time becomes unpredictable, potentially taking anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
UK Visa or ILR Decision Email from the Home Office
After a migrant has applied for an ILR fast track application, they will receive an email and a decision letter, either by post or email, from the Home Office. If the Home Office approves the application, the email will mention the outcome. If the Home Office rejects the application, the email will not mention the outcome.
If there are delays in the fast track Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Premium Service, applicants may receive an email from the Home Office stating that they aim to complete all applications within the specified service standard. If the delay is due to UKVI, they will refund the super-priority service fee.
6. Refund for Priority Visa UK
Refund Policies for Priority Visa UK and Indefinite Leave to Remain Premium Service
Applicants may seek a refund of UK fast track priority or super priority visa UK application fees if the delay in making the decision is due to UKVI or Home Office. Here’s what you need to know about refunds:
Applicants may get a full refund of UK priority or super priority visa UK or ILR fees if the application is:
- Withdrawn and the applicant is entitled to a refund (e.g., before biometrics).
- Rejected as invalid.
- Non-complex, and not processed within the service standard due to an official error.
- Determined within the service standard, but not communicated to the customer that their decision is available for collection.
If a super priority non-settlement application is processed in 5 working days due to an official error, applicants may get a partial refund of £706, i.e., the difference between the priority non-settlement (£250) and super-priority (£956) visa fees.
If a super priority extension, switching visa, or ILR premium application is processed in 5 working days due to an official error, applicants may get a partial refund of £300, i.e., the difference between the priority (£500) and super-priority (£800) visa fees.
Applicants may get an Ex-Gratia payment instead of a refund if there is maladministration by UKVI or Home Office, or if UKVI or Home Office has incorrectly advised the applicant.
There is no refund if the priority or super priority visa UK or ILR application is:
- Withdrawn and the applicant is not entitled to a refund (e.g., after biometrics have been submitted).
- Refused (on eligibility or suitability grounds).
- Assessed as complex by UKVI or Home Office, and excluded from the service standard.
- Excluded from the service standard if the applicant has not supplied required information in time (this may not include invalid cases or submitting biometrics).
Making an Informed Decision on UK Priority Visa Service
In conclusion, the UK priority and super priority visa services offer vital avenues for faster processing times, enabling applicants to navigate their immigration journey more efficiently. By comprehending the associated benefits, fees, processing times, and potential delays, you can make an informed decision tailored to your unique circumstances. For further assistance or personalized guidance, consider consulting with an immigration expert or visiting the official UK government website.
8. Frequently Asked Questions
Common Questions about Priority Visa UK and ILR Priority Service
Below, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to provide quick answers for those seeking information about the UK priority and super-priority visa services.
1. Can I apply for a priority or super-priority visa UK service from any country?
Priority and super-priority visa UK services are available in several countries but not all. You should check the availability of these services at TLS Contact and VFS Global application centers in your country or region during the visa application process.
2. Are there any visa categories ineligible for priority or super-priority services?
Yes, not all visa categories are eligible for priority and super-priority services. Settlement applications, for example, are generally ineligible for super-priority service. Be sure to check eligibility for your specific visa category when applying for these services.
3. What happens if my priority or super-priority visa application is delayed due to issues with my supporting documents?
If there are delays in processing your priority or super-priority visa UK application due to issues with your supporting documents or other complexities, the UKVI or Home Office will inform you. In some cases, you might be eligible for a refund if the delay is due to their error.
4. How can I check the status of my priority or super-priority visa application?
Typically, applicants receive email updates from UKVI or the Home Office regarding the status of their visa applications. If you need additional assistance, you may contact UKVI or the Home Office directly, but it’s advisable to keep correspondence to a minimum during the consideration process.
5. Can I apply for a priority or super-priority service if I use the UK Immigration: ID Check app?
Yes, you can apply for a priority or super-priority service when using the UK Immigration: ID Check app. However, the availability of these services may be limited to specific visa categories or depend on whether you’ve proven your identity at a UKVCAS appointment center.
6. What are the main differences between priority and super-priority visa services?
The primary difference between priority and super-priority services is the processing time. Priority service aims to process non-settlement applications in 5-7 working days and settlement applications in 30 working days. Super-priority service aims to process non-settlement applications within the next working day and ILR, switching, and extension applications within the UK by the next working day. The fees for super-priority services are also higher than those for priority services.
7. What is the difference between UKVI and UKVCAS?
UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) and UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) are two separate entities within the UK’s immigration system, each serving a different role.
- UKVI: Part of the Home Office, UKVI is responsible for making decisions on who can visit, stay, or work in the UK. It handles applications, sets immigration policies, and enforces immigration laws.
- UKVCAS: Operated by a commercial partner, UKVCAS provides support services for those applying for a visa or settlement within the UK. It manages application centers where applicants can submit biometric information, provide supporting documents, and access additional services.
In essence, UKVI sets the rules and makes the decisions, while UKVCAS facilitates the application process for applicants in the UK.
Find comprehensive information on different visa categories, application processes, and immigration rules on the official UK government website.