Immigration Specialists London

The discussion on UK Visa Delay 2024 explores the reasons for delay in visa processing. While straightforward applications generally meet UKVI’s customer service targets UK visa, there are instances where delays occur, notably after the issuance of a not straightforward NSF mail from UKVI. Such emails typically indicate complexities in the application process, leading to an unpredictable delay in the UK visa waiting time. Applicants often receive this not straightforward email from UKVI within 15 to 30 days following their biometric submission, signaling a potential deviation from standard processing times and necessitating additional review.

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UK Visa Delay 2024 Reasons for Delays in UK Visa Processing Times

1. Why UK Visa Getting Delayed 2024


Applications that adhere fully to UKVI guidelines and include complete and accurate submissions are typically processed within the standard timeframe. However, various complexities can cause delays, especially for non-straightforward cases:

  • Standard Processing Times: UKVI Customer Service Targets UK Visa
    • Non-settlement Visa: Up to 3 weeks
    • Settlement Visa: Up to 12 weeks
  • UK Visa Not Straightforward Processing Times: No Service Targets
    • Non-settlement Visa: Can extend up to 12 weeks or more
    • Settlement Visa: May take up to 24 weeks or more

Non-straightforward applications often require extra scrutiny due to issues such as incomplete data, conflicting information, adverse immigration history, questionable intents, the need for document verification, interviews, high administrative workloads, or suspected fraudulent activities. The UKVI assesses each visa application individually, and these identified complexities necessitate a more in-depth review, leading to extended processing times.

The processing times for UK visas can vary significantly depending on the specifics of each case. Applicants should be prepared for potential delays, particularly after receiving not straightforward email UK visa from UKVI.

Why is My UK Student Visa Taking so Long?

There are several common reasons why your UK student visa may be taking longer than expected:

  1. High Volume of Applications:
    • Periods of high demand, especially before the start of new academic terms, can lead to longer processing times. Visa application centers may be handling a large number of applications, which can slow down the process.
  2. Incomplete Application or Documentation:
    • If your application or any required documentation is incomplete, the visa office might request additional information. This can significantly delay the processing time as the clock resets once new information is added to an application.
  3. Background Checks and Security Screening:
    • For some applicants, especially those from certain countries or with specific backgrounds, additional security checks may be required. These checks can take time and are not within the control of the applicant.
  4. Interview Requirement:
    • In some cases, applicants may be called for an interview to verify details of their application. Scheduling and conducting the interview can add to the processing time.
  5. Administrative Issues:
    • Sometimes delays can occur due to administrative issues within the visa processing offices, such as staffing shortages, technical problems, or other operational hurdles.
  6. Exogenous Factors:
    • External factors such as holidays, strikes, or political situations can also impact processing times.

2. Not Straightforward Email UK Visa from UKVI Explained


Is it automatic email received from UKVI your application is not straightforward?

When the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) determines that a visa application is not straightforward, they often send an automatic email notification to the applicant. This email generally informs the applicant that their case requires more time for a decision than the standard processing period due to its complex nature. It does not indicate a final decision; rather, it signifies that further review and possibly additional information or documents are required.

Receiving such an email does not necessarily reflect negatively on the outcome of the application. It merely indicates that the application has aspects that require more in-depth consideration by the immigration officers. It’s important for applicants to check their email regularly, including the spam folder, to ensure all communications from UKVI are received and responded to promptly if action is required.

Receiving Not Straightforward Email UK Visa: Typical Timelines

How many days after not straightforward email received from UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI)?

Typical timelines for when you might receive this notification, depending on the type of application:

  • Non-Settlement Visa Applications:
    • Typically, if there are complications or additional checks needed, a “not straightforward” notification might be sent after approximately 15 working days from the application submission.
  • Settlement Visa Applications:
    • For more complex cases involving settlement visas, this notification could be sent after about 30 working days.

These timelines are indicative and depend on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the need for additional documents, and the workload of the UKVI at the time of your application. If you receive such an email, it’s important to be patient and prepare for potential requests for further information or documentation to support your application. It does not necessarily imply a negative outcome; rather, it means the decision will take longer than usual.

Notification that Your Visa Application will not be Processed within Our Service Standards


Thank you for applying for a UK visa. Your visa application has been received and is under consideration. We aim to process non-settlement applications within 15 working days (unless you have opted for the priority visa service), and settlement applications within 120 working days. Unfortunately, the processing of your application has not been straightforward, and we will be unable to decide your application within our customer service targets.

We are continuing to work on your application and aim to make a decision as soon as possible. We will write to you again if there is any change to this. Please do not attend the visa application centre until you have been advised that your application has been decided and that your passport is ready for collection.


Post-NSF Mail from UKVI: What to Expect

When you receive a “not straightforward” (NSF) notification from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) regarding your visa application, here’s what you can typically expect:

  1. Extended Processing Time:
    • After receiving the NSF notification, the processing time for your application may be extended. For non-settlement visas, this could be beyond the typical 15 working days, and for settlement visas, it may extend up to 120 working days or more. This extended time allows UKVI to conduct thorough reviews or request additional checks that are necessary due to the complexities of your case.
  2. Requests for Additional Information:
    • Be prepared to respond to any requests from UKVI for further details or additional documents. These requests are common in cases deemed not straightforward, as they often require more evidence or clarification to support the decision-making process.
  3. Ongoing Communication:
    • It’s important to regularly check your email (including your spam/junk folder) for any communications from UKVI. Prompt responses to their inquiries are crucial to keep the process moving and to potentially expedite your application’s review.
  4. Consulting Immigration Experts:
    • For cases that are particularly complex or if there are significant delays, you might consider seeking advice from immigration experts. Immigration lawyers or advisors can provide guidance on how best to handle requests from UKVI or how to potentially expedite your application.
  5. Patience During the Waiting Period:
    • During this extended processing time, it’s advisable to refrain from visiting the visa application center unless specifically requested, or from making travel plans until your application has been conclusively decided. This patience is important as any plans made based on an assumed outcome could lead to further complications if the decision does not go as expected.

Receiving an NSF email means that your application will not adhere to the usual processing times, and while it may be frustrating, it’s crucial to be prepared for this process and respond appropriately to any requests from UKVI.

UK Visa Delay 2024
Uk Visa Delay In Processing 2024: Reasons And What To Do?

3. UKVI Processing Timelines and Customer Service Targets


UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has established specific customer service targets to help applicants gauge expected processing times for various visa categories.

UKVI Customer Service Targets UK Visa 2024

  1. Non-Settlement Applications:
    • Typically processed within 15 working days (approximately 3 weeks). About 20-30% of these applications might face delays.
  2. Settlement Applications:
    • The standard processing time is 12 weeks, with delays affecting 25-30% of applications.
  3. Switching/Extension Applications:
    • These are expected to be processed within 8 weeks, with 10-15% likely to experience delays.
  4. Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Applications:
    • Targeted for completion within 6 months, with a similar delay rate of 10-15%.

Key Takeaways: UK Visa Not Straightforward 2024

  • Processing Times:
    • UKVI’s targets are guidelines; actual processing times can vary due to several factors such as the complexity of cases and application volume.
  • Preparation for Delays:
    • Applicants should anticipate possible delays and plan accordingly, especially considering the impact on employment, travel, and other personal commitments.
  • Notification Timeline:
    • Notifications about complications in settlement applications, which may extend beyond the normal processing window, usually occur within 6-12 weeks.
  • Operational Restrictions:
    • Occasionally, UKVI may notify applicants that “we are unable to resolve your application within these customer service targets, due to operational restrictions.” This means there could be delays beyond the standard processing times due to unforeseen circumstances affecting their operations.
  • Managing Expectations:
    • Being aware of these details helps manage expectations and reduces uncertainty during the visa application process.

By understanding these timelines and potential delays, applicants can better navigate the complexities of the visa application process. It’s essential to remain informed and flexible, making adjustments to accommodate possible delays in your plans.

UKVI Decision Email

The decision is received from UKVI and we will notify you when the passport is ready to be collected?

When you receive communication from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) stating that a decision has been made on your visa application and you will be notified when your passport is ready for collection, it means:

  1. Decision Made:
    • The processing of your visa application has been completed, and a decision has been reached. However, the specific outcome (approved or denied) is not disclosed in this initial notification.
  2. Notification of Passport Collection:
    • You will receive a further notification informing you when and where you can collect your passport. This will typically be from the visa application center where you submitted your biometrics and documents, or it could be mailed to you if you opted for a courier service.
  3. Next Steps:
    • Prepare to visit the visa application center as instructed in the follow-up notification. Ensure you bring any required identification or receipt numbers provided during your application process. This is also when you will find out the result of your visa application when you receive your passport.

This notification is standard procedure, indicating that your application has moved out of the decision-making phase and into the final stages of processing. If you need more details or if the wait for your passport seems excessively long, consider reaching out to the visa application center for an update.

UKVI Email Update: Passport Ready for Collection Notifications

When applying for a UK visa, the return of your passport via mail marks a significant step in the application process, particularly if you choose not to pick it up in person from a visa application centre. Here’s an overview of what you can typically expect during this phase:

  • Notification of Passport Arrival:
    • After your UK visa application has been processed, the visa application center will alert you through email or SMS. This notification indicates whether your passport is ready to be picked up or if it has been dispatched for delivery. If sent by courier, the notification may include a tracking number.
  • Delivery Process:
    • If you’ve opted for courier delivery, your passport will be mailed to the address you provided in your application. It’s vital to ensure that this address is correct to prevent any delivery delays or complications.
  • Checking Status Online:
    • Many visa application services offer online tracking of your passport’s delivery status using the provided tracking number. This service helps you know the expected arrival date of your passport.
  • Collection from Visa Application Centre:
    • If you prefer to collect your passport in person, you’ll need to bring appropriate identification and any reference or receipt numbers you received during the application process.
  • Visa Outcome:
    • Upon receiving your passport, you can immediately find out the result of your visa application, as the visa, if granted, will be inside your passport.

It’s important to keep all notifications and reference numbers accessible and to regularly check your email—including your spam or junk folder—for any updates regarding your passport. If you encounter any issues or delays, contacting the visa application center or the courier service directly is advisable to address the situation promptly.

4. Reasons for Delay in Visa Processing


UK visa delay reasons can stem from a variety of factors, ranging from issues directly related to the applicant’s submission to broader administrative challenges faced by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Here’s an overview of the general and specific reasons that might explain delays in visa processing:

General Reasons for Delay in Visa Processing

  • Incomplete or Inaccurate Information:
  • Non-Straightforward Applications:
    • Some applications are more complex and need extra scrutiny or additional documentation.
  • Operational Constraints:
    • Internal challenges within UKVI, such as system outages or staffing issues, can affect processing efficiency.
  • Request for Additional Documentation:
    • UKVI may need more documents to support the application, extending the processing time.
  • Adverse History:
  • Criminal Convictions:
    • Background checks required for applicants with criminal records can delay the process.
  • Document Confirmation:
    • Time is needed to verify documents submitted with the application, such as educational certificates or financial statements.
  • Sponsor Verification:
  • Administrative Workload:
    • High volumes of applications or systemic issues can slow down processing speeds.

UK Spouse Visa Delay Reasons 2024

  • Relationship Verification:
  • Interview Assessments:
    • Interviews conducted by the Home Office to verify details of the relationship can lead to further delays if additional documentation is required.
  • Centralized Decision-Making:
    • Decisions on family and spouse visas are centralized, which can lead to administrative backlogs and subsequent delays.

Understanding these factors can help applicants set realistic expectations about the timing of their visa processing and prepare for potential delays. It’s always good practice to ensure that your application is as complete and accurate as possible and to respond promptly to any requests from UKVI for additional information.

5. Can Priority Visa Be Delayed 2024?


Why My Priority Visa is Getting Late?

Yes, even priority visas can be delayed, despite the expedited service they are supposed to provide. Here’s how these delays break down by visa type and the potential reasons behind them:

Priority Visa Processing Times and Potential Delays

  • Priority Visit, Work, Study Visas:
    • Typically processed within 5 working days, but approximately 7-10% of these applications can face delays.
  • Priority Settlement (Spouse) Visas:
    • Generally processed within 6 weeks, yet 15-20% of these cases may experience delays.
  • Super Priority Visas:
    • Aimed to be processed by the next working day, with about 8-12% of these applications encountering delays.

Factors Leading to Delays in Priority Visa Processing

  1. Incomplete Applications:
    • Missing or incomplete information can halt even expedited services until the necessary details are provided.
  2. Complex Cases:
    • Applications that require additional scrutiny or have complexities, such as documentation issues or the need for further background checks.
  3. High Application Volume:
    • Peak periods can strain even priority services, leading to longer processing times.
  4. Technical Issues:
    • System malfunctions can disrupt processing across all application types, including priority and super priority.
  5. External Factors:
    • Public holidays, strikes, or other disruptions can delay processing times at visa centers and consulates.

While UK visa priority services are designed to be faster, these factors can lead to unexpected delays. Applicants should consider these potential delays when planning their applications and should prepare accordingly, even if they have opted for faster processing options.

6. FAQs: UK Visa Delay 2024 and NSF Mail from UKVI


  1. What does the notification “your visa application will not be processed within our service standards” mean?

    This notification indicates that due to the complexity of your case or operational challenges, UKVI cannot process your visa within the usual timeframe. It’s a signal that your application may require additional review.

  2. What is NSF mail from UKVI?

    NSF (Not Straightforward) mail is a notification from UKVI stating that your application has complexities that prevent a quick decision. It means further investigation is necessary, which could extend the processing time.

  3. Why are there delays in UK visa processing?

    Delays can occur due to various reasons such as incomplete applications, the need for additional documentation, operational restrictions at UKVI, or high demand during peak periods.

  4. What should I do if my case is complex and cannot be concluded presently?

    If UKVI informs you that your case is complex and unresolved, continue to monitor your communication channels for any requests for additional information and remain patient as they work through the complexities.

  5. How do operational restrictions affect UK visa processing?

    Operational restrictions such as reduced staffing, system maintenance, or policy changes can slow down the processing times of UK visas by impacting UKVI’s ability to process applications swiftly.

  6. How long after receiving a ‘not straightforward’ email should I expect an update?

    The time to receive an update after a ‘not straightforward’ email can vary significantly depending on the specifics of your case. Typically, updates or decisions might take anywhere from a few days or weeks to several months.

  7. Why is my UK visa getting delayed in 2024?

    Visa delays in 2024 can be attributed to reasons like policy changes, high application volumes, or enhanced security measures that necessitate thorough checks.

  8. What are the customer service targets for UK visas?

    UKVI has set service targets to process non-settlement visas within 3 weeks and settlement visas within 12 weeks under normal circumstances.

  9. What happens when UKVI cannot resolve my application within the customer service targets?

    If UKVI cannot meet their service targets due to operational restrictions or complex issues in your application, they will notify you and continue to progress your case as quickly as possible, ensuring that all necessary checks and reviews are completed before making a decision.


This FAQ section is designed to address the primary concerns related to UK visa application processing delays, offering practical advice and solutions to applicants. For more information on delays in processing times, you can visit UK Government: Visa and Citizenship Application Processing Times.