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What is the UK Spouse Visa processing time?

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    Overview of the UK Spouse Visa processing time

    The average UK Spouse Visa processing time can vary depending on several factors. For example, your waiting time may vary according to where you make an application from. This is because different countries have different embassy guidelines and can take more time to process.

    Usually, the average processing time for the partner visa is around three months. However, your application could take as little as two weeks, depending on where you are applying from and how clearly you can satisfy the requirements. This type of entry route is complex as it requires UKVI to assess whether you meet the ‘genuine relationship’ requirements. This can be particularly time-consuming. An immigration officer will want to see evidence that your relationship is ‘genuine and subsisting’. This means that they will scrutinise proofs of your relationship with your partner over the complete span of your relationship or marriage.

    What are the Standard UK Spouse Visa Processing Times

    The Spouse visa UK processing times differ if you are within the UK and outside the UK. In general, here’s what to expect for this UK visa processing times.

    Standard applications made from outside the UK6 months
    Priority applications from outside the UK6 weeks or 30 working days where available
    Standard applications from within the UK6-8 weeks
    Super-priority applications from within the UK1 working day

    Before May 2022, applications for Spouse visas made from outside the UK were processed within three months or 12 weeks on average. However, the Home Office announced in May 2022 that applications for spouse and partner visas made outside the country might take up to 24 weeks to be processed due to a higher priority placed on visas for Ukraine nationals for the time being.

    Can I fast-track UK Spouse Visa processing time?

    Yes. The Home Office offers two options to speed up visa processing. One is the Priority visa service, and the other is the Super priority visa service.

    When you apply for Priority visa service, you pay an additional £573 to get your UK Spouse visa processed within five working days. With Super priority visa services, you pay an additional £956 to get your UK Partner visa processed within a day.

    The above prices are for applications made from outside the UK. If you are switching to the Spouse visa from within the UK, the Super Priority processing costs £800.

    The availability of either service depends on where you apply from. Super priority visa service and priority service are usually available if you are applying from within the UK. The availability of the Priority visa service outside the UK depends on your visa application centre.

    You can find out if you are eligible for this when you pay the regular visa fee (the application form may provide an option for paying for priority/super priority processing) or by checking with VFS Global when you pay for biometrics.

    However, note that the Home Office has temporarily suspended super priority and priority services for all family visa applications, including the Spouse or Partner visa. It is currently only available for visitor visa applications

    If you are unable to pay the fee for faster visa processing for your UK Marriage vis, you may be able to speed up the processing time for your visa without paying the fee if you have a compelling or compassionate reason for wanting quicker visa processing.

    What does the UK Spouse Visa processing time involve?

    There are several different factors involved when UKVI reviews your UK Spouse Visa application.

    When you submit your application, it will be passed on to an assigned immigration officer. This can take a chunk off the Spouse Visa processing time.

    Once an immigration officer has received your application, your application will be reviewed and processed.

    During the Spouse Visa processing time, the officer will check:

    • Your application details
    • Supporting documents
    • Evidence of your relationship
    • Financial details
    • Details of your accommodation arrangements

    They will be very thorough with this, particularly when it comes to checking whether your relationship is genuine.

    The application may then be passed onto a second party to be reviewed.

    After this, a decision will be reached on your application, and you will receive a letter of acceptance or rejection from UKVI via post.

    How is the UK Partner visa processing time calculated?

    Usually, your Spouse visa application processing time starts from when you give your biometrics at a UK visa application centre.

    However, there are exceptions. A few visa processing centres start calculating that processing time from when your passport is received. The New York hub for UK visas in the United States (US) is one of the centres that use this method.

    Your processing time ends whenever a decision is reached by the Home Office concerning your visa. At this point, you will get an email from the Home Office. The email may not contain details of the decision but will be to inform you they have reached a decision. If the email you receive doesn’t detail if your visa application was approved or rejected, you are to wait to get your passport back to find out.

    Can my processing time exceed the average time?

    Yes. Note that the processing times for the UK partner visa as listed on this page are an average based on the promise of the Home Office. However, many factors may affect how long it takes to reach a decision based on your application. So, your processing time may exceed the average by days, weeks, or even months.

    If you haven’t received an update from the Home Office, that doesn’t mean you have a higher chance of refusal. A delay in processing can be a result of the bulk load of applications the Home Office has, an error in your application/documents, a need for additional evidence, and other factors.

    If the Home Office contacts you to submit additional supporting documents, your processing time inevitably lengthens.

    Eligibility for Priority Processing

    Although everyone applying is eligible for UK spouse visa processing time priority service (as long as it’s available at the visa application centre), priority processing is not recommended for every applicant.

    If you have had one of the following happen to you, it may be in your best interest not to explore the priority or super priority service:

    • Refused a UK visa
    • Overstayed a UK visa
    • Was deported/removed/required to leave the UK
    • Was refused leave to remain/enter the UK
    • Had leave to remain curtailed by the Home Office
    • Has a criminal record
    • Detained/interviewed/prosecuted for an offence by the police
    • Has criminal conviction that wasn’t spent.
    • Has a visa refusal for Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, or a Schengen country

    For most of the above, the Home Office will need time to verify information more than the regular UK visa applications, so it’s best you don’t pay for priority service as your processing time may already take longer due to these additional factors.

    If you are concerned about your processing time or chances of success, reach out to us to discuss your particular circumstances so we can advise you and/or create a high-quality application that boosts your chances of success. Call us on 0333 242 9057 today.

    Travelling while awaiting a UK Spouse visa decision

    If you apply from outside the UK, you can travel while waiting for a decision from the Home Office, but you will need to return to the country from where you applied to receive your visa if your application is approved. Note that you shouldn’t attempt travelling to the UK if you do not have a visa.

    If you applied from within the UK, it is advised that you do not travel out of the UK while your UK Spouse visa application is processing. If you leave, the Home Office may consider your application withdrawn. If you have plans to travel shortly after submitting your application, it’s best you pay for priority or super priority service, so you get your visa decision long before your intended travel date.

    How can IAS help?

    Our lawyers can help you if you are making an application and you want to avoid delays in the UK Spouse Visa processing. Your assigned lawyer will gather and collate all your supporting evidence, helping you bridge any gaps or shortcomings. They will then file them in a comprehensive evidence portfolio, which can be navigated easily by the Home Office. This means that they will be able to move through it smoothly and efficiently, getting all the information they need to process it properly. The help of an immigration lawyer could greatly increase the UK Spouse Visa processing time.

    Our expert immigration lawyers are located across the UK, including in LondonManchester, or Birmingham. You can also use the office finder to find your closest branch.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    According to UKVI, the breakdown of how Spouse visa applications made from outside the UK are as follows:

    • 90% are processed within 3 weeks
    • 98% are processed within 6 weeks
    • 100% are processed within 12 weeks

    If there is an issue with your application, or it is particularly complex, your application may take longer. If this is the case, the Home Office will let you know in writing. This can mean that the Spouse Visa processing duration can be extended up to 24 weeks.

    If you are worried about the status of your application, you can contact the Home Office directly and ask for a status update.

    If you wish to speed up the processing of your application, you can submit further evidence of your eligibility to the Home Office. For example, if your partner holds Indefinite Leave to Remain status or is a British Citizen, this may be one of the merits of your case.

    However, there is nothing you can do to speed up the UK Spouse Visa processing time, apart from ensuring that your application is submitted properly. When making an application, you must make sure everything is filled out properly and that your documents are extensive.

    To be eligible for a UK Spouse Visa you must meet the follow requirements:

    • You are your partner are 18 or over
    • You are legally married (you can apply for an Unmarried Partner visa if you are long-term partners)
    • You plan to live together in the UK and have accommodation set up
    • You have enough money to support yourselves and any children you have
    • The UK sponsor must earn a minimum of £18,600 per year, or have this amount in savings
    • You must meet the English language requirements

    For more information on the Spouse visa requirements

    Although the application process for a Spouse Visa can be time-consuming, it is important to remember that the processing times vary depending on your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a Spouse Visa from outside of the UK, your application may take longer to process than if you are applying from within the UK.

    To reduce delays in your processing, it’s important you understand the application process and do well to do the right thing at each step.

    First, ensure you meet the requirements, then gather all your documents before completing the online application form.

    After submitting your complete application form, you may need to visit a visa application centre to provide your biometrics. For more details on the application process, visit this page.

    At IAS, we have a team of expert lawyers who are dedicated to making to making the UK Spouse Visa processing time as short as possible. Our lawyers will organise and compile your application in a way which makes it highly comprehensive. This will improve the Spouse Visa processing time for your visa application.

    Our services include:

    • checking to ensure that your documents are sufficient;
    • compiling your documents into an evidence portfolio- this will make your application easy to move through for an immigration officer;
    • preparing a Letter of Representation to support your application;
    • liaising with the Home Office during your application process until a decision is reached;
    • completing each part of your application form to the highest standard.

    Get in touch on 0333 363 8577 or use our online contact form to speak to an immigration lawyer about Spouse Visa application and ensure your entire application is completed to the highest possible standard.

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