If you have submitted a UK visa application, you may wonder how it is progressing. Due to the standard visa processing times, it can be quite a while before you receive any feedback on your application. For many people, this is rather disconcerting. Many applicants would like the ability to check on the process of their application as it goes through the system. Fortunately, there are some options for those who wish to check on the progress of their visa application. In this article, we will take a look at these options and also look at alternative options if you are looking to receive a quick answer on your visa application.
How Can I Track my UK Visa Application?
When you put in your application for a UK visa, you will receive a case reference. This reference, which is likely to be a number, allows you to access information on your application. To get this information, you have two options, to Call or use the online tool. If you have applied from abroad, the online tool allows you to check up to the minute information on your case, but this is chargeable. The online system, which allows you to connect to the team looking after your case uses email as the contact medium, and you may need to wait a few days for a reply. The system is effective for those who are looking to travel to the UK as soon as possible. It can also help to speed up the process if there are issues with your application.
While the online system is good, there is also the option of calling one of the various UKVI departments that may handle your case. This system is a blunt instrument and can cause no end of problems. The teams are usually busy handling an enormous volume of cases and the information provided can be less than helpful. As well as a lack of useful information, you may find it difficult to get the right department, so the online system is better. For those outside the UK, we would urge you to use the online system if you need information on your case.
Can I Speed Up the UK Visa Application Process?
Yes absolutely! It always best to use one of UKVI’s enhanced services if you need a quick decision on your visa application. These services allow you to have your visa processed swiftly by a member of the UKVI staff. There is a different charge for each service, and your ability to use it will depend on which visa you are applying for and where you are based. If you are based in the UK, you may be able to speed up the process by visiting one of the UK’s 57 UKVI contact points. Six of these points (known as the core points) are based in the UK’s biggest cities - Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, and Croydon.
The UKVI’s contact points are ideal for those based in the UK. The six core sites offer free appointments (there is a charge for using the others) and provide a variety of enhanced services to speed up your application. As well as being able to speed up your application, the centres offer services such as biometric information collection and document processing. You will need to find out about the specific enhanced service options applicable to your intended visa route. For more information, get in touch with our immigration solicitors so we can help.
If you are located outside of the UK, then your local British embassy or UKVI point will help with the processing of your visa. Many countries offer enhanced services, though these are likely to take longer than those available inside the UK.
Often, the time taken to process a visa will depend upon a few factors. Issues such as UKVI’s current workload and the complexities of your application both have a significant bearing on the time it will take. Maintain regular contact with UKVI to ensure that issues are dealt with quickly to ensure a swift and smooth application.
How Will I Know My Visa Has Been Processed?
Whether your visa is approved or denied, you will receive feedback from UKVI. Depending on the visa route, this will more than likely come as a letter (though you may receive a text message or email). If you are outside of the UK, you will receive a vignette that allows you to travel to the UK. In a case where you submitted your passport during your application process, you will receive it back with the vignette inside or If you kept your passport after application, you will need to return to your local immigration centre to receive your vignette. The vignette needs to go into your passport and you will need to present it on your arrival into the UK. For those planning to stay in the UK for longer than six months, you will have 10 days to collect your Biometric Residence Permit. Where you collect your Biometric Residence Permit from will depend on where you specified in your application.
If you are applying from the UK, then you should receive a letter or email that confirms that your application is approved. Once approved, your Biometric Residence Permit should arrive with you by courier within 7 - 10 days of receiving your decision letter. If your Biometric Residence Permit does not arrive, you must report it lost to UKVI, so they may issue another permit.
In a situation where your application is denied or rejected unfairly, you may appeal the decision depending on the specific route. If you are unsure what to do next, please get in touch, and speak to our team.
Read more on ‘Most common reasons for visa application refusals and how to appeal’.
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