UK visa delay: British High Commission apologises, gives options to travellers
- In normal circumstances for non-settlement visa applications submitted outside the UK 90% are decided within 3 weeks; 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks of the application date. But this year the wait time has extended.
Frustration, Anger and Anxiety. These three words describe the state of mind of every person waiting for their UK visa to arrive. Thousands across the world are facing the same dilemma after the embassies and outsourced visa agency, VFS Global centres are scrambling with a high number of applications after a two-year halt in international travel.
Bhawan Singh had applied for her UK visa in April end and was supposed to travel on June 5, with no visa stamped she lost all the money spent on flight tickets and hotel accommodation. Sangeetha Iyer is eagerly awaiting her graduation ceremony at Cardiff University on 22nd July, but with her visa still pending she isn't sure when to book the tickets.
In normal circumstances for non-settlement visa applications submitted outside the UK 90% are decided within 3 weeks; 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks of the application date. But this year the wait time has extended. After apologising for the delays applicants are experiencing, the British High Commission spokesperson assured, “We are working urgently to reduce the current processing time as quickly as possible."
Considering the increase in applications, British High Commission has opened the priority and super priority services only for Indians since April onwards, “Indian students make up one of the UK’s largest groups of international students and Indian professionals are the top nationality in the skilled work category. This is why UK has its largest network of visa application centres globally right here in India and why we are continuing to offer the priority and super priority visit visa service here – despite it being paused elsewhere.”
These services can be availed to get visa within a couple of days but at a higher cost. According to the UK visa and immigration website, at the time of the visa application, if an applicant can verify his/her identity at a visa application centre, and choose the ‘priority service’ a decision will be made within 5 working days of appointment. For super priority service, after identity verification at a visa application centre, UK Visas and Immigration aims to make a decision within a day and the passport is ready to be collected by the end of the next working day.
“The UK is prioritising Ukraine Visa Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine. This is in addition to unpredictable levels of demand across all visa routes globally, following the easing of travel restrictions into the UK. As a result, applications for study, work and family visas are taking longer to process, with Standard Visitor visas currently taking an average of 6 weeks to process.” A British High Commission spokesperson confirmed.
With no clarity on when things will get normal and what is the ideal time frame relating to their individual applications, the embassy stated, “We are unable to give customers a specific timeframe relating to their individual application, therefore applicants should refer to the visa decision waiting time page on gov.uk and bear in mind increased processing times when booking travel.”
“There is always a significant number of student visa applications in July and August, therefore we encourage student visa applicants to apply for the visa as early as possible to avoid any delays. We are working with the education sector and our commercial partners to get this important message to students.”