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Can I speed up the processing of my UK visa application?

Making a visa application is a lengthy process, and waiting for a decision can be very frustrating, especially if you need to travel while waiting for your visa decision.

Whether or not you can expedite your visa application will depend on the type of visa you are applying for and the country you are applying from. For an additional fee, the Home Office offers a variety of priority services, which reduce the processing time of a visa application. Priority services are only available for certain visa applications.

In-country applications

For applications made from within the UK, the standard priority service costs £500, and a decision should be made on your application within 5 days of enrolling your biometrics. The super priority service costs £800, and a decision should be made on your application by the end of the next working day.

For each family member applying with you, you’ll need to pay an additional:

· £500 to get a decision within 5 working days

· £800 to get a decision by the end of the next working day

If you apply with members of your family, you’ll get a decision for everyone at the same time.

Priority services for applications made from within the UK are purchased when submitting the application to the Home Office.

Out-of-country applications

For applications made from outside the UK, the ability to secure a priority service will depend on the country you are applying from. If available, the 5-day priority service costs £573, if your visa category leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”), or £250, if your visa category does not lead to ILR (for example, a Visit visa). The super priority service costs £956 for entry clearance applications.

If you are using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app, the only priority service available on it is the 5-day priority service, which costs £500. The ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app can only be used for certain categories of visas (including Skilled Worker visas and Student visas) and is limited to EU nationals for entry clearance applications (other nationalities can sometimes use the app when applying from within the UK).

Priority services for applications made from outside the UK are usually purchased when booking a biometric appointment tafter the submission of the application; however, they are sometimes available at the point of submitting the visa application online. It is usually not possible to purchase a priority service following biometric enrolment.

Varying the Uk Visa Application

If you need to travel urgently, there is a way of switching certain applications to super priority status, even if you didn’t originally do so. This can be done by simply varying the application to the one you had already applied for, but this time submitting it on Super Priority Status. This can be done for both settlement applications and also leave to remain applications.

You will have to complete and submit a new application form, this time submitting it on a Super Priority basis. Bear in mind that when it comes to some applications, Super Priority is rationed to only 10 or so per day. If you are applying in a category that is eligible for Super Priority, and you don’t see that option when you come to pay, try submitting the application just after 1 am, when the new “slots” are released.

You will need to upload the same documents as before, making sure to update any that are out of date. The application date to calculate the relevant period for any financial requirement will be when the second application form is lodged, not the first. Finally, you must attend a UKVCAS appointment to enrol your biometrics again.

Contacting your local MP

Suppose you live in the UK and applied for further leave to remain or settlement; contacting your local MP can significantly help your chances of speeding up your application, especially if you don’t have the means of paying for the Super Priority service. As your local representative, MPs can find out more about the delay and help to speed up your application process. This can be an easy, cost-effective way of getting an update or getting a faster outcome.

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