When applying for a UK visa, the waiting time for a decision may vary based on the type of visa, whether the application is submitted from overseas or within the UK, and whether any of the Home Office’s paid priority services have been utilized. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) provides standard processing times to give customers an estimated timeframe for most straightforward applications. However, there are instances where visa processing times may exceed these targets. This can occur during peak periods when UKVI receives a high volume of applications or in cases involving complexity or the need for additional supporting evidence.

The Home Office has recently released an updated list of standard processing times for UK visa applications, both for applications made outside the UK and within the country. Currently, most work, study, and visit visa applications are being processed within 3 weeks for applications submitted from overseas, and within 8 weeks for applications made within the UK.

Visa processing times begin once you have submitted your application and verified your identity through either the UK Immigration: ID Check app or by attending an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). They conclude when you receive a letter or email from the Home Office containing the decision on your application.

The processing times provided below are based on the current volume of visa applications and are subject to change.

Visa Processing Times from Outside the UK

If you are applying for your UK visa from overseas, it is recommended that you refrain from making any travel arrangements until a decision has been made on your application. Here are the current standard processing times for each category from outside the UK.

  • Work Visas
    • Skilled Worker: 3 Weeks
    • Global Business Mobility Visas: 3 Weeks
    • Health and Care Worker: 3 Weeks
    • Global Talent: 3 Weeks
    • Temporary Work Visas (selected categories): 3 Weeks
    • Scale-up Worker: 3 Weeks
    • Innovator Founder: 3 Weeks
    • High Potential Individual (HPI): 3 Weeks
  • Study Visas (All Categories): 3 Weeks
  • Visit Visas (All Categories): 3 Weeks
  • British National (Overseas) Visas: 12 Weeks
  • Family Visas: 24 Weeks
  • Ukraine Family Scheme Visas & Homes for Ukraine: As Quickly as Possible

Visa Processing Times from Inside the UK

If you are applying to extend your visa or switch to another visa category from within the UK, processing times typically take longer compared to overseas applications. You are allowed to remain in the UK until a decision is made, provided that you submitted your application before the expiry of your last visa. Here is an overview of the current waiting times for in-country applications in each category.

  • Work Visas
    • Skilled Worker: 8 Weeks
    • Global Business Mobility Visas: 8 Weeks
    • Health and Care Worker: 8 Weeks
    • Global Talent: 8 Weeks
    • Temporary Work Visas (selected categories): 8 Weeks
    • Scale-up Worker: 8 Weeks
    • Innovator Founder: 8 Weeks
    • High Potential Individual (HPI): 8 Weeks
  • Graduate Visas: 8 Weeks
  • Study Visas: 8 Weeks
  • Family Visas: 8 Weeks
  • British National (Overseas) Visas: 12 Weeks
  • Standard Visitor Visas: 8 Weeks
  • Ukraine Family Scheme Visas & Homes for Ukraine: As Quickly as Possible

Urgent Decision Timeline

If you require an urgent decision on your application, you have the option to expedite the process by utilizing the Home Office’s priority services, which are available for an additional fee. You have the possibility of receiving a decision within the following timeframes:

  • Within 5 working days by opting for the Priority service.
  • By the end of the next working day through the Super Priority service.

Updates on your Application

In certain situations, your application may not be decided within the standard processing times mentioned earlier. If this occurs, the Home Office will contact you to inform you if additional evidence is required or if you need to attend an interview.

To receive updates on your submitted visa application, it is recommended that you directly contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). However, please note that if you have already made a visa application and it is still within the current processing times, it is advised not to contact UKVI to track your application.