uk visa enquiry

Reasons for Delays in UK Visa Processing Time

When you make a UK visa application, you want this to be processed quickly. There are standard time limits within which visa applications are processed by the Home Office if everything is right with the application and the applicant. But many times you may have to face delays. There have, for example, been a number of reports of visa delays in 2019. What are some of the reasons behind delays in the processing time for UK visas? 

Reasons for delays in visa processing times

UK visa processing is a complex task so there can be many reasons for delays. The most common reason for a delay is when there is a problem with your visa application or it is a very complex situation. In such situations, your visa application will not be processed within the normal, standard timeframe. However, there are other delay reasons which can be anticipated - and resolved - in advance.

1. Delay because of improper paperwork

Proper paperwork and related documents are a must for your visa application. If you fail to provide proper paperwork – such as if your application contains errors or omissions – then you are asking for delays, as the Home Office representative will be forced to request that you fix these mistakes before the process continues and they make a final decision.

2. Non-payment of fees

For most government processes, you are required to pay a fee and applying for a visa is no exception. For each category of UK visa, such as if you are applying for a visa for work or travel, you need to pay a prescribed figure. So, if you fail to pay the fee or you pay an inappropriate amount, then it can lead to your visa application stalling.

3. Time taken for verification of your documents and data

Many times, when you apply for a category of visa, you submit information as part of your visa application. Now, it may happen that the home officer has to contact various departments to verify that documents and data provided by you are legitimate. This is especially the case for PBS visas, like Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 Student and Tier 5 visa applications. This may take some time, causing a delay in visa application processing.

4. Delay due to additional information

You may be asked by the UKVI immigration officer to furnish additional information sometimes – for example, if the documents that you submitted are not enough for the immigration officer to make a firm opinion on whether to grant you a visa or reject your application. This can, of course, lead to delays.

5. Unforeseen seasonal factors

Seasonal factors can also play a part in visa application delays. For example, if there is a sudden increase in the number of visa applications from tourists during a particular season, there will be delays in visa application processing time.

6. Delay because of adverse immigration history

If you were previously refused a UK visa or refused leave to enter the UK, deported, removed or were required to leave the UK in the past or faced conviction for any criminal offence, then there is a slim probability of you being granted a UK visa this time around. However, you will definitely face delays in such a situation if you are ultimately granted a visa.


What to do if your UK visa is delayed

As highlighted above, there are a number of factors that can lead to delays in visa processing times. In many cases, these delays can be avoided if your application contains the necessary documentation, you have a good immigration history, and there is a clear reason for your application. But, if you have been subject to a lengthy delay, what should you do next? If you already have a visa, your immigration status will stay the same - assuming you made the application for your new visa in the 28 days before your existing visa expires. If it is a condition of your visa, you’ll still be able to work, access education and receive certain benefits while your new visa is processing. However, if you apply for your new visa after your existing visa ends, you’ll lose these rights. This is considered as overstaying your visa as per UK visa expiry rules. If you experience a lengthy delay to visa processing times, you could contact your local MP. They may be able to give you more information about the delay. In order to do this, you’ll need to give your MP as much information as possible so that they can find your application from UKVI or the Home Office. This would include information such as the date you made your application and any reference numbers you’ve received. Alternatively, if you made your visa application with us, we can help you with any delays. If you have experienced delays with your UK visa being processed, contact us to ask any questions you might have.


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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.