How UKVI Processes Your Visa Application

Making an application to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) either overseas or from inside the UK can cause significant problems with future travel plans. Decisions may take several months, and the need to submit your passport can cause problems. Traditionally, UKVI is not the easiest government department to contact, especially if your enquiry is urgent.


Checking visa processing times

A simple online tool provides you with a quick way to find out how long your visa might take to be issued. Note this is a general guide, and a wide range of results can be returned depending on where you’re applying, and what type of visa you want.

Priority visa processing

This is offered by many visa issuing offices overseas. It is a premium service, and costs can be high. For example, if you choose priority processing for a settlement application, you can expect to pay a significant additional fee on top of standard visa fees.

Tracking your visa application

An online tool on the gov.uk website offers a couple of options, if you have submitted a visa application either in the UK or abroad, and are waiting for a decision. Unfortunately, when you click through the questions it usually takes you to general contact information for the various UKVI departments, such as European or asylum casework. Phone numbers are provided, but beware: calling these numbers can be expensive, and when your call is answered, the information you receive is likely to be limited, often to the point of being no help at all. Spending time on hold, to be told your application is “under consideration”, is of little use to anyone.

The online visa status tool does return better results if you’ve applied for a UK visa from abroad. As well as taking you to a general enquiries phone number, the option of a paid email enquiry appears. The current cost is £5.48, and a reply is promised within 2 working days. Our experience is that the paid email option (there is a paid call option also available, which is less effective) allows your enquiry to reach the casework team dealing with your case, and can lead to a quicker decision if you have a good reason, eg a medical emergency requiring urgent travel.

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS)

For in-country visa applicants, in late 2018 UKVI began rolling out new processing options.which are delivered via the UKVCAS network.

Of the 57 UKVCAS centres, 6 are core service centres which offer free appointments. The 6 core centres are in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and Croydon.

50 enhanced service points are accessible in several locations across the UK and will charge for appointments. Services available include next day appointments, documentation checking and an on-demand VIP service.

A premium lounge located in central London is available offering high speed Wi-Fi and business facilities.

Full details of the service, provided by UKVI’s commercial partner Sopra Steria,can be found here.

How we can help

At Latitude Law, our lawyers handle several hundred applications a year on behalf of the widest possible range of clients, from businesses to individuals. We maintain up-to-date, expert knowledge of UKVI processing methods, and can advise you on the best way to achieve a quick decision, or to ensure that you retain your important personal documents wherever possible.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Our specialist migration lawyers have the expertise to advise the optimum approach to your Home Office application, and to provide you with effective advice and support if circumstances change and you need your documents back urgently. If you are interested in using any of these services get in touch with a member of our team on 0161 234 6800 (Manchester) or 0203 752 6620 (London).

Our solicitors

What our clients say…

Allowed Appeal

To Gemma and the team, Thank you very much for your amazing job done. You are life savers.

Four British passports

The British passports of my four children successfully reached us this week.

I wanted to thank the Latitude Law Firm for the constant professional support provided to us throughout the process. Your services have been helpful for us at each stage of the process. We would be happy to hire you again in the future for the process of my husband, and would also recommend your firm to others around us.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the hard work of Joel Reiss towards the successful completion of our case. His support for all of us from day 1 till the very last day has been commendable. Me and my children are very thankful to him for the smooth execution.

Looking forward to hiring the firm for our next case as well.

Son’s successful naturalisation

I'm writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for all of your assistance during this tough time. I am really grateful for all of your help and support, You changed my son future for good.

All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 11/09/2021