1 September 2023
Although the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact visa processing times, we are starting to see some improvements. In recent years, processing times have increased for many visa categories due to COVID-19-related delays and a growing backlog of pending cases, as the UKVI settlement priority service remained suspended until recently. However, there are some encouraging signs of advancement back to normal standard processing times, as the waiting times for UK settlement fiancée, unmarried partner and spouse visa applications submitted outside the UK have noticeably been decreasing over the past few months. Processing times earlier in the year were impacted by a large number of older applications, but this has improved as these applications have been finalised. According to official data, median processing times for 2023 show significant improvement for many visa categories, including family visas, compared to 2021 – 2022.
The global median wait time for UK family visas was reduced from four to six months in June – July last year to two to three weeks for premium settlement spouse, de facto partner and fiancée / proposed civil partner applications now. 90 per cent of premium applications are now expected to be processed within two to four weeks, down from usual two months. For standard UK partner and marriage visa applications submitted outside the UK, the wait time currently ranges from six to eight weeks. We encourage our clients to purchase an additional UKVI priority service for an extra fee to ensure the shortest possible processing times. This service is available for purchase on the official VFS or TLS website.