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How long does it take to get a UK fiancee, partner or spousal visa under the settlement category?

UK fiancee, unmarried partner and spouse visas belong to the same immigration category known as family settlement. Therefore, there is no difference in processing times between these types of visas, as they are handled by the UKVI Decision Making Centre in Sheffield as part of the same queue. The actual length of time it takes the UKVI to process a UK marriage visa application varies from country to country and cannot be predicted for individual cases with any accuracy. Complex settlement applications involving applicants with prior criminal, visa refusal or entry denial history typically require additional administrative processing which may cause significant delays in the UKVI assessment process. Some straightforward cases may also be put on hold as all UK visa applications are processed in the order received.

The UKVI service standards for settlement applications are outlined in the official guide to visa processing times. According to the guide, the UKVI Decision Making Centre (DMC) in Sheffield aim to process 95 per cent of partner, spousal and fiancee visa applications within 12 weeks of submission, and 100 per cent within 24 weeks from the date the application is accepted for processing. However, the actual processing times may vary depending on a range of factors, including individual circumstances and the overall complexity of a specific case, as well as the country of application; thus sometimes causing regional backlogs. Based on our experience, most standard settlement applications are currently processed within six to eight weeks.

UKVI settlement priority service 

In some countries visa applicants can take advantage of the UKVI premium service. This additional service was first introduced by the UK Border Agency on 16 June 2010. For the relatively affordable fee of £500 (in most countries it must be paid in US dollars), straightforward settlement visa applications can be processed ahead of any other ‘non-premium’ applications. The average turnaround time varies from 10 to 15 working days. However, the UKVI does not guarantee that paying £500 on top of the application fee will result in a quick approval. The UKVI reserve the right to defer a premium application if additional administrative processing is required. This may include situations where the foreign fiancee, partner or spouse has been previously refused a UK visa, denied entry into the UK, overstayed, deported, removed or otherwise required to leave the UK. Having a prior criminal record may also prevent an applicant from being able to use the priority service.

The settlement priority service is currently available in the US, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, UAE and many other countries. Our team of family immigration experts can provide the most up-to-date information on UKVI requirements and participating countries.

Please complete our online marriage visa assessment form on the right hand side of the page to find out if your loved one can use the UKVI premium service to relocate to the UK as quickly as possible. Please be sure to provide us with your name, phone number and email address so that one of our consultants can contact you to discuss your individual circumstances. You can expect to hear back from us within 24 hours. We offer a one-time, no-obligation UK marriage visa consultation completely free of charge.

Free UK marriage visa assessment

Contact details:
Office 622
Kemp House
152-160 City Road
London EC1V 2NX
Tel: +44 (0)20 8144 2556
Fax: +44 (0)20 3432 9312