From 1 August 2013, settlement visa applicants in Australia and New Zealand can expedite their UK fiancee, spousal or partner visa application for an additional fee. This priority service is optional and applicants who are not in any hurry to receive a reply from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) can still use the normal route.
The priority service fee is AUS$390 per applicant. All other fees apply at the time of application. This additional service does not ensure a successful outcome. There is no guarantee that the settlement visa will be granted if the applicant or their UK sponsor do not meet the UK criteria for approval. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) aims to process all UK marriage visa applications under the settlement category within 10 working days, not including transit time to the office or back to the applicant, so this should also be factored in.
There are many reasons for a UK marriage, fiancee or partner visa application to be delayed and they include having been previously refused a visa for the UK, or if the applicant has previously been denied entry into the UK. It is not recommended to request a settlement priority service in New Zealand or Australia, if the applicant has previously been deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK, or has overstayed a period of leave in the UK. If the applicant has had similar problems in other countries such as the US or Canada, the application is unlikely to be expedited. A criminal record may also delay the processing of a UK settlement visa application.
The new UK Border Agency (UKBA) settlement priority service launched in Australia and New Zealand will be of great help to those making a straightforward UK marriage visa application and means that they will not have to suffer the backlog which many people experience. It is recommended that the visa application envelope is clearly marked ‘Priority’, although this is not mandatory. It is also important to include the priority service payment receipt with the application. Having spent the extra money for the settlement priority service, applicants are advised to double check that all of the paperwork has been completed properly, as otherwise the application may be rejected.