How long does it take to get a UK marriage visa?
One of the most frequently asked questions our clients ask is “How long will it take to bring my foreign fiancee, partner or spouse to the UK on a prospective marriage, partner or spousal visa after submitting a settlement application to the British Embassy, Consulate, or High Commission?” The answer to this important question depends largely on where your loved one lives as UK marriage visa processing times vary greatly from location to location, and from Embassy to Embassy. The country of application is one of the major determining factors.
Generally, the waiting time for UK Visas & Immigration – UKVI (formerly the UK Border Agency or UKBA) to make a decision on a settlement fiancee, unmarried partner or spouse visa application can range from a few weeks to several months. For example, the British Consulates in Rio, Brazil and Moscow, Russia are able to process a straightforward settlement visa application within three to four weeks, while the British Consulate in Warsaw, Poland and the British High Commission in Manila, Philippines can take up to three months to advise the applicant of the outcome of their immigration case. Thus, the average processing for settlement visa applications takes approximately six to eight weeks weeks depending on the country of application. It should be noted that complex cases can take the examining immigration officials longer to bring to resolution and visa issuance. Many factors, such as the need for additional administrative processing in cases involving an applicant’s prior criminal history, immigration violations, visa refusals, entry denials et cetera, and resolving incomplete applications, may dramatically influence the process of obtaining a UK marriage visa.
Why some British Consulates are slower than others?
Some British Consulates overseas have jurisdiction over quite a few different countries, which may explain why UK marriage visa processing times vary from location to location. For example, the British High Commission in Manila, Philippines is responsible for processing UK settlement visa applications submitted in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and some other countries in Southeast Asia. The British Consulate in Bogota, Colombia has jurisdiction over Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and some other countries in South America. The British High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica serves most of the countries in the Caribbean. This explains why it can take some UKVI visa-issuing offices longer than usual to process a settlement fiancee, spouse or de facto partner visa application. Processing time may change depending on the volume of applications and regional backlogs.
Is there anything you can do to expedite the process?
You may be eligible to use a settlement priority service depending on the country of application. This optional service is currently available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan and some other countries. For the relatively affordable additional fee of approximately £200 (US$300 or AUD$390), applicants in participating countries are now able to expedite their UK marriage, spouse and partner visa applications. For more information on this additional UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) service please click here.
“Decision ready” immigration applications
If the application is deemed “clearly approvable”, meaning the immigration forms are accurate and contain all the required information, and the case overall does not raise any serious concerns (“red flags”) over its legitimacy, a settlement visa is likely to be issued quickly. The UKVI officials must be satisfied that the partner or marriage visa application has been made in the prescribed manner and the applicant meets the strict criteria for approval. Although not very common, some applicants may be required to participate in a brief telephone or personal “face-to-face” interview with the examining entry clearance officer (ECO), if the initial application or documentary evidence submitted along with the immigration forms are incomplete. Therefore, it is vitally important to ensure that your initial submission is accurate. A complete UK marriage visa application well-presented will be approved much quicker than one with some important information missing.
Our professional UK marriage visa services are designed to ensure that the initial UK fiancee, partner or spousal visa application is complete, accurate, and easy to review so that the Embassy officials are encouraged to approve the application quickly and, possibly, without conducting an interview. We encourage you to take advantage of our professional experience to avoid unnecessary delays in the processing of your immigration case. Start with a free no-obligation consultation today!