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Exclusive: Delay in UK visa? British High Commission has a solution

Are you one of the many who have been having harrowing times waiting for your UK visa to arrive?Premium
Are you one of the many who have been having harrowing times waiting for your UK visa to arrive?

  • Learn about the options in hand if you too are waiting for your UK visa to arrive, as the country is currently prioritising Ukraine Visa Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the war
  • There is a special provision for Indians travelling to the UK which they can avail

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Are you one of the many who have been having harrowing times waiting for your UK visa to arrive? Don't fret, you are not alone, there are thousands across the world who have had to cancel their plans or spend sleepless nights waiting for their visa to be stamped. Two years after Covid halted travel plans, in-person attendance at family functions, seminars, graduation ceremonies and tourism, visa approvals is playing a spoilsport.

In an exclusive conversation with Live Mint, British High Commission spokesperson apologised for the delays applicants are experiencing and confirmed, “We are working urgently to reduce the current processing time as quickly as possible." 

In normal circumstances for non-settlement visa applications submitted outside the UK 90% are decided within 3 weeks; 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks of the application date. But this time the wait time has extended.

In May, Ishita Jain had applied for a UK travel visa to attend her graduation ceremony scheduled in July, an event she has been awaiting for last two years. Now she doesn't know whether she would make it. “Due to covid restrictions my graduation ceremony was cancelled in 2020, I am really looking forward to attend it this year. But not sure if I will be able to make it, considering my visa application is still awaiting a confirmation," she states.

He further added, “Indian students make up one of the UK’s largest groups of international students and Indian professionals are the top nationality in the skilled work category. This is why UK has its largest network of visa application centres globally right here in India and why we are continuing to offer the priority and super priority visit visa service here – despite it being paused elsewhere."

What are the priority and a super priority services that only Indians can avail?

According to the UK visa and immigration website, apart from the normal route travellers can apply for a priority service and a super priority service.

At the time of the visa application, if an applicant can verify his/her identity at a visa application centre, they can choose the ‘priority service’ and a decision will be made within 5 working days of appointment.

For super priority service, after identity verification at a visa application centre, UK Visas and Immigration aims to make a decision within a day and the passport is ready to be collected by the end of the next working day.

Humanitarian crisis emerging after the Ukraine war clubbed with high demand in international travel after covid restrictions were lifted from many countries have led to a substantial increase in number of applications. “The UK is prioritising Ukraine Visa Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine. This is in addition to unpredictable levels of demand across all visa routes globally, following the easing of travel restrictions into the UK. As a result, applications for study, work and family visas are taking longer to process, with Standard Visitor visas currently taking an average of 6 weeks to process." A British High Commission spokesperson confirmed.

“We are experiencing high volumes of visa applications coupled with limited appointment availability and stretched visa processing timelines from India," VFS Global spokesperson told Live Mint.

Under the given circumstances what is the ideal time frame to apply for the visa?

The High Commission stopped short of giving a time frame relating to their individual applications, “We are unable to give customers a specific timeframe relating to their individual application, therefore applicants should refer to the visa decision waiting time page on gov.uk and bear in mind increased processing times when booking travel." spokesperson stated.

Soon the student visa application process will peak for those taking admissions to UK universities and expecting to attend the sessions beginning in September. 

“There is always a significant number of student visa applications in July and August, therefore we encourage student visa applicants to apply for the visa as early as possible to avoid any delays. We are working with the education sector and our commercial partners to get this important message to students."

So for those who are planning to make a trip to England, it is advised to start the visa process at the earliest and not book a ticket until visa is confirmed. Several have lost money due to this unprecedented delay and can only be avoided with better planning. 

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