UK resumes priority visa processing
- Eligible student visa applicants may now apply for expedited processing under restored priority and super priority service options
- These premium services offer to reduce processing times from an average of three weeks for standard applications to within five working days for priority files and within 1-2 working days for super priority files
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has restored its priority processing services for a range of eligible visa classes, including student visas, as of 12 August 2022.
The service had been suspended since March 2022, during which time UKVI had prioritised processing for Ukrainian applicants. The absence of priority service options has since contributed to a significant backlog of visa files in the intervening months.
Under the now-restored "priority" and "super priority" services, eligible students applying for a visa from outside of the UK can pay an additional fee for expedited processing.
The priority service is available for a surcharge of £500 above the normal application fee, and results in a decision on the student's visa application within five working days.
UKVI advises that that time period starts from either:
- "The day of your appointment, if you prove your identity at a UK Visa and Citizen Application Services (UKVCAS) appointment centre"; or
- "The working day after you finished uploading your documents, if you use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app"
Eligible students requiring an even faster turnaround on visa applications may opt for a super priority service. It costs an additional £800 (over and above the base application fee), and results in a decision on the applicant's file by the end of the next working day.
Please see the official UKVI guidance on expedited processing for additional details.
UKVI reports as well that, as of 12 August 2022, the average processing time for a student visa application has fallen to three weeks, which is down from the five-week processing benchmark reported by visa officials earlier this year.
For additional background, please see: