September 15, 2017
In recognising the growing demand for fast-tracked applications, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) recently opened its priority visa service to all visa categories. For an additional fee, applicants can prioritise the consideration of their UK visa application. Although this service is an attractive proposition to many, paying extra does not guarantee securing a decision within a specific time period.
The UKVI’s optional User Pay service is charged out at either £184 or £551 per applicant. The higher fee being applicable to settlement visa categories. Whilst the cost of this service was increased in April 2017, processing times associated with ‘priority’ applications have deteriorated.
In an attempt to bury bad news, the UKVI recently amended its messaging to read: Customers who choose to use the priority visa service will have their application placed at the front of the processing queue. Although this sounds promising, it does not provide customers with any idea as to how long their cases will take to be considered. Recently, we have noticed some visa applications taking up to 6 weeks to be considered. This is despite the applicant paying the extra cost of the UKVI’s priority processing service.
Smith Stone Walters has made representation to the UKVI requesting they amend their published wording to accurately portray the service standards applicants can expect to receive. Customers should not be left feeling cheated by spending hundreds of pounds on a priority service that doesn’t offer priority.