List of UK visa application
points and decision making
2 December 2021
When you apply for a UK visa from overseas, in most cases you will need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC). Once you have submitted your application and attended your VAC appointment, your application will be considered by an Entry Clearance Officer at a decision making centre.
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) runs a network of international application points and decision making centres, a full list of which can be found here.
Visa Application Centres (VACs)
Before you begin an application for a UK visa, you should check where your nearest VAC is. In some cases, your nearest application point may be in a different country.
UK visa centres overseas are run by two commercial partners engaged by UKVI. Depending on the country, applicants filing a UK visa application from overseas will access the service through one of the following providers:
At your VAC appointment, you will have your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph) collected by centre staff. You will also need to present your visa application along with your passport and supporting documents.
Decision Making Centres
Once you have submitted your application at your nearest VAC, it will be assessed by Home Office caseworkers at a decision making centre. Years ago, UK visa applications filed overseas would be considered at a local British Embassy. However, the decision making process has since been moved away from the Embassies to various large-scale hubs around the world such as Istanbul and Beijing. In a bid to centralise the process, much of the decision making for UK visa applications now takes place in the UK, in offices based in Croydon, Sheffield and Liverpool.
The decision making centre in which your application will be reviewed depends on which type of visa you are applying for and which VAC you attended. For example, if you are applying for a visit visa from one of Australia’s seven application points, your application will be reviewed at a decision making centre in Beijing. But those customers filing a visit visa application from the Americas region will have their application decided by caseworkers in Croydon. Most applications for work or study visas submitted overseas will be decided at UKVI’s decision making hub in Sheffield.
UK visa processing times
So how long can you expect to wait for a decision once you have submitted your application? No matter which decision making centre your application is directed to, the Home Office has standard processing times which it aims to uphold for all applications.
Standard UK visa processing times vary depending on type of application you are submitting, whether you are filing your application from inside or outside the UK, and whether you choose to utilise any of the Home Office priority services to receive a faster decision.
Typically, when applying for a visa from outside the UK, you should receive a decision within three weeks once you have attended an appointment at a VAC. However, it may take longer to get a decision if the Home Office needs to request further details or if you need to attend an interview.
You can read more about UK visa processing times and priority services here.
Support with your UK visa application
If you require assistance with filing a UK visa or settlement application, Smith Stone Walters can help.
Our team are experienced in filing a wide range of visa and settlement applications on behalf of our clients. With offices in London, New York, Hong Kong and Mumbai, our consultants are on hand to provide practical support wherever you are in the world. To discuss your requirements, please contact us today.