Applying for a UK visa
from Australia in 2023?

From 16 January 2023, those applying for a UK visa in Sydney, Australia, will have the option of paying to get a faster decision on their application.

UK Visas and Immigrarion (UKVI) has launched a Super Priority visa service which will allow customers in Sydney to receive a decision on their UK visa application by the end of the next working day. UKVI offers this optional paid service at select locations around the world and it is intended to provide flexibility and convenience to customers.

The fee for the Super Priority visa service is currently £956, and must be paid in addition to the standard visa application fee. The service is not currently available for new family or settlement applications.

What are the standard UK visa processing times?

Customers who choose not to pay for a faster decision will have their application decided within the Home Office’s standard processing times.

Processing times vary according to the type of visa you are applying for, the location you submitted your application and the time of year. Currently, most applications for work and study visas submitted outside the UK are being processed within the three-week service standard.

The very latest visa decision waiting times for each visa category are published online here. This also includes additional information about the priority services for those applying outside of the UK.

After you have submitted your visa application online, the waiting time starts when you have attended your appointment and provided your biometric information at a visa application centre, or when you have verified your identity using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.

When you might need to wait longer

In some cases, your application may not be decided within standard processing times. You may need to wait longer for a decision if your application is not straightforward and more information is needed before a decision can be made, for example:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction).

If you applied for a Priority or Super Priority visa and your application is not straightforward, you may have to wait longer, but your application will still be put at the front of the queue at every stage of the decision-making process. UKVI will try to process your application within the standard timescales.

Do Australians need a visa to travel to the UK?

Under UK immigration law, Australian citizens are visa-exempt travellers, otherwise known as non-visa nationals. Non-visa nationals are foreign citizens who can enter the UK for short stays without requiring a visa.

Australian nationals can stay in the UK as a tourist for up to 6 months without a visa. However, non-visa nationals must still meet the Standard Visitor eligibility requirements to visit the UK. You may be asked questions at the UK border about your eligibility and the activities you plan to do.

As a visitor to the UK, you are permitted to carry out certain business activities, such as attending meetings or conferences, negotiating and signing contracts and carrying out site visits. However, you cannot do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or on a self-employed basis.  Australian nationals who wish to work in the UK must apply for a visa.

Anyone intending to visit the UK for business purposes should therefore ensure that their plans fall within the scope of permitted activities under the visitor rules. Smith Stone Walters recommends seeking legal advice from a qualified immigration advisor if you are unsure.

To speak to a member of our team, please contact us today.

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