Want the latest COVID-19 updates as they relate to UK partner visas?
We discuss this in detail in our Partner & Spouse visa Coronavirus (COVID-19) JULY update article.
The fiance visa UK processing time in 2020 is between 2-3 months, on average. Therefore, this is the amount of time you are generally expected to wait if you opt for the standard (i.e. non-priority service).
For some parts of the world, such as Manilla in the Philippines, the Home Office provide helpful tables like the following:
|Fiance visa UK processing time in 2020||2-3 months, on average|
Whilst the Home Office used to provide figures for a wide variety of countries, however this is not the case anymore.
In fact, for most countries, the Home Office does not release this information.
But, since it will only take a few minutes to check, you are probably wondering…
How do I find out the Fiance Visa UK processing time for my country?
The first thing to do is to click this link.
The second thing to do is to choose the location from where you are making the application.
This will be either the applicant’s country of nationality or country of residence.
The third thing to do will be to select ‘Settlement Visas’ from the drop-down list.
Unfortunately, in many cases, you will not be able to see ‘Settlement Visas’ – sorry!
Darn you, Home Office!
Just so that you do not waste your time, I want to let you know that there is probably no point in looking up ‘Visit Visas’, ‘Points Based System Visas’ and ‘Other Non Settlement Visas’.
This is because they have nothing to do with the UK Fiancé(e) visa that you are after, which falls under the settlement category.
However, if you were one of the lucky ones, after choosing ‘settlement’, you should see something like this:
3 Things You Can Do To Reduce The Fiancé(e) Visa UK Processing Time
The applications that we personally submit (as experienced & qualified immigration advisors) tend to be processed faster than what is often quoted on the internet.
We have three tips for you:
#1 Ensure that the application includes all of the required documentation that is compliant with the Immigration Rules
As we discuss in our comprehensive fiance visa UK 2020 guidance, a commonly made mistake is to rely too much on the document checklist that is automated on the online fiance visa UK application form in 2020.
This is because this document checklist:
i) Does not always tell you all of the required documents that must be submitted;
ii) Does not point out specific Immigration Rules as they apply to certain documents;
iii) Does not tell you exactly how the financial requirement is calculated.
Please do not fall foul of the financial requirement
This is because the starting position for the Home Office caseworker is to refuse applications where:
- A required document is not submitted; or
- A document is submitted that does not comply with a document-specific Immigration Rules.
It is for this reason why you should absolutely take the time to familiarise yourself with the fiance visa financial requirements – we have written a free & detailed guide that specifically covers this here.
“How can Migrate.org.uk’s DIY Application Pack Service help?”
Our DIY Application Pack service will provide you with a tailored document checklist and a set of tailored letter templates that are custom made depending on the information that you provide us.
It’s a good alternative for full legal representation because:
- The document checklist identifies not only the required documents according to the Immigration Rules, but documents that are optional but recommended;
- The document checklist identifies the relevant sections of the official Home Office guidance and Immigration Rules;
- The document checklist saves you time by identifying the relevant document-specific Immigration Rules; and
- The letter templates have been professionally written in accordance not only with the Immigration Rules but also best practices that we have developed having overseen thousands of UK partner visa applications; and
- A regulated, qualified and experienced immigration advisor will be available to you via general email support.
This service includes a 100% money-back guarantee simply because our customer’s results have been exceptional.
#2 Write clear supporting letters
Having a nicely written letter from both you and your partner will make it much more clear to the Home Office caseworker how you meet the requirements.
If you would like to use professionally written supporting letter templates, this will part of our Fiancé(e) Visa DIY Application Pack Service.
#3 Provide clear photocopies
Fortunately, the Home Office finally got sick of compliant due to losing valuable original documentation that they no longer require the submission of original documentation.
Rather, you are able to submit photocopies instead of original documentation.
With this being said, it is important that the photocopies that you do provide are clear and cover the whole document.
One thing to note is that the majority of visa centres insist that the copies should be provided on A4 sized paper (much to the despair of those who are submitting the application in a country where A4 sized paper is widely unavailable).
3 Situations Where Your Application Will Probably Take Longer Than Average to Process
#1 If you have previously been refused a UK visa
As we have previously mentioned, a bad immigration history will usually result in the Home Office looking at any subsequent applications you make in more detail (therefore adding to the processing time).
This is especially the case if you have been refused a settlement visa, i.e. one of the following UK visas:
If you have previously been refused for a different type of visa, such as a UK Visitor visa, then this will not make too big of an impact.
With this being said, this is one of the reasons why it is always good to ensure that you get the visa right the first time.
Example: Julie is a Thailand national who has been refused a UK Fiancé(e) visa and two spouse visas . When she applies for her UK fiance visa, the Home Office caseworkers will likely be more sceptical about her application (because of her previous refusal history). Therefore, because of this, the processing time for her Fiancé(e) visa UK is likely going to be longer than if she has had a good UK immigration history (e.g. has already been granted several UK visas in the past).
A tip for those who have previously been refused
If you have been refused a UK visa, however, you should address this in your letter of supports.
In these letters, you should explain the reason for previous refusals, and explain why they are not applicable in the current application.
#2 Human rights related applications
Applications that reference Human Rights law are complicated. There is no question about that.
Because many of these applications do not fall under the standard Immigration Rules, it will most likely take longer to process than a standard application as there are several considerations and approaches that the Home Office caseworker should take.
#3 If you forget to submit certain documents or provide certain information
Three things may happen if you forget to include certain documents or information.
The first thing is that the Home Office will write to you, after realising that the application is incomplete, requesting the outstanding document or piece of information.
You will then have a certain amount of days in order to provide that.
Th second thing is that the Home Office caseworker may decide is to grant you the application despite the non-compliance.
This is certainly not something that you should count on, especially because the Home Office are not known for being lenient and letting people off.
The third, and likely thing is that your application will be refused (unfortunately).
Can You Speed Up The UK Fiance Visa Processing Time?
Yes. In many cases, you are able to speed up the fiance visa processing time.
Unfortunately, this will cost you more of your hard earned money.
You will be able to do this by loading up both websites and seeing if you can select the country in which you will be making the application from.
The following is what the VFS website looks like:
Please note that both the the VFS and TLS websites have different versions of pages depending on the country you are applying from, so it is very important to make sure that you are in the right section.
Let’s take the United States as an example.
The VFS site provides us with the following information relating to the United States:
A priority service for settlement applications (i.e. fiance visas, fiancé(e) visas), unmarried partner visas) will cost 765 USD. This equates to approximately £600.
They will aim to decide your application within 30 days from when you submit your biometric information at the visa centre.
To use the example of Pakistan, the VFS site tells us:
PKR109685 as the fee for the priority service for settlement visas. This equates to slightly more than £600 at the time of writing.
They will also aim to decide the application within 30 days from when biometric information is submitted at the visa centre.
You should note two things.
Firstly, if you are struggling to find the particular page for the country you are applying from, try replacing the letters ‘pk’ in the following link for the letters that represent the country from which you are applying from: https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/pk/en/premium-services/priority-visa-for-settlement
Secondly, you should ensure that the priority visa service that you are looking at specifically covers ‘settlement’ visas.
There are usually two priority services offered, the first for non-settlement visas and the second for settlement visas.
To remind you, for the purpose of purchasing the priority service, a fiancé(e) visa is a settlement visa.
Can Anyone Pay For The Priority Service?
However, if any of the following apply, it is advised that you do NOT pay for the priority settlement visa service:
- You have been refused a visa for the UK;
- You have been refused leave to remain in the UK by the Home Office;
- You have been refused a visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States of America, or the Schengen countries;
- You have committed a criminal offence in any country;
- You have been deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK;
- You have had leave to remain in the UK curtailed by the Home Office;
- You have an unspent criminal conviction in any country;
- You have been refused leave to enter the UK;
- You have overstayed a period of leave in the UK;
- You have been interviewed, detained, or prosecuted by the police for any offence in the UK or elsewhere.
This is because this is specifically stated on the relevant sections on both the VFS and TLS websites.
If any of the above apply, the Home Office cannot guarantee that they will be able to speed up the Fiance visa UK processing time to within the standard priority decision making time.
Frequently Asked questions
When does the fiance visa processing time start?
For non-priority (i.e. standard) applications, the countdown will start from when the Home Office receives the application. For priority applications, this will start when the applicant attends the visa centres and provides the support documentation.
Is It Possible For Me To Keep My Passport Whilst I Wait For The Decision?
Yes, but only in some cases. We would advise that you check the VFS or TLS website for the particular country that you are applying from.
How Can I Get Updates About My Application?
Whilst it would be nice to get regular progress updates, this is something that rarely happens. In fact, it is extremely unlikely that you will only get a response from the Home Office once a decision has been made.
How Can I Get Updates About My Application?
Since paying for the priority decision is unlikely to increase the chances of a successful application, this is a question only you and your partner can decide. Is it worth the extra cost for you both to receive a decision faster?
If you are not looking to pay extra in order to get the fiance visa application processed via the priority service, then you are likely going to have to wait two or three months.
If you’d like a tailored fiancé(e) visa document checklist, as well as a set of tailored letter templates that you’ll need in your application, feel free to check out our DIY Application Pack Service.