Fiance Visa UK Timeline & Process in 2024

The current UK fiance visa timeline and process in 2024 is as follows:

  1. Learn the UK fiance visa requirements and gather the relevant documents.
  2. Start completing the application form.
  3. Submit the application.
  4. Book the visa centre appointment.
  5. Submit the supporting documents.
  6. Attend the visa centre appointment.
  7. Wait for the decision.
  8. Enter the UK.
  9. Submit the FLR M application. 

This article will discuss each of the above steps in detail.

step 1

Learn the UK fiance visa requirements and gather the relevant documents. 

You must learn the requirements and should obtain the required documents before applying for the UK fiancé(e) visa.

This is important because the relevant date that the requirements must be met is the date you submit the application by paying the Home Office fee on the UK fiance visa application form.

Not only does learning the requirements take partners longer than they initially expect, but some partners may be forced to wait several months until they can satisfy the fiance visa requirements.

Example of having to wait to satisfy the fiance visa requirements

Jenny, the sponsor of a UK fiancé(e) visa application, started her business in July 2024.

Jenny’s business is a specified limited company (as she is the sole director and shareholder of a UK limited company).

Since the Immigration Rules require those who are relying on specified limited company income to provide documentation that relates to the company’s most recent full financial year, Jenny will need to wait until July 2025 until she can satisfy the financial requirement.

For more information about the requirements, feel free to read our detailed UK fiance visa requirements in 2024 article. This article also includes a detailed video that discusses the requirements you will need to meet.

step 2

Start completing the fiancé(e) visa online application form.

We discuss how you can ensure you use the up-to-date application form in our UK fiance visa application form in 2024 article.

You will complete the same application form used by those applying as a married partner, civil partner, or unmarried partner.

The Home Office should know that you’re making a fiancé(e) visa application based on how you complete the application form.

The application form is never completed on the TLS or VFS websites.

Instead, as we discuss later, you will be redirected to either the TLS or VFS website based on the country in which the application is being made from.

“What will be the start date of the fiancé(e) visa be?”

You will see the following question in the online application form.

date you plan to arrive in the UK

If the “date you plan to arrive in the UK” answer is after the date of decision, the start date of the six-month fiancé(e) visa will typically be the date you answered here.

If the “date you plan to arrive in the UK” answer is before the date of decision, the start date of the six-month fiancé(e) visa will typically be on or around the date of decision.

Please note, however, that Home Office caseworkers are normally only able to post-date the start date of the visa by up to 3 months after the date of decision.

Note: The above image states “You will have 30 days to arrange travel to the UK”.

This does not apply to fiancé(e) visas.

As we will discuss later on, the applicant will be able to enter the UK at any time during the validity of the six-month fiancé(e) visa.

Our UK fiance visa application form article discusses numerous things you should know before applying, so feel free to read that.

step 3

Submit the application.

You should submit the application form only when you have:

  • Ensured that the correct application form has been completed correctly; and
  • Collected the required documentation; and
  • Ensure that the documentation satisfies the document-specific Immigration Rules.

The application is submitted by paying the Home Office fee on the Home Office payment page.

As we discuss in our UK fiance visa fees & costs in 2024 article, notably, this fee is rarely paid in British Pounds.

Therefore, this may result in you paying up to 5% above or below the listed Home Office fee of £1,846.

“What if we want to pay for the priority service?”

If you want to pay for the priority service (which reduces the UK fiance visa processing time in 2024 to approximately 30 working days at the cost of an additional ~£500) this can usually be purchased either:

  • On the VFS or TLS website;
  • At the visa centre during the visa centre appointment.

Currently, the priority service tends to only purchasable on the VFS/TLS website.

The date you pay the Home Office fee on the above page is when the application is submitted.

It is known as the “date of application”.

Notably, the date of application is the date that the documents must show that the requirements are met.

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step 4

Book the visa centre appointment.

Once you have paid the Home Office fee, you will be sent to the VFS or TLS website (depending on the country in which the application is being submitted from).

Where the sponsor is located does not impact the country from which the application is being submitted.

Instead, the relevant country will be the country the applicant is in when the online application is submitted (the applicant’s country of legal residence or country of nationality).

The visa centre appointment can usually be booked within a few days of submitting the fiance visa application, but this will vary according to supply and demand.

It usually is fine if the visa centre appointment is booked several weeks after submitting the fiance visa application form.

“Who are VFS and TLS?”

VFS and TLS are private companies that have partnered with the Home Office to primarily help with:

  • The visa centre appointment; and
  • The submission of documents.

They help with the administrative process only – they should not affect the decision making of your application.

step 5

Submit the UK fiance visa supporting documents.

We generally recommend that partners self-upload the supporting documentation.

The self-upload will take place on the VFS/TLS website – you will not upload the supporting documentation on the fiancé(e) visa application form.

Partners can otherwise:

  • Submit copies of the supporting documents at a visa centre; or
  • Post paper copies of the supporting documents to an address in the UK.

While the applicant will need their physical passport when they attend the visa centre, original supporting documents are not required.

Instead, digital or paper copies of the supporting documents can be relied on.

PLEASE NOTE

Do not submit the supporting documents via numerous methods, as doing so may result in the Home Office not receiving everything you have tried to submit.

step 6

Attend the visa centre appointment.

The applicant must attend the visa centre appointment (which will take place at the overseas visa centre selected as part of the online process).

The sponsor will not be expected to attend the visa centre appointment.

The purpose of the visa centre appointment is primarily for the applicant to provide their biometric data (i.e., record their fingerprints and have their photo taken).

For those who do not choose to self-upload their documentation (we generally recommend partners self-upload documentation), some partners will submit their supporting documentation at the visa centre.

Applicants are not interviewed at the visa centre.

In fact, the staff at the visa centre appointment are there for administrative purposes only – they should not affect the decision-making of the application.

For applications made from the USA

The process can deviate slightly from the standard process here.

Therefore, as is the case with all applications, it is crucial to follow the instructions provided to you as you progress through the application process.

step 7

Wait for the decision.

As discussed in our UK fiance visa processing time 2024 article, standard (non-priority) fiancé(e) visa applications take 2-3 months on average, while priority applications take 30 days on average.

Partners usually are sent the following email from TLS or VFS:

TLS email

Since this is a standard email that is sent out, please note that:

  • If you have already submitted the supporting documentation and followed the instructions provided by the Home Office, there is nothing else you need to do. This does not mean that the Home Office has not received your submitted documents.
  • The time you receive this email has no indication regarding what stage your application is (& therefore has no indication as to when you can expect the application to be processed).

Partners cannot contact the Home Office for regular updates.

As we discussed in our UK fiance visa processing time 2024 article, some partners can take action to try and expedite the application, but this can only realistically be done when 3 months has been exceeded for standard applications or if 30 working days has been exceeded for priority applications.

If you have not provided a particular document or documents (or if the documents provided do not satisfy the document-specific Immigration Rules), the Home Office may:

  • Email you to request the missing documentation (or Immigration Rules compliant documentation); or
  • Refuse the application.

step 8

The decision.

Applicants are usually sent an email once a decision has been made.

This email will either:

  • Notify you that the courier will send the passport to you; or
  • Notify that the passport is ready to be collected.

For partners who opted to keep their passport via the optional “Keep my passport” service, the email will typically request for the applicant’s passport to be returned so that they can insert the 6-month fiancé(e) visa vignette in the passport.

Unlike UK spouse visas, a decision letter will not be issued for fiancé(e) visa applications that have been granted.

step 9

Entering the UK.

Since successful fiancé(e) visa applicants will be issued a multiple entry six-month visa, the applicant can enter, leave and re-enter the UK at any time during the validity of the six-month visa.

Contrary to what is (incorrectly) stated elsewhere on the internet, applicants can leave and re-enter the UK after the marriage has taken place, as long as:

    • The fiancé(e) visa is valid on re-entry to the UK; and
    • The subsequent FLR M application has not been submitted and is pending.

When should we enter the UK?

While applicants can enter the UK at any time during the validity of the six-month fiancé(e) visa, partners are generally advised to enter within the first two or three months of the fiancé(e) visa’s validity period.

The reason for this is that you want to ensure that you give yourselves enough time to:

  • Give notice at the local registry office;
  • Get married; and
  • Prepare for the subsequent FLR M application.

step 10

The FLR M visa application.

The next step will be the FLR M visa application.

“When should the FLR M application be submitted?”

The FLR M visa application should be submitted:

  • After marrying; and
  • Before the six-month fiancé(e) visa expires.

There are no further time constraints relating to the submission of this application.

In fact, you may decide to submit the FLR M application sooner rather than later since:

  • The FLR M application will permit full access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) – since payment of the IHS will be required for the FLR M application.
  • Unlike the fiancé(e) visa, the FLR M visa will permit the applicant to work in the UK.
  • The applicant will obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) quicker since time spent in the UK on a fiancé(e) visa does not count towards the 5/10 year qualifying period for ILR.

The latest that you can submit the FLR M application is the expiry date stated on the six-month fiancé(e) visa vignette.

Due to what is known as Section 3C leave, as long as the application is submitted before the applicant’s fiancé(e) visa expires, the fiancé(e) visa will be automatically extended until a decision is made on the FLR(M) application – so the applicant will not need to leave the UK.


“Can we leave the UK while the FLR M application is being processed”

Please note that if the applicant leaves the UK while the FLR M application is being processed, the application will be considered withdrawn.

Therefore, if you anticipate that the applicant will need to leave the UK within eight weeks of submitting the FLR M application (or slightly longer if you wish to err on the side of caution), then you may want to consider the super-priority service, which will normally give partners a decision within one working day for an additional £1,000.

For more information about the FLR M application, we discuss this in detail in this detailed article and video here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will the applicant need a return ticket when they enter the UK?

Despite the fiancé(e) visa only being a six-month visa, since it is generally expected that partners will extend the visa (via submitting an FLR M application), applicants will not be expected to have a return ticket already booked.

What if the TB test has expired when the applicant enters the UK?

This is not something to worry about as the TB tests only need to be valid when the application is submitted (by paying the Home Office fees on the online application).

Will we need to satisfy the requirements for the visa application after the fiance visa?

Yes. While the genuine relationship requirement will be somewhat relaxed, the applicant must once again provide supporting documentation to show that the Immigration Rules are satisfied on the date that the next application is submitted.

Will a BRP be issued?

BRPs will not be provided to those who have been granted a UK fiance visa.

UK spouse visa full legal representation

Want help with your UK fiancé(e) visa application?

We are an OISC-regulated UK immigration law firm that has helped thousands of UK partners with their UK fiancé(e) and partner visa applications.

If you would like to receive a custom-tailored written guidance, including a detailed document checklist and set of letter templates, you may be interested in our £435 DIY Application Pack Service.

Alternatively, if you would like us to deal with your application from start to finish, we charge £2,250 for our Full Legal Representation Service. This service is primarily offered by Ed Lowe, Wendy Foy & Matthew French – all of whom have worked for the Home Office (the UK government department that will process your fiancé(e) visa application).

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