About our services

UK Visas and Immigration is responsible for decisions about who can come to the UK and who can stay here.

Service standards

If you apply to come to or remain in the UK, we want you to know that if your application is straightforward (for example, we can make a decision on it without asking you for more information) it will be decided within our processing times (our customer service standards). These are our customer service standards for applications made after 1 January 2014.

Customer group Processing time
Customers applying for a visa from outside the UK 90% of non-settlement applications within 3 weeks, 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks of the application date (where 1 week is 5 working days)
Customers applying for settlement from outside the UK. 95% of settlement applications within 12 weeks of the application date and 100% within 24 weeks of the application date (where 1 week is 5 working days)
Customers applying to remain on a temporary basis including as spouses, workers, Tier 1 general and entrepreneurs, students and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker 8 weeks (10 days priority postal and same day premium)
Organisations updating their sponsor licence details 18 weeks
Applications from individuals from Croatia who wish to live, study or work in the UK; individuals from Turkey applying under the European Community Association Agreement and right of abode; and from non-EEA national family members applying under the European regulations for a residence card or permanent residence card are usually decided within 6 months. 6 months
Customers applying in the UK for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) 6 months

Under the European regulations EEA nationals and their EEA national family members can choose to apply for a Registration Certificate or Document Certifying Permanent Residence as confirmation of their rights; however they are not obliged to do so. Decisions about applications are usually made as soon as possible following submission of the application, appropriate fee and proof that the EEA national has the right for residence.

If you applied before 1 January 2014, your application will be decided under the standards which were in force when it was submitted.

The service we offer

Our service standard processing times start when we receive your application and end when we send our decision to you. The times include registering your biometric information where needed at a participating Post Office.

When you apply:

  • our staff will be thorough and polite, and will treat you with dignity

  • our information will be in plain language and accurate

  • we will provide you with a detailed response to an enquiry

  • we will keep your personal details confidential and handle information about you in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 (we may need to share it with third parties but only if lawful and necessary)

What we need from you

To deal with your application within the service standards, we need you to make sure that:

  • your application is made before your current visa expires

  • your application is completed accurately, it is signed and dated and made on the correct form

  • if you are applying by post, you have included the payment and that any cheque is signed and dated for the full fee

  • you include original documents with your application

  • you include any required photographs

  • you provide evidence of funds to maintain yourself if required on the application form and guidance

  • you enrol your biometric information and respond to any requests for further information by the dates we ask you

If your application is straightforward, we will make a decision on it within the standard processing time. There is no need to ask us for progress on it.

If we can’t make a decision within the service standards

If there is a problem with your application or if it is complex, we will write to explain why it will not be decided within the normal standard. We will write within the normal processing time for the 8 week standard and within 12 weeks for the 6 month standard. The letter will explain what will happen next.

Customer charter

Our customer charter sets out the service UK Visas and Immigration aims to provide its customers and what it expects from them.