Guidance

Visa processing times: applications outside the UK

Check how quickly you’ll receive a decision on your UK visa application if you are applying from outside the UK.

You are not required to book any travel before you apply or before a decision is made on your application.

You should allow enough time before you plan travel to make a visa application. You will only receive a refund of your application fee if we have not started to process your application.

You may be able to pay for a faster decision on a visa application.

When your application processing time starts

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) starts processing your application once you either:

Applications made in the USA

If you make an appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center to provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information), you must then send your passport and documents to the VFS processing hub in New York.

If you make an appointment at a VFS premium Application Centre to provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information), you can submit your passport and supporting documents at that location.

In both cases, the processing time starts when VFS receive your application.

When your application processing time ends

You’ll get a letter or email to let you know that a decision has been made on your application.

If you attended a visa application centre, you should not visit one until you have been contacted to do so.

You do not need to contact UKVI to track your application if you’ve already made a visa application and it is still within the current processing times. We will not be able to provide information on the status of your application.

When you might wait longer

Your visa application may take longer to process if, for example:

  • the information in your application is not accurate or requires further consideration
  • you need to provide further evidence, for example evidence of funds
  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • further information is required on your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)
  • UKVI is experiencing increased visa demand

You will be contacted within the current processing times if your application will take longer.

If your application has taken longer than the current processing times and you haven’t been contacted by UKVI about your visa application, you should contact UKVI.

Current processing times

The processing times listed below are based on the current volume of visa applications.

All UK processing times are measured against agreed customer service standards.

Visit visas

Category Processing time
Standard Visitor 3 weeks
Marriage Visitor 3 weeks
Chinese tour group 3 weeks
Transit 3 weeks

Study visas

Category Processing time
Student 3 weeks
Child Student 3 weeks
Study English in the UK: Short-term student (6 to 11 month English language courses) 3 weeks

Family visas

Category Processing time
Partner or spouse 24 weeks  
Parent 24 weeks  
Child 24 weeks  
Adult coming to be cared for by a relative 24 weeks  

Ukraine visas

Category Processing time
Homes for Ukraine 3 weeks
Category Processing time
Skilled Worker 3 weeks  
Health and Care Worker 3 weeks  

Temporary work visas

Category Processing time
Government Authorised Exchange 3 weeks  
Charity Worker 3 weeks  
Creative Worker 3 weeks  
International Agreement 3 weeks  
Seasonal Worker 3 weeks  
Religious Worker 3 weeks  

Work visas you can apply for without a job offer

Category Processing time
Global Talent 3 weeks  
Youth Mobility Scheme 3 weeks  
India Young Professionals Scheme visa 3 weeks  
UK Ancestry 3 weeks  
High Potential Individual (HPI) 3 weeks  

Work visas to start a business

Category Processing time
Innovator Founder 3 weeks  
Start-up 3 weeks  

Work visas for an overseas employer

Category Processing time
Overseas Domestic Worker 3 weeks  
Graduate Trainee 3 weeks  
Secondment Worker 3 weeks  
Senior or Specialist Worker 3 weeks  
Representative of an Overseas Business 3 weeks  
Service Supplier 3 weeks  
UK Expansion Worker 3 weeks  

Other visas and permits

Category Processing time
British National (Overseas) 12 weeks  
International Sportsperson 3 weeks  
Minister of Religion 3 weeks  
Scale-up Worker 3 weeks  

Updates to this page

Published 22 May 2023
Last updated 9 July 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated to clarify contact process in the following sections: 'When your application processing time ends' and 'When you might wait longer'.

  2. Processing time and service standard for Permitted Paid Engagement removed, as it's now included as part of the Standard Visitor visa application.

  3. Amended processing time on the Ukraine visas.

  4. Clarified the information about short term study visas.

  5. Updated family visa processing times structure.

  6. First published.

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