Update on UK visa processing times for students planning to study abroad

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Update on UK visa processing times for students planning to study abroad
The length of time it takes to process a UK visa is starting to return to normal after a summer of significant delays.

The amount of time students planning to study abroad must wait for a decision while applying for a UK visa varies based on the type of visa they have applied for, whether they applied from outside the UK or within it, and whether they used any of the Home Office’s paid priority services. 

The Home Office has established typical processing times to provide study abroad aspirants with an idea of the anticipated delay time for the majority of simple applications. However, there are times when processing timeframes for visas may go above this goal, leaving applicants with substantially longer than usual wait times for a response.

This year, there have been significant delays in the processing of UK visas, primarily as a result of the increased demand for visas worldwide and the Home Office’s continued prioritisation of applications submitted through the Ukraine visa programmes. In total, this year’s Ukraine Family Scheme and Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme applications have reached over 250,000.

It is advised not to make any study abroad plans if students are applying for their UK visa from outside the country until their application has been processed. Visas for students and children are currently being handled within the required three weeks. However, the current processing time for short-term study visas is 5 weeks on average.

To switch to or extend a Student or Child Student visa, you should typically receive a decision within the service standard of 8 weeks if you are applying from within the United Kingdom. Study abroad aspirants are recommended to choose the Priority or Super Priority options, when available, if the UK visa application is urgent.

They will often hear back from Priority service within 5 business days. With Super Priority service, they will typically hear back by the end of the following business day. For new family visa applications, priority and super priority visa services have been temporarily discontinued. There is a decrease in the availability of the Priority visa service for applications for visiting visas.

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