• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

Exclusive: British High Commission responds to UK visa delays and offers solution

ByChad J. Johnson

Jun 12, 2022

Are you one of the many who have had a hard time waiting for your UK visa to arrive? Don’t worry, you are not alone, there are thousands around the world who have had to cancel their plans or spend sleepless nights waiting for their visa to be stamped. Two years after Covid halted travel plans, in-person attendance at family functions, seminars, graduation ceremonies and tourism, visa approvals are playing spoilsport.

In an exclusive chat with Live Mint, the British High Commission’s spokesperson apologized for the delays experienced by applicants and confirmed: “We are working urgently to reduce the current processing time as quickly as possible” .

Under normal circumstances, for non-establishment visa applications submitted outside the UK, 90% are decided within 3 weeks; 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks from the date of the request. But this time, the waiting time got longer.

In May, Ishita Jain had applied for a UK travel visa to attend her graduation ceremony scheduled for July, an event she had been waiting for two years. Now she doesn’t know if she’ll make it. “Due to covid restrictions my graduation ceremony has been canceled in 2020, I’m really looking forward to attending this year. But I don’t know if I will be able to as my visa application is pending always a confirmation,” she says.

He further added: “Indian students make up one of the largest groups of international students in the UK and Indian professionals are the top nationality in the skilled work category. This is why UK has its largest network of Visa Application Centers in the world here in India and why we continue to offer the priority and super priority visit visa service here – although it is suspended elsewhere.”

What are the priority and super priority services that only Indians can benefit from?

According to the UK Visa and Immigration website, outside the normal route, travelers can request Priority Service and Super Priority Service.

At the time of visa application, if an applicant can verify their identity at a visa application center, they can choose the “priority service‘ and a decision will be made within 5 working days of the nomination.

For super priority serviceAfter identity verification at a Visa Application Centre, UK Visas and Immigration aim to make a decision within one day and the passport is ready for collection by the end of the next working day.

The humanitarian crisis that emerged after the war in Ukraine, accompanied by a strong demand for international travel after the lifting of covid restrictions in many countries, led to a substantial increase in the number of requests. “The UK is prioritizing visa applications for Ukraine in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine. This adds to the unpredictable demand levels on all visa routes around the world , following the easing of travel restrictions to the UK As a result, applications for study, work and family visas are taking longer to process, with standard visitor visas currently taking an average of 6 weeks to process.” confirmed a spokesperson for the British High Commission.

“We are experiencing a high volume of visa applications coupled with limited availability of appointments and stretched visa processing times from India,” VFS Global spokesperson Soubhik Mitra told Live Mint.

In the given circumstances, what is the ideal deadline to apply for the visa?

The High Commission paused before giving a time frame relating to their individual applications, “We are unable to give clients a specific time frame relating to their individual application, therefore applicants should refer to the time page waiting for visa decision on gov.uk and keep in mind increased processing times when booking travel,” the spokesperson said.

Soon, the student visa application process will peak for those gaining admission to UK universities who expect to attend sessions from September.

“There are always a significant number of student visa applications in July and August, so we encourage student visa applicants to apply for the visa as early as possible to avoid any delays. We are working with the education sector and our business partners to get this important message across to students.”

So, for those who are planning to take a trip to England, it is advisable to start the visa process at the earliest and not to book a ticket until the visa is confirmed. Several have lost money due to this unprecedented delay and can only be avoided with better planning.

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