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Customer Service Standards

We aim to provide clear and accurate information to customers about our levels of service.

Our agreed customer service standards are:

Visa application processing times

Non-Settlement applications

To complete 90 per cent of visa applications (except settlement categories), in not more than three weeks, 98 per cent in six weeks and 100 per cent in 12 weeks.

Settlement applications

To complete 95 per cent of applications for settlement visas in not more than 12 weeks and 100 per cent in not more 24 weeks. 

The processing time begins when the UK Border Agency or one of our commercial partners (VFS Global and WorldBridge), has received your completed application form, with your passport and supporting documents, your biometrics registration and the relevant application fee. It ends after a decision has been taken on your application and your passport is available for collection.

Please see our guide to visa processing times for the most up to date information on the time taken to process visa applications. The information is given for every visa application centre worldwide, by visa category. We update this information each month.

Biometric appointments

Where you are required to make an appointment to give your biometrics, our aim is to offer you an appointment that takes place within one week of you requesting it. See the report below on our performance against this target.

  Biometric appointment report October 2010

For information about the biometric process please see our page on Biometric data collection for visa applicants.


Allowed appeals

In the event that your application is refused and you exercise your right of apeal, our appeal service standard applies.

We aim to conclude 90 per cent of all applications where the appeal has been allowed by an Immigration Judge, no more than eight weeks from the date when the Visa Section which processed the application receives the official copy of the determination from the UK Border Agency.  For more information about the appeals process, please see our Appeals guide.


We may need to change these standards without prior notice due to exceptional circumstances, changes in government policy or for operational reasons.

More information on our standards is available on our list of frequently asked questions.



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