Mitigate the delay in UK Spouse Visa, Fiance Visa and other family visa applications
The family visa applications including UK Spouse Visa Application as well as UK Fiance Visa Applications are taking considerable time to get a decision from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The processing time was increased from 12 weeks to 24 weeks, an increase of 12 weeks, equivalent to 100% compared to then processing time. Premium Services (such as priority and super priority services) were suspended in Mar 2022 and have not been restored at the time of writing this article. We always let our clients know all available services at the time of application submission so that they can make an informed decision and choose the service they need.
In normal circumstances, there is no way to speed up the progress of the visa application unless there are exceptional and compelling circumstances. In the past, we did make requests on behalf of the clients to fast track the application and they were honoured by the Home Office on a case to case basis.
Affects of a Refused UK Visa Applications
1. Families forced to live apart
Keeping in view of the long processing time, this becomes even more important that visas and immigrations are well prepared, leaving no stone unturned to avoid delays and disappointment if application is refused after waiting 6 months. Family members may have to live apart from each other between 9 months- 2 years, depnding on the complexity of the case and other factors such as a fresh applicaiton or appeal.
2. Loss of Money- £2000- 10,000
A refused application can cost thousands of pounds in terms of non-refundable visa fees, solicitor fees, biometrics appointment fee, TB test and English test. TB Test reports are valid for 6 months and English tests have a validity period of 2 years.
For example, partners living apart will have to pay for rent on both properties in two different counties as well bills. Comparing this with a situation, where partners are together, they will live together. Even joining a partner as soon as possible also means that the joining spouse can also contribute financially and mitigate the financial stretch caused by high UK visa fees and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The IHS currently stands at £624 per year for an adult for UK family visa applications.
3. Loss of time- 9 Months- 2 Years
In addition to the wasted money, time is also of essence where families are unable to join. This can cause mental stress and anxiety as well as financial stress which in turn can affect the relationship.
4. Appeals are expensive
Appeals in First Tier Tribunal can take from months to years (as recently had due to Pandemic) and cost £1000s. Barrister and Solicitors fee are in thousans. Even after spending too much time and money, there is no guarantee that appeal will be successful. Therefore, ideally one should prepare their visa application in best possible way, in the first instance, to avoid disappointment.
5. Adverse Immigration history
A refused UK visa application will create an adverse immigration history which is most likely to affect the future UK visa applications.
Steps you can take to avoid delays and refusal of UK Family visa applications
- Prepare the application in best possible way.
- Provide as much information as possible for the visa officer to understand your visa application. Remember, unnecessary information and document cluttering can cause delays, even refusal where too much information is provided. This is due to the obvious reason that more information has more chances of having contradictions. A balance should be struck between the minimum and maximum.
- Make sure that all requirements of the immigration rules are met.
- Do not hide or conceal the information and provide the information as accurately as possible. Though accepting something blatantly could damage the case, this can be addressed using the most appropriate words and plausible explanation.
- Start collecting the information and documents well on time. We suggest doing so between 6 to 9 months, before submission of the visa application.
- Documents should be legible and in the prescribed format. The UK Home Office has strict regulations on the required documents.
- Do not blindly follow the system generated list of documents as most of the time, the list is not exhaustive. The onus is on the applicant to provide all required documents and information.
- Documents not in English should be accompanied by Certified English Translation.
For any UK visa application, if you find it challenging to do the application yourself then only take help from a registered and professional UK visa firm.