UK Visa Priority Services Suspended
Amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has taken the decision without prior notice to suspend priority and super-priority visa processing services for all applications being made from outside the UK.
Not only have the priority services been suspended, but the UKVI update says that “applications for study, work and family visas may take longer to process.”
This means that the most common visas sought by corporate employers, under the Skilled Worker and Intra-Company routes, could take more than three weeks. Standard visit visa applications are currently taking six weeks instead of the usual three.
Previously, UKVI offered priority services that would only take five working days when the priority service is paid for, or 24 hours in the case of super-priority.
Processing times for UK visa applications usually start once the applicant has attended their biometric appointment, or when using the UKVI’s visa processing app, once ID checks have been completed and the application is submitted.
At this stage, it is unclear whether UKVI will honour the priority or super-priority service for those applicants who have already purchased it when submitting their applications. Nor is it clear how long these services will be suspended.
UK Visa For Ukrainians
UKVI’s reason for the suspension is that it is “prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine.”
According to UKVI, as of 13 March, 17,100 Ukraine Family Scheme applications have been submitted and 4,000 visas have been granted, and that number is expected to increase very quickly.
The Home Office has confirmed that Ukrainian refugees who have passports will be able to use the online application system. This means they can verify their identity and submit an application without having to hand over their passports or attend a visa application centre in person.
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