Processing Times for UK Visas in 2024

UK Visa Processing Timelines -UK Immigration solicitors

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) publishes service guidelines outlining expected processing times for UK visa applications, along with up-to-date information on how long it takes to handle immigration applications from both inside and outside the UK.

This guide equips you with all the essential information. We’ll break down the Home Office’s official processing timeframes, so you know what to expect. Dive deeper into current wait times for different visa types. Plus, explore options to potentially expedite your application, and learn how to address any delays or file a complaint if needed. By the end, you’ll be a UK visa wait time pro!

How Long Does It Take? 

Getting a sponsor license usually takes less than 8 weeks from the time the application is sent to the Home Office. There may be delays, though, like if there are problems with the paperwork you send in with your application, which could make the process take longer.

You should think about how long it will take to get a sponsor licence because it could affect how you hire people. If getting your licence takes longer than expected, you might not be able to hire the person on time and could lose them to another company.

Applying for sponsor licences carries the risk of rejection. This means that the group will have to start the application process all over again, which will cost more money and take longer than planned to get the advertising licence.

The best way for your company to get its sponsor licence on time is to make sure that your application is properly prepared.

Sponsor Licence Processing Time

The normal working time for this service is 8 weeks. If this wait time is too long for your business, you might be able to get your licence in 10 days with the pre-priority service or fast-track choice.

Pre-licence Priority Service Guidance (Accessible):

Organisations may pay an extra price to speed up their online application submission and prioritise their sponsor licencing application via the pre-licence priority service.

This service promises that your application will be looked at within ten business days, but it doesn’t promise that it will be accepted.

Eligibility criteria for the pre-licence priority service

For now, applications for the following lines are not qualified for priority service:

  • GBM UK Expansion Worker
  • GBM Service Supplier
  • GBM Secondment Worker
  • Scale-up Worker
  • Government Authorised Exchange
  • International Agreement
  • Seasonal Worker

People whose applications include at least one of these lines will not be able to ask for special service.

To be eligible for this service:

  • You must have registered and filled out the online application form on the Home Office website to apply for a support licence through one or more of the qualifying routes.
  • You need to have paid the application fee and the priority service fee.
  • Please send your application form along with all the required and extra papers for the work routes you want to take, as listed in Appendix A, to SponsorshipValidations@homeoffice.gov.uk.
  • after paying the fast service fee, you have 5 business days to send in your application or
  • Adding priority service to an existing application requires prior submission of all necessary documents.
  • You can only add the priority service to an application that has already been sent in. The application must not be in the process of being processed.

How to apply

Details on how to apply for a sponsor licence can be found in Part 1 of the Workers and Temporary Workers – advice for sponsors document.

These services are offered to qualified forms sent between 9 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding vacations.

Every day, all qualified lines can handle up to 30 urgent service calls.

How to Fast-Track Your Sponsor Licence Application

If eligible, you may request priority service when applying for a sponsor licence and pay the priority service cost with your application fee. Your submission sheet will show payment confirmation.

Subject to eligibility, you may request priority service after submitting your application and paying your application cost. Return to your sponsor application account using your username and password and click ‘Finish incomplete applications’.

Remember your login ID and password because if you forget them, you can’t log in to request priority service.

You will get a separate submission form confirming your payment for expedited service after paying your application cost. We do not require this submission sheet via email.

You may not be able to request priority service for numerous reasons:

  • you applied for an ineligible route
  • You have exceeded our daily request limit, 
  • submitted your application outside of service hours
  • or you have ongoing applications

Processing times

Eligible people will have their requests for priority service looked at within 10 business days.

The 10 working day time starts on the business day after the day you paid the priority service fee and doesn’t include weekends or public holidays. Let’s say you pay for the priority service on Monday. The 10 working days will start on Tuesday, which is also a working day.

Within 10 business days, we might not be able to make a decision if:

  • You haven’t turned in all the required and extra papers.
  • after paying the fast service fee, within 5 business days 
  • When you send in your application or
  • You have not already sent these papers if you are adding the priority service to an application that you have already sent.
  • There was a request for more information that you didn’t answer.
  • To evaluate your case, we need to do some more checks.

We will email the authorising person if we can’t meet the service agreement for an urgent application. Because of this, please make sure that the person giving permission regularly checks their email, even junk mail.
If the service deal isn’t being followed because

  • You haven’t turned in all the required and extra papers.
  • You have not replied to a request for more information.
  • Our review of your case is taking longer than expected because it involves a lot of complicated problems.

We are not going to give you back your priority service fee.

  • You can request a refund for your priority service fee if the delay in your case review is due to reasons beyond standard processing procedures, such as a technical issue.
  • The person whose name is on the licence application will get an email telling them the result of your application.


The fee for the priority service is £500 per request.

How to Get a Sponsor Licence:

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) grants Sponsorship Licences to British businesses. These licenses empower them to hire skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. Let me tell you how to get it and what it’s for:


What is UKVI ‘Skilled Worker visa’ processing times?

Skilled Worker Visa Processing Times:

  • Outside the UK: Typically within 3 weeks after biometrics are submitted. 
  • Inside the UK: Generally within 8 weeks. However, due to high demand, it might take an average of 9 weeks currently. 

What is the processing time for a sponsorship visa?

Processing times for sponsorship visas (Tier 2 General) are the same as Skilled Worker visas:

  • Outside the UK: 3 weeks after biometrics.
  • Inside the UK: 8 weeks, with a possible extension to 9 weeks currently.

How long does it take to get tier 2 visa after biometrics?

Submitting biometrics doesn’t guarantee a specific processing time. The complexity of your application and any necessary additional checks determine the processing timeframe. 

How long does it take to get a COS for the UK Tier 2 general?

The time to get a COS depends on your sponsor’s organization. However, there’s no set timeframe, so it’s best to inquire with your sponsor directly.

Duration for a UK spouse visa application and processing times in India

Standard processing for settlement on a work or business route (including spouse visas) generally takes within 6 months.

Timeframe for UK dependent, Tier 1, and student visas

Dependent, Tier 1, and Student Visas: Processing times can vary depending on the visa type and your location. Check the UK government website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-processing-times-applications-outside-the-uk) for the latest estimates.

Sponsorship for student visas in the UK

There’s no sponsorship program for student visas in the UK. However, some universities may require a financial sponsor to support your living expenses.

Applying for a working visa in the UK as a foreigner

The process for applying for a working visa depends on the specific visa type you need. Skilled Worker visas are a common option, but there might be other categories suitable for your situation. It’s recommended to check the UK government website for details: https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa

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