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Good news from the UK Home Office: Priority visas resume cutting months off waiting times.

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As UK visa waits drop, priority visas resume for families cutting months off waiting times

By Vanessa Ganguin, Managing Partner, Vanessa Ganguin Immigration Law

Good news from the UK Home Office as visa waiting times impacted by the reaction to the Ukraine conflict return to normal.

Priority Visas – the option to pay extra to cut waiting times – were suspended as UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) staff worked on bespoke immigration routes for those fleeing the war in Ukraine. Waiting times for visa applications rose too as UKVI staff were diverted to handling over 250,000 applications from Ukrainians seeking sanctuary in the UK.

Waiting times are coming back down, and priority services to speed up work and business visa waits were the first to be reinstated from August 2022. Now the Home Office has announced that priority services are also resuming for family and partner visas this month (January). This will drastically reduce the wait for those waiting for around six months to join family members in the UK.

People with outstanding family visa applications have started receiving emails from UKVI explaining that priority services are returning. Emails will be sent to the longest-waiting applicants first offering an option to pay to upgrade to a Priority Visa. According to the Home Office, this option will be rolled out to new applicants by “early 2023.” Family visa applicants will be able to pay £573 for a Priority Visa with a three-week turnaround (an improvement on what used to be a six-week service before the Ukraine war.)

The current service standard for a decision on a family visa application is 24 weeks. UKVI aims to reduce this wait to 12 weeks in 2023. (These are standard service times – you might wait longer for a decision if your application is not straightforward and more information is required before a decision is made.)

For any more details on visa options and waiting times, contact us on +44(0)207 033 9527 or


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