When do I need my visa?
Visa requirements and processing times vary depending on where you wish to travel. If your country of origin has a visa agreement with the destination country, you may not need to obtain a visa in advance. If your home country of residence does not have a reciprocal visa agreement with your destination, you must obtain a visa before departure.
The standard recommendation is to submit your visa application three months before your planned travel date for visit visas, and the same timescale applies before your employment start date for work visas.
Application processing time can significantly determine when to apply and when to make travel plans. Visa processing times vary significantly depending on factors such as the type of visa requested, the country you wish to travel to, or embassy or consulate where the application is made, and the applicant’s personal circumstances and eligibility.
Visa processing times have not yet returned to pre-COVID levels, with numerous in-country and out-of-country applications experiencing processing delays due to “ongoing events in Ukraine and an unusually ‘high global demand for visas’. Therefore, visa applicants should inquire about the current processing times for their specific application type and country of destination.
Typically, the processing date commences after the applicant has attended their biometric appointment or after all ID checks have been completed and the visa application has been submitted.
Not applicable to the issuance of Biometric Residence Permits (BRP). Typically, the BRP is received between 7 and 14 business days after the application decision.
In particular, the United Kingdom has reported that processing times for out-of-country applications exceed the 3-week customer service standard, providing the following timeframes:
- Work visa processing takes four weeks on average;
- Visit visa processing takes six weeks on average;
- Student visa applications are processed in accordance with each country’s service standards.
UKVI announced in June that it could take up to 24 weeks to process certain family applications made outside the United Kingdom, such as joining a family member in the United Kingdom. Numerous nations across the globe have adopted similar policies. Sometimes, it takes weeks to process visa applications for dependent children and spouses than for principal Skilled Worker visa applicants. The processing time for other types of applications, including transit visas, is also six weeks.
Visa processing times vary significantly worldwide based on the time of year and the consular and diplomatic workload; travelers are advised to check well in advance of their trips.
Additional security and background checks are typically required for visa applications due to citizenship, ties to specific countries, or field of study. The processing of these additional clearance checks may take weeks or even months. There is no way to circumvent or accelerate this procedure.