< back

Priority service back for family visa applications saving months of waiting

9 January 2023

The UK’s Home Office has confirmed that priority services are resuming for family and partner visas to the UK.

This will allow those waiting to join family in the UK the option to pay extra to cut waiting times from the current six months.

The options of priority services for a whole variety of UK visas allowing applicants to pay for quicker decisions were suspended as Home Office staff responded to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine with new immigration schemes for those fleeing the conflict. (Priority services for in-country applications were not affected.) Waiting times for visa applications rose too as Home Office staff were diverted to handling applications by Ukrainians seeking sanctuary in the UK.

Work and business out-of-country priority services were the first to be reinstated from August 2022.

From today (9 January 2023) people with outstanding family visa applications have started receiving emails from the Home Office to let them know that the priority service will be reinstated.

These will be followed by emails targeting longest-waiting applicants first offering them an option to pay to upgrade to a Priority Visa. The Home Office says that this option will be rolled out to new applicants “in early 2023”.

The current published service standard – the wait for a decision on a family visa application is 24 weeks. The Home Office says it aims to reduce the wait to 12 weeks this year.

Family visa applicants will be given the opportunity to pay £573 each for a Priority Visa with a three-week turnaround (an improvement on what used to be a six-week service before the Ukraine war.)

Contact us to arrange a conversation to identify the most appropriate immigration options for you and your family or to talk through any issues you may need help with. For any questions on these and other immigration developments please contact us on +44(0)207 033 9527 or enquiries@vanessaganguin.com.