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Waiting times for visa applications made in the UK

Waiting times for visa applications made in the UK

In typical Home Office fashion, years after it should have been issued, we now have some generic guidance on visa decision waiting times for applications inside the UK. Until now, we only ever had waiting times for applications outside the UK.

The standard processing time for most applications is eight weeks, with faster processing times for Start-up and Health and Care visas (three weeks) and those who choose to pay for the priority service (five working days if you pay £500; next working day for £800). There are longer processing times (six months) for settlement applicants and those making No Time Limit applications to replace their biometric residence permit (I always wonder why the latter takes so long).

Experience shows that eight weeks is perhaps slightly optimistic in the current climate. Many applicants over the last year have spent months waiting on straightforward applications because of lockdowns causing a significant shortage of appointments at the Sopra Steria visa application centres. Some are still waiting many weeks to secure appointments (at extravagant prices on top of the application fees).

We also now seem to have a definitive intention to offer priority service as it was pre-Covid. It will be interesting to see whether the Home Office can deliver on the timescales.

Bilaal is an incoming devil at the Faculty of Advocates. He has a broad practise in public law and commercial dispute resolution. Bilaal was formerly Head of Court of Session Litigation at a boutique litigation firm in Edinburgh dealing with a variety of public law and commercial disputes. In that role, he had a significant judicial review practise encompassing immigration, regulatory, oil and gas, and electoral disputes. He acted as Edinburgh Agent in the Court of Session for firms across Scotland, particularly in urgent applications for interim interdict in the immigration sector. His private law practise encompassed professional negligence actions, general civil litigation, and complex adoption applications. He was also previously a solicitor in the Insurance, Financial and Professional Disputes team in the Edinburgh office of a leading international law firm. In that role, he worked closely within a Band 1 rated team on a broad spectrum of professional negligence and commercial dispute resolution work in the Sheriff Courts and Court of Session in Scotland primarily defending professional indemnity claims for a variety of individuals and organisations, including accountants, brokers, engineers, surveyors, and construction professionals on behalf of some of the UK’s biggest insurers. His practise encompassed contractual disputes, shipping, insolvency and debt recovery involving individuals and companies. Bilaal was also involved in advising and representing a core participant in the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry. As well as being a tutor on the Public Law and Individual Rights and Public Law of the UK and Scotland courses at the University of Edinburgh, Bilaal has been a guest lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University in immigration law. An experienced decision-maker, Bilaal is currently a member of the Football Association’s National Serious Case Panel where he adjudicates on all types of serious disciplinary cases within grassroots football. He also sits on the Appeals and Reviews sub-committee of the Law Society of Scotland to consider appeals lodged against decisions made by regulatory sub-committees. He previously sat on the Immigration & Asylum Law sub-committee where he assisted in authoring responses to consultations and commenting on draft immigration legislation and on the Rights of Audience sub-committee where he assisted in deciding applications for extended rights of audience in the Scottish courts. He regularly trains and presents on various topics to students and legal professionals including on litigation procedure and practice. Bilaal is an Affiliate Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and a member of the Contentious Trusts Association (ConTrA). He is studying towards a Diploma in Islamic Finance with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.