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Published 3 November 2022
This short guide contains a number of questions and answers which we are commonly asked and has been prepared to share good practice and know-how for visa applicants. We will update this from time to time to help visa applicants better understand the visa process in the UK.
Please note that due to the complexity of UK immigration law, this guide is not intended as advice for individual applicants and must not be relied on as advice. If you would like advice on your individual situation, you will need to contact an appropriately qualified professional.
It is good practice when submitting a UK visa application to have at least 6 months validity left in your passport. It can usually take some time to prepare your application so if by the point of submission of the application you will have less than 6 months left, it is good practice to renew your passport beforehand.
Generally, you should have at least one page which is clear on both sides of any stamps, markings or comments.
Generally, you should not travel whilst your application is pending with the Home Office. If you do need to travel, it may be possible to arrange this in certain situations. However, this will depend on where you are applying from, what you are applying for and the reason for the travel.
If you are located outside the UK, you can apply from a country where you hold citizenship or can live in for more than six months (other than as a visitor). There are some exceptions to this for some visa categories such as the Global Talent visa.
If you are located inside the UK, you will only be able to apply from within the UK if you already hold a type of visa which allows you to switch immigration categories without leaving the UK.
The prospects of success with your current application will depend on whether you meet the legal requirements of the current application. However, if a previous application contained false information, false documents or material information was not disclosed, this could impact on the current application.
There are no guaranteed processing times as some applications are more complex than others. However, there are premium services available in different countries which offer quicker processing times.
Generally speaking, applications from within the UK take 4 to 8 weeks to process. Applications submitted from outside the UK can take 8 to 12 weeks to process. Some visa categories take much longer such as long residence applications, partner visa applications with complex or voluminous financial evidence and discretionary applications.