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How to Track your UK Visa Application Status

Note: If we are not your lawyers who represented your case or applied for your visa, we cannot help you to check your visa application status unfortunately. Please contact UKVI (Home Office) for your visa status enquiries. For more information, please find in this content.

Having worked with thousands of UK immigration clients from around the world over many years, we know just how nerve-wracking it can be to wait for the outcome of a visa application. In this article, we are going to discuss how to check the progress of your application, what to expect when a decision is made, why some applications can be delayed, and what you can do if you receive a rejection of your application.

How will you know if your visa is approved?

You will receive a communication from UK Visas and Immigration regarding whether your visa has been approved or denied, typically in the form of a letter, a text message, and/or email.

If you are outside of the UK, you will receive a sticker (called a “vignette”) that allows you to travel to the UK. Your vignette will contain:

  • The type of visa you have been issued
  • The start and end dates of your visa
  • The conditions of your visa (e.g. whether you can work).

If you submitted your passport during your application process, you will receive it back with the vignette inside, or if you kept your passport after application, you will need to return to your local immigration centre to receive your vignette. The vignette needs to go into your passport, and you will need to present it on your arrival in the UK. For those planning to stay in the UK for longer than six months, you will have 10 days to collect your Biometric Residence Permit. Where you collect your Biometric Residence Permit from will depend on where you specified in your application.

If you are applying from the UK, then you should receive a letter or email that confirms that your application is approved. Once approved, your Biometric Residence Permit should arrive with you by courier within 7 - 10 days of receiving your decision letter. If your Biometric Residence Permit does not arrive, you must report it lost to UKVI, so they may issue another permit.

In all cases, when waiting for a visa decision, we highly recommend checking your email “spam” folder for any emails from the Home Office. We have seen many cases whereby applicants have received a decision, but they were unaware because the email was not showing in their “inbox” folder.

The process of checking the progress of your UK visa application will depend on whether you applied from inside or outside the UK, as we explain below.

Checking UK visa applications made outside the UK

If you applied for your UK visa from outside the UK, you will not be able to check the progress of your application online, but you can contact UKVI for an update.

The UKVI contact centre in the UK can assist with any of the following types of queries:

  • General queries about applying for a visa to come to the UK
  • Questions about the progress of your application
  • Technical problems with your application
  • Made a mistake in your online application
  • Problems logging into your account or with your password
  • Problems with making a payment to UKVI online or pending payments

There are two main methods of contacting the UKVI contact centre: 1) submitting an online query or 2) phoning UKVI.

  • Submitting an online query outside the UK

You can email your enquiry to the UKVI contact centre1, however, to do so, you will first need to pay a small fee of £2.74 online2. This fee covers your initial email and any following emails on the same matter. UKVI explains that you will need a credit or debit card to use this service and that you will need to enter your payment details before sending your message.

Responses to email enquiries should be received from UKVI within 5 working days.

  • Phoning the UKVI contact centre
    • Telephone: +44 (0)300 790 6268 (or +44 (0)203 875 4669 if you cannot dial 0300 numbers) and select option 1
    • Monday to Friday, 24 hours
    • Calls cost 69 pence per minute on top of your standard network charges

Checking UK visa applications made inside the UK

For an update on an application made inside the UK, you can phone UKVI using the following details:

  • Telephone: 0300 790 6268 - select option 1, then option 2
  • Monday to Thursday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:45pm
  • Friday (excluding bank holidays), 9am to 4:30pm

What do you need to provide to track your UK visa status?

To track your visa status with UKVI, you may be asked for some or all of the following information:

  • Your case reference number or case ID (this is a number provided when you submitted your application)
  • Payment Reference Number – you will have received this when paying your application fee
  • Unique application number – this is provided on correspondence from UKVI
  • Your Biometric Residence Permit Number – if you have one.

All of this information will be included in your correspondence or emails from UKVI.

Reasons for a UK visa decision delay

The Home Office publishes average processing times3 for each type of visa they handle. Applications that are straightforward and where all information and payments have been provided will typically be processed within this standard timescale (or within the 1 or 5 working day timescale if you use the priority or super-priority / premium services)

Applications may be delayed for a number of reasons, including:

  • Due to the complexity of the application
  • Where more information or supporting documentation is required before a decision can be made
  • A large backlog of applications at the UKVI process centre
  • You are required to attend an interview to verify supporting documents or to provide more details before a decision can be made
  • Due to certain aspects of your history (e.g. criminality).
  • Where there is a discrepancy found in the details provided (e.g. where you have declared a certain income, but this differs from the information held by HMRC).

Can I speed up my visa application decision process?

In many cases, delays can be avoided by engaging the services of an immigration solicitor who is well versed in spotting issues that may give rise to problems and which need to be dealt with in the initial application submission.

If you need a faster decision on your visa application than the standard processing time, it is always best to use one of UKVI’s enhanced services. Depending on the type of visa application and where you are located, you may have the option of using the priority application service, which provides a decision within 5 working days for an additional cost of £500. You may also be able to use the super-priority service, which provides a decision within 1 working day for an additional cost of £800.

Details on these services and whether these can be used for your visa type and location can be found on the UKVI website4.

What to do if your UK visa application is rejected?

If your application is refused, the letter or email you receive will explain the reasons why and the options now available to you, including whether you can appeal or bring an Administrative Review if you believe an error has been made by UKVI.

In any event, we recommend speaking to a specialist immigration lawyer if you receive a refusal on your application. Depending on your circumstances, instead of appealing or lodging an Administrative Review, they may recommend submitting a new application, applying for a different type of visa or immigration status (such as Indefinite Leave to Remain), or even applying for a Judicial Review (challenging the legal basis for decision in court).

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Reiss Edwards have a wealth of experience in guiding individuals and businesses, including some of the world’s largest multinationals, through the end-to-end process of gaining UK visas – whether for work, family, business, investment, or for any other purpose. Our team of specialist immigration Solicitors can:

  • Secure the immigration status of you and your children
  • For businesses, advise on work visa and sponsor licence strategy
  • Quickly review your case and explain all of your options
  • Deal with the Home Office throughout the application process
  • Review your visa application prior to submission
  • Handle your visa application on your behalf
  • Handle appeals, Administrative Reviews and Judicial Reviews on your behalf, ensuring you have the very best chance of success.


1 GOV.UK: Help with your visa application or other problems

2 GOV.UK: Contact UK Visas and Immigration from outside the UK

3 GOV.UK: Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK

4 GOV.UK: Get a faster decision on your visa or settlement application

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