The UK Border Agency on 15 January 2009 published their first guide to visa processing standards and service standards.
Those applying for a visa will be able to find out information on likely processing times for their visa application. This information is updated every month based on the latest information on processing times for each visa application.
The UK Border Agency is also publishing standards for visa customer service processing times. This provides information on targets for processing each application from when it is submitted to completion.
UKBA has already introduced biometric enrolment for all visa applicants and has expanded the network of visa application centres run by commercial partners VFS Global and WorldBridge Service.
The following are the agreed standards:
- To complete 90% of straightforward*, non-settlement applications in not more than 5 working days, 98% in not more than 10 working days, and 100% in not more 60 days
- To complete 90% of non-straightforward**, non-settlement applications in not more than 15 working days, 98% in not more than 30 working days and 100% in not more than 60 working days
- To complete 95% of applications for settlement visas in not more than 12 weeks (60 working days) and 100% in not more 120 working days.
* A straightforward application can be decided on the basis of the application and the supporting documents submitted without the need for further enquiries or more detailed scrutiny.
** A non-straightforward application requires more time to be decided, for example if more detailed enquiries or a personal interview are needed
UKBA says that the agreed standards may change due to operational changes, changes in Government policy, etc.