UK visa priority services suspended amid Ukraine crisis

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Amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has suspended priority and super-priority UK visa processing services for all applications being made outside Britain. A UKVI announcement stated that ‘priority and super-priority applications for family, study and work visas have bene suspended’.


This means that the most common UK visas sought by applicants, including employers looking to secure visas under the skilled worker visa and intra-company transfer visa routes, could take up to three weeks to process – instead of the five working days it takes for priority processing or 24 hours for super-priority applications.

Meanwhile, standard UK visit visa applications are currently taking up to six weeks to process compared to the usual three. Processing times for UK visa applications often start once an applicant has attended a biometric appointment or, when using the UKVI’s processing app, ID checks have been completed and an application is submitted.


Current applications

It’s not yet known whether current priority and super-priority applications will be processed by UKVI or whether a refund will be issued. UKVI also hasn’t disclosed how long the suspension of services will last.

A UKVI statement said: “The reason for the suspension is that we are prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to UKVI data, more than 8,000 UK visas have been issued to Ukrainians, but numbers are expected to rise even more.

The Home Office recently confirmed that Ukrainian refugees who have a passport will be able to access the Ukraine Family Scheme online. This means that those displaced from their homeland will be able to verify their identity and submit an application without having to hand over their passports or attend a UK visa application centre in person.

This will free application centre to staff to focus specifically on Ukrainian nationals arriving in the UK without a passport.


Employers warned

However, while the suspension of UK priority and super-priority processing services is for a good cause, British employers are being warned that there will be many non-Ukrainian applicants across the world with urgent applications who are currently unable to use priority and super-priority services.

Unfortunately, this will lead to delayed start dates and affect recruitment plans for employers. Meanwhile, many will be without their passports for weeks on end, with no guarantee over when their applications will be processed and approved or when their passports will be returned to them.

It’s understood that priority services for applications made within the UK are still available, but this could change at any moment.

In a Twitter post, the British embassy in India said: “UKVI are unable to offer updates on individual cases and please do not attend the VAC until you have been invited to do so. In cases of emergency please contact for help. Please note that this is a chargeable service.” can help with Sponsor Licences

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