The UK Visit Visa application process can take longer than 15 working days – Sad truth.
My mother wished to come to UK before my son’s birthday so we applied for a visa one month before that day thinking that she may get the visa in just 10 working days (like it did when she applied for one in 2017). We applied for a standard visit visa stating she wishes to come to UK on the 10th of August. The following is the timeline of the visa application process.
July 20th – The date of her appointment in VFS Manila
August 3rd – I saw somebody’s post on Facebook that she just got her tourist visa that day and her VFS appoint was a day before my mum’s. That means she received hers after 10 working days so I expected that my mum’s visa will be delivered to her very soon.
August 10th – 15 working days have passed, which was the usual number of days as declared by the UKGOV, but my mum’s visa never arrived. I asked my sister to call VFS Manila to get an update but she was advised that in some cases, visa application can take up to 30 days.
August 18th – My son’s birthday celebration has already passed and my mum still had no visa. It has been 20 working days. We thought they might be taking a closer look at it because it’s going to be her second time to come to the country. We never got a message that recognises the receipt of her documents, which should have happened so I was worried that they might have lost her passport on the way so we decided to take the option to contact UKVI even though that would cost us extra money.
August 22nd – 33 days since she submitted her documents to VFS Manila, we opted for the option to contact UKVI. As advised in the website https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk/y/outside-the-uk/english we chose to send them an email because calling them would surely cost us a fortune. This is how much it costs to contact UKVI.
You can call or email English-speaking staff with a question about your application.
Telephone: 00 44 203 481 1736
Monday to Friday, 24 hours
Calls cost £1.37 per minute on top of your standard network charges.
Email UK Visas and Immigration.
Each enquiry costs £5.48. This cost includes your initial email plus any follow-up emails you send relating to the same enquiry. You’ll need a credit or debit card to use this service. You’ll enter your payment details before sending your message, but you won’t be charged until your message has been sent.
We got a response from them on the same day but they were just asking for more information about the visa application (which we already provided in the initial e-mail).
August 23rd – I sent a follow-up email but received exactly the same e-mail I got a day before but sent by a different person so I thought that would be a waste of time! I gave up on it and thought I’ll just wait a little more patiently.
August 24th – My mum received the text message that the decision on her visa application has been made. I lost hope to bring her here over the weekend because I thought that the earliest chance that it’ll be delivered to her would be on Tuesday for the coming Monday is a bank holiday.
August 25th – Fortunately, her visa was delivered on Saturday at 6pm! Once the visa was received, we booked her flight to London on the morning of Sunday, 26th.
It took a total of 36 calendar days until my mum got her passport back. I personally believe that contacting the UKVI did not help to speed the decision process. As it arrived only 1 day later, it was just coincidence that we emailed them. My mum was just part of the unlucky 1% of applicants who got their visas longer than 15 working days. All we received through the e-mail services were generic messages that confirms “the application is being considered and currently awaiting decision”. No information as to why it took so long. My advice for future applicants, apply three months before your intended travel and not until the last minute if you can if you have a date you need to arrive in the UK.