Visa Application Delays Explained | Why Are Visa Processing Times Being Delayed?


Common Reasons For Applicants Visa Application Delays 

Visa application delays can be a common occurrence in the process of obtaining a UK visa, which can leave many applicants confused and unsure about their future. The reasons behind these delays can range from the Home Office’s workload to external events, as well as initial mistakes made in the applications themselves. In this guide, we aim to break down and simplify the reasons behind visa application delays and provide practical advice for those affected.


At Primus Solicitors, we understand the stress that can come with waiting for a visa application result. Any delays in an application can disrupt personal and business plans and, in some cases, keep families apart for longer than anticipated, but by learning about the most common causes of these delays and offering solutions, we hope to inform applicants on how to minimise the risk of a Home Office Time Delay.


Processing Times for Both In Country & Out of Country Applications

The time it takes to process a visa application varies significantly based on the type of application and whether it’s submitted from inside or outside the UK. For example, spouse entry clearance applications made from outside the UK typically have a standard processing time of 60 working days, while further leave to remain (FLR M) applications from within the UK can take up to 2 to 3 months.

Expedited processing options are available for an additional cost, however, the processing times that are detailed are not guaranteed. Furthermore, if an application isn’t decided in the expedited time frame there is no option for a refund. It’s crucial for applicants to understand these standard processing times and the factors that might extend them.


A significant portion of visa application delays can be initially caused by issues with the application itself. Mistakes made by applicants or incomplete submissions can significantly extend decision processing times, which can cause frustration and uncertainty. Some of the most common applicant-related errors that lead to delays are as follows:

  • Wrong Forms Submitted: Choosing the incorrect application form can lead to immediate delays, as the Home Office will need to request the correct documentation.
  • Missing Information: Failing to fill out all required fields in the application form can halt the process until the missing information is provided.
  • Lack of Required Documents: Not submitting all necessary documents, or submitting documents that do not meet the Home Office’s standards, can significantly delay processing.
  • Failure to Respond to Home Office Communication: If the Home Office requires additional information or clarification and does not receive a timely response, the application process can be delayed.
  • Not Updating Contact Details: If applicants change their contact details during the application process and fail to notify the Home Office, they may miss crucial updates or requests for additional information.


How You Can Mitigation Potential Delays

Issue Strategy
Incorrect or Incomplete Form Double-check the form and its requirements against the official Home Office guidance before submission.
Missing Information Compile a checklist of required information and documents before starting the application to ensure nothing is overlooked.
Insufficient Documentation Review the Home Office’s documentation standards and examples to ensure all documents meet the required criteria.
Communication Issues Regularly check email (including spam folders) for communication from the Home Office and respond promptly to any requests.
Outdated Contact Information Update your contact details with the Home Office immediately upon any changes to ensure you receive all necessary communication regarding your application.


These preventative measures can significantly reduce the chances of delays due to common applicant errors. For further details on the complexities of visa applications and avoiding potential mistakes, please refer to our dedicated page on asylum and immigration backlog updates.

What to Do When Your Visa Application is Delayed

If you find that your visa application is delayed passed the standard processing time frame for your specific visa application, there are a few steps you can take to address the delay and potentially expedite the process. If you find yourself in this situation some options you may have include:

  1. Check for Messages from the Home Office: The Home Office may contact applicants as they are required to submit additional information or documents. This means that your should ensure you haven’t missed any emails or letters by thoroughly checking your inbox and spam folder.
  2. Verify Standard Processing Times: Contact the Home Office’s current guidance on processing times to determine if your application has indeed been delayed. Remember, processing times can vary greatly depending on the type of application and whether it’s submitted from inside or outside the UK.
  3. Contact the Home Office for Updates: Again, If your application exceeds the standard processing time, you can contact the Home Office for an update. Be ready with your case reference number, and keep in mind there may be a small fee for this service.
    • Email: This is the most common way individuals inquire about their application status.
    • Phone: For more urgent concerns, a phone call might be preferable, though it could incur fees.
  4. Reach Out to Your Local MP: Your Member of Parliament (MP) can sometimes help escalate the issue with the Home Office. Providing them with all the details of your case can allow them to advocate on your behalf.
  5. Pre-Action Protocol Letter: If you believe your application is being unlawfully delayed, you can issue a Pre-action protocol (PAP Letter). A PAP letter acts acts as a formal warning to the Home Office as to your intention to take legal action against them, if they do not respond in the 14 day response window that a PAP letter mandates they adhere to.


Key Contacts and Resources

Resource Description Contact Information
Home Office Inquiry For updates on your application status. Check the official Home Office website for current contact details.
Local MP Assistance MPs can offer assistance by contacting the Home Office directly about your case. Find your local MP’s contact details at the official Parliament website.
Parliamentary Ombudsman For making formal complaints about the handling of your visa application. Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)


Any delays in your visa applications requires patience and a proactive approach. By understanding the potential causes of delays and knowing how to respond effectively, you can improve your chances of a favourable outcome in your application.

For further guidance and support, do not hesitate to contact us at Primus Solicitors, where our team of experts is ready to assist you every step of the way.


The complexities of visa applications can be a difficult task to try and handle alone, especially when faced with unexpected delays. However, understanding the common reasons for these delays and knowing the appropriate steps to take can alleviate much of the stress associated with the process. At Primus Solicitors, we’re dedicated to providing our clients with the knowledge and resources needed to successfully navigate their visa application process.

Key Takeaways

  • Be Proactive: Regularly check your email for communications from the Home Office and respond promptly to any requests for additional information.
  • Stay Informed: Familiarise yourself with the standard processing times for your specific visa application, and use this knowledge to gauge whether your application is delayed.
  • Seek Assistance: Don’t hesitate to contact the Home Office for updates if your application is taking longer than expected. Additionally, consider reaching out to your local MP for further support.


For more detailed guidance on how to resolve any issues regarding visa application processing times, Our team of immigration specialists at Primus Solicitors are here to help. Our expert solicitors offers detailed, written advice and consultations to ensure your application is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

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