Another New Year’s comes by, bringing with it a new set of heart breaking stories of families kept apart over New Year’s by the United Kingdom’s visa laws, thanks to delays in UK Visa processing 2018.
Overstatements are not uncommon at this time of the year, but this is one such statement that stays true to the magnitude of the problem it describes.
Now before we get into the thick of things, a little bit of scale would be useful to get things into perspective.
The case we have presented below is one out of the hundreds of UK visa cases our firm deals with it every year. The cases that our firm deals with is just a small percentage of the total number of people who apply for UK Visas from India and everywhere else in the world. Now just imagine if this one story is causing so many heartbreaks, how many other painful experiences are taking place this very moment due to families being forced to stay away. And why? Because they couldn’t complete their Visa procedures in time in some cases, or their visa procedures are halted without any good reason whatsoever in some cases, like the case of Anjali from Pune.
Anjali came to our firm way back in the summer of 2017. Her UK Spouse Visa had been refused and she wasn’t sure about the course of action she should take next. Our lawyers assessed her case and came to the conclusion that the only reason she was refused was that she hadn’t submitted her TB test reports along with her application, and hence advised her to go for an appeal. 18 months and several periods of severe stress later, Anjali has still not managed to join her husband in the UK.
Due to the trivial nature of the refusal, our lawyers advised Anjali to appeal against the decision instead of filing for a new Spouse Visa Application altogether. In most cases, such circumstances don’t even occur as the Home Office tends to get back to the applicant in case they have forgotten to turn in an important document integral to the visa application process. They generally send an email along the lines of “you haven’t provided us with so and so documents, please do the same so we can move ahead with your application review.” This email is sent out in order to avoid unnecessary refusals and the consequences of the same.
Considering this trend in the Home Office’s decision making, our attorneys decided that the most straightforward path to take for Anjali would be to file an appeal against her decision, saving the hassle of arranging for all the documents and evidence again for a second application process from scratch.
Our team sent the “appeal pack” in July of 2017. Appeal decisions tend to take about 6 months to a year depending on the circumstances of the case and the applicant’s profile. As we predicted, Anjali’s spouse visa refusal decision for overturned on the 17th of April, 2018; 9 months from the date our immigration team sent in the required documents for a UK Visa appeal process.
The acceptance of the appeal was communicated to us through email. In general circumstances, the next steps to be taken after receiving the acceptance of an appeal against a spouse visa decision by the Home Office are as follows:
With the assistance of our team, Anjali arranged for both. She made her IHS payment on the 5th of June 2018. Again if all goes well, we expect 2 emails from the UKVI (United Kingdom Visas and Immigration) after taking care of the above 2 steps on our end:
- A mail from WorldPay confirming the transaction with a reference number
- A mail from UKVI confirming the payment, along with the applicant’s name and Date of Birth.
In Anjali’s case, we only received the email from WorldPay. Causing the first unforeseen delay. By the time the UKVI finally sent the email with Anjali’s name, DOB and receipt of payment, it was the 31st of July, 2018.
Following the receipt of this email from UKVI, Anjali submitted her passport to the VFS center at Pune on the 1st of August (the day after we received the UVI email). From that date until the 27th of December (the day before this article has been written), we received no further news regarding Anjali’s passport or it’s status. On the 27th of December, Anjali received an SMS text message from the VFS informing her that her passport had arrived and ready to be collected.
We breathed a huge collective sigh of relief. Anjali might just be able to travel to the UK in time for her to spend the New Year’s with her long awaiting husband…
But it turns out that was wishful thinking on all of our parts. Because when she went to the VFS center this morning (28th of December, 2018), she was informed by the Manager there that the British High Commission had called for her passport back. The passport has been sent back to the High Commission at this point of time. When asked about the reason, the answer was less than comforting: they don’t know.
According to our experience in the field of UK Immigration law, chances are that there might just be some tiny internal issue with the workings of the High Commission and the passport should be back in a few days. But that does not deter from the fact that Anjali, like so many other unfortunate souls, has been forced to stay away from her loved one for yet another New Year’s thanks to UK Visa bureaucracy.
Our heartfelt wishes to Anjali and others like her. It’s only a matter of time until you will be with your families again. The UK Visa processing delays have been a talking point for a long time now. As immigration lawyers, we feel obliged to keep the world up to date with the consequences of such time delays. New Year’s is a time of joy, hope, and new beginnings. Visa procedures are the last thing that should be preventing you from achieving any of those things.
Here at SmartMove2UK (a unit of Smart Move Immigration), we strive to provide our clients with the confidence and UK Visa process support through their entire immigration procedures to the UK, regardless of the type of Visa, so that you can spend more time living your life, and less time worrying about immigration. When it comes to UK visas and immigration, no one does it better than us. Feel free to contact us with your UK visa related queries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have our offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, and London. Remember that these delays in UK Visa processing 2018 need not be your case with the right support and guidance.