The saga of UK visa delays continues and shows no signs of stopping.
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) office is currently facing a high volume of applications for visas, resulting in month-long delays in processing documents for students, professionals, and more. At the moment, such delays seem to be a global issue, with immigration offices worldwide putting out notices informing students of the news.
“Student visas are taking 3 weeks to process and Priority and Super Priority Student visas are currently unavailable globally,” the UK Embassy in Nigeria wrote on its Instagram. “We anticipate very high demand so you should apply before August if you can.”
Students are being encouraged to apply up to six months before their travel date to avoid disappointment. However, this may not always be possible for those with conditional offers from their first-choice universities, many of whom must wait for their A-Level, IB or other exam results to be able to apply.
This year’s A-Level results day falls on August 18, 2022. Most universities are set to begin their first terms in mid-September.
A post shared by @UkinNigeria (@ukinnigeria)
Many students are due to begin university in September. Source: Damien Meyer / AFP
Adding to the strain on international students is the indefinite suspension of Priority and Super Priority visas. Typically, these services would be reserved for those who urgently need to travel, providing a decision within one to five working days.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing previously explained that the UK visa delays are a result of “enormous pressure” on the visa processing system as well as a priority to process visas for Ukrainian citizens.
📢 Reminder: Student visas are taking 5 weeks to process and Priority and Super Priority Student visas are currently unavailable globally – you should apply as soon as possible to ensure you can travel in time for September. pic.twitter.com/6Cm7Z6GGm2
— UK in Morocco (@UKinMorocco) July 14, 2022
A number of schemes are currently open to Ukrainian citizens seeking to flee the country amidst the ongoing conflict. These include schemes for family members, sponsorship, and other available visas.
UKVI first announced this initiative in March, highlighting that visa processing times outside the UK would be delayed by up to three weeks.
To expedite the process, applicants are being encouraged to ready other necessary documents. For students, these include:
“So, please help us to help you, to make sure you get to the UK in September for your studies which is going to be fabulous,” added Laing. “We want you to have a wonderful time studying in the UK.”
Many students have missed their flights because they haven’t received their visas on time. Source: Mario Tama/AFP
Students and other applicants have expressed their frustration about the UK visa delays on a number of social platforms, attempting to reach out to officials for help through the #UKVISADELAY hashtag.
“#UKVISADELAY yet again cancelling all tickets for tomorrow!” one user tweeted. “This was our second reschedule. So heartbroken and exhausted. I’ve left all my work and just pursued this relentless hopeless visa situation [for] 25 days. No one cares guys! Not @VFSGlobal not @ukhomeoffice.”
Others have highlighted issues with a lack of appointment dates for the collection of biometric data, which is essential to process a UK student visa.
“There are no appointment dates available for biometrics collection in all the TLS centres across Nigeria,” one Nigerian student commented on UK in Nigeria’s Instagram post. “This is not talking about days but weeks ongoing with no dates available. Let students be aware of the timeline of when dates will be available.”
While the UKVI office has warned of five-week delays, students, professionals and family members have pointed out that applications made in April have yet to be processed. Others have reported waiting 13 weeks for their visas.
We had applied for visa back in April, completing the biometrics by April 27th in @VFSGlobal Bangalore, but there is no decision yet. There are June visas processed while April applications are still pending decision. Please help.#UKVISADELAY #ukvisa @AlexWEllis @homeoffice_ukvi
— Vishnu Satia (@viz_satiz) July 8, 2022
Finally got the passports with UK visa. Exactly after 12 weeks and 4 days today. I hope all of you get your visas soon. #UKVISADELAY
— Sriparna Bhowmik (@nil_sriparna) July 16, 2022
Meanwhile, the UK visa delays have reportedly affected individuals across other sectors as well, including Nigerian singer-songwriter Ruger, who was set to perform at Wireless Festival in July.
So Sad I won’t be performing @wirelessfest in London today,, UK Visa applications be taking longer these days because of the ongoing issues in Ukraine 🇺🇦, I will surely make up for this!!!! My team and I are definitely on to something. ❤️
— da Ruger gon screw u🔫🏴☠️♎️ (@rugerofficial) July 9, 2022