Application Process

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There are two possible routes for applying for UK visa, either through the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home office services, or through a UK consulate/High Commission/Embassy abroad, depending on the category of visa you are applying for. The table below summarises which applications and immigration services can be processed through either route, the processing times and the visa fees where applicable.

Please note that EU/EEA nationals and their family do not have to pay visa fees.

Application Home office Abroad
Fiancée No Yes, £260, 3 days
Marriage application No, unless you are in the UK on a long-term visa (more than six months) Yes, £260, 3 days
Ancestry Yes, 6 months Yes, £75, 3 days
Right of abode Yes, 2-3 months Yes, £20, 3 days (?)
Student Yes (for non-visa nationals only) 6 months + (?) Yes, £36 to £80, 3 days
Au Pair No Yes, £36, 3 days
Working Holidaymaker No Yes £36, 3 days
Retirement No Yes £75
Naturalisation 8 months No

The Home Office has recently made efforts to improve their immigration and naturalization services and processing times. However, they are currently experiencing a large backlog of various immigration and naturalisation cases, most recently of HSMP applications, which has built up and the processing times for many applications are generally in excess of 6 months. Please see our latest news section for the latest information on HSMP and FLR processing times. Naturalization applicants should bear in mind that they will be without their passport for an extended period and if they remove their documents from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) then the application will be considered withdrawn. This is also the case for FLR or HSMP applications.

For naturalisation applications, therefore, it may be more convenient to lodge the citizenship application through a diplomatic mission abroad. Consulates are however, only obliged to process applications from people officially resident in their country, (i.e. French applications through a French Consulate and Australian applications through an Australian Consulate). They will only accept naturalization applications from other nationals in exceptional circumstances.

Application forms and further details for the Home Office can be obtained from Home Office, click on the relevant form under "Application Forms" on the Home Page.

All other forms can be obtained by going to Application Forms.

The Immigration and Nationality Directorate pages also contain further information on immigration to the UK.

Application forms for application through British diplomatic missions abroad are available from:

This is the new UKvisas website which contains further information on entry clearance applications and fees.

This summary of law and procedure is accurate and current to the best of our knowledge and belief. However, it is certainly not comprehensive; it is provided for general information only, and is not a substitute for professional advice. workpermit.com can accept no liability for decisions based on the contents of this report. UK immigration law is complex, so all prospective immigrants and their employers are urged to obtain competent professional advice on a particular visa category before proceeding with, or ruling out, any course of action.