Applying for a UK visa from India
The UK High Commission in India expects a high volume of visa applications for the coming weeks, and urge students to submit their documents as soon as possible. Source: Justin Tallis/AFP

Here’s some good news for those applying for a UK visa from India: the Priority Visa (PV) and Super Priority Visa (SPV) services will soon be resumed for new applications under the sponsored work routes and student visas.   

The announcement was released via the official Twitter account of the British High Commission in India on August 12. According to the statement, the High Commission expects a high volume of applicants in the coming weeks and advised students to begin submitting their applications as soon as possible, since gathering the necessary documents can take some time.

On the same day, the UK High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, posted a video on his Twitter account apologising for the massive delays faced by those applying for a UK visa from India. 

In the video, Ellis clarified that the hiccup was caused by an unprecedented surge in visa demands in post-pandemic travels, as well as the priority given to resettling Ukrainians who are displaced from their war-torn country. 

The news offers some relief to what has been an interminable and frustrating process for UK-bound students from overseas. Indian students have been needled by processing delays, limited appointment slots, and no updates on their visa application status in recent months.

“There seems to be an India-wide delay in UK visa processing. But what about informing us? Really unprofessional. You can’t hold our Passports for this long without updates. You don’t even have a customer care number or email,” wrote a Twitter user who applied for a visa in April.

Those from Nigeria and Morocco have also suffered a five-week wait for PV and SPV services. The priority services come with extra charges and normally have a turnaround time of one to five working days.

Getting a UK visa from India: How to for Priority and Super Priority services 

In his video, Ellis mentioned that the High Commission hoped to receive an “unprecedented number of Indian students” entering the UK this year, and is committed to ensuring that students receive their visas on time. 

According to VFS Global, those applying for a UK visa from India as a student or a sponsored worker can select either one of the priority service appointments when submitting their details online. 

The website states that there is “no reduction in the volume of PV and SPV appointments,” but reminds applicants that the option can only be purchased online during the appointment booking process. The priority services cannot be purchased at any of the application centres or retrospectively. 

Meanwhile, the volume of PV appointments available for new visitor visa applications will continue to be slashed. This is to make way for more standard applications and cut down the overall processing time for all customers. The appointment availability for SPV services will remain the same where the service is available.

Applying for a UK visa from India

Part of the delay in visa processing time outside of the UK was due to the priority given to resettling displaced Ukrainians under the Ukraine Visa Scheme. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Currently, the PV service is offered in all 16 VFS centres for those getting a UK visa in India, except for Mysore and Lucknow. The SPV option is not available in Cochin, Jalandhar, Lucknow, and Mysore. For more information on the services provided in each visa application centre, click here

Despite the laggard pace in processing times, the latest Navitas Agent Perception Survey recorded that the UK came out on top in terms of ease of visa application process, beating other major study abroad destinations such as the US, Canada, and Australia.

From the 700 agents surveyed, 53% of agents gave the highest rating to the UK against its competitors. “There are similarly strong positive views about the UK’s visa acceptance rate, with 60% of respondents scoring the UK as Very Good,” wrote Jon Chew, Navitas Global Head of Insights and Analytics.