Amid 89% surge in student visas, UK envoy promises to cut down application time

The demand for student visas from India to the United Kingdom has gone up by 89 per cent, said the British envoy on Wednesday. He added that the UK and Delhi teams are now working on improving the visitor visa processing time. British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis said the commission is on track to get back to processing visa applications to the standard 15-day duration.

“The combination of an unprecedented surge in demand for travel from India to the UK, combined with the effects of Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant that our visa processing got well outside of a 15-day working standard,” Ellis said in a video statement shared on Twitter.

“The good news is we’re now getting back on track. We’ve dealt with an unprecedented surge in student visas, 89 per cent up on last year. We’re turning right off skilled worker visas very fast and now we are focussing on visitor visas to get them back inside 15 days,” Ellis said, adding that the aim is to get to that standard by the end of the year.

Ellis urged travellers to apply for visas well in advance, even as early as three months prior to the trip. He also advised applicants to make use of the priority and super-priority visa application options.

“And don’t forget, we’ve got good availability in our visa application centres as well. You can help by applying early. You can apply three months in advance. You can use different services, including the priority visa service and the super priority visa service if you have a particular urgency,” he said.

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The High Commissioner’s message comes amid reports of long delays in the approval process for visas to the United States, Europe and Canada.

Earlier, it was reported that there were 800+ days of delay in getting an interview appointment for a visitor’s visa to the US. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, during an overseas trip, had raised the matter with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to which the top American diplomat said he is sensitive to the matter and had a plan to address it.

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