If your visa application is delayed

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

You might be able to find out why your immigration application is delayed by contacting the Home Office, or your local MP. You might want to make sure your passport will be returned in time for a holiday, or simply be worried about how long the decision is taking.

You can do this yourself rather than paying an expensive lawyer or immigration expert to do it for you.

Your immigration status

Your immigration status will stay the same while you wait for your new visa if you make the application in the 28 days before your visa ends.

If you already have the right to work, access education and receive benefits, you'll still have these rights while you wait for a new visa. You won’t keep these rights if you applied after your original visa ends - find out more about overstaying your visa.


If your original visa had ended when you applied

You’ll usually lose the right to work, access education and receive benefits while you wait for a new visa.

The rules are complicated so you should get specialist immigration advice as soon as possible.

You can phone the UK Visas and Immigration contact centre (part of the Home Office) to find out how long your visa will take:

UK Visas and Immigration contact centre

Telephone: 0300 790 6268

Textphone: 0800 389 8289

Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4.45pm. Friday, 9am to 4.30pm.

Calls cost 12p per minute from a landline, 3p to 40p from a mobile.

If you’re outside the UK you need to use different contact details. Check how to contact UK Visas and Immigration from outside the UK on GOV.UK.

The service can be busy, so you may be waiting for some time.

You’ll be asked for a Home Office reference number - this is sometimes called a 'unique application number' (UAN). You’ll have received this number when you first applied.

Before you can get any information about your application, you’ll be asked questions to confirm your identity.

Contact your MP

It might be worth contacting your local MP if you've been waiting a long time to hear back from the Home Office. They can find out more about the delay and might be able to help speed up your visa application.

Prepare as much information as possible - it'll help your MP track down your application. For example, you might need:

  • important dates - like the date you submitted your application

  • any reference numbers you've received in letters or over the phone

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help.

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Page last reviewed on 19 June 2024