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2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

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thesimon2000
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2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:29 am

Good Day Everyone,

Was wondering if anyone has been in the same situation as myself, as I'm tearing my hair out right now. My fiancee, now wife, applied for a 2-year visitor visa, submitted her biometrics 10MAR19. It's now 16JUN19, 14 weeks and 65 working days later, and still there has been no decision made.

We have received about a dozen generic emails, after escalating, stating the same copy and paste answer - Checks have still not been completed.

They don't state what checks, and her supervisor was contacted 12 weeks ago and HR department 4 weeks ago. Does anyone know what sort of checks we are waiting for that take 14 weeks??

Our travel plans have been completely disrupted and everytime we need to go to VFS for something, it costs about $700 in flights and hotel fees. In addition, the last e-mail from the FCO suggested we apply for retro priority, so we got flights to UAE and booked hotels for the week (5 working days). When we arrived there, VFS were helpful enough, which was unusual, but then the request was sent to the embassy for retro priority, and it subsequently denied! So with that, expenditure haas amounted to $2900 so far, and that's excluding the actual visa fee!

I am a British national myself, and we both work for the British Forces in Afghanistan, so our vacation periods are very strict, and all I wanted to do was for my new wife to meet the family. That's out the window now and our next leave period isn't until mid-october.

How can they state their processing time figures on the website, when they are clearly inaccurate. The excuse "individual and unique circumstances" without explanation seems merely like an excuse to avoid deadline penalties. At the moment, because of the absolute lack of information on the progress of the application, we feel like we've been robbed by a couple of dodgy builders that keep saying they'll be back next week to finish the work, just be patient.

Anyone any idea why it would take this long just for a decision?

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by Casa » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:01 am

Has your wife previously held a 6 month visitor visa for the UK?
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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:56 pm

No this is the first visa applied for, for the UK.

Edit: Due to the nature of applying for the UK visa and our expected periods of travelling to the UK, a 6 month visitor visa isn't feasible.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:02 pm

Any other similar experiences?

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by Casa » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:11 pm

It's very rare to be granted a 2 year visitor visa, without having a good track record of having complied with the terms of a 6 month one. :idea:
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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:16 am

That's interesting to hear, I had never even considered it might be an issue when applying, but can see why now. Our window for travelling has now passed anyway and the next one will be mid-October.

Herein lies the issue. We want to travel to the UK for 4 weeks, in October. Now, because of the nature of our work, we only get block leave, meaning that its set periods throughout the year where everyone is off at the same time and any leave outside of that is difficult to take. Due to there being no visa service within Afghanistan itself, the only options are UAE/Pakistan/India. Again, because you have to be there in person, it complicates the matter as 1) Time off work to go there is difficult 2) Financially it costs a lot ($1200 round trip for the application in 10MAR19, which includes having to apply for the UAE visa, hotel, flights, and loss of earnings 3) No option but to apply for the passport passback service, to avoid being a prisoner within the UAE.

In retrospect, I am certain I could have submitted a stronger application, but at the time had not thought too much about it as to us, the case seemed strong, and had had no issues getting visas for elsewhere in the past. However, the points above are all moot, because actually the current issue is that no decision has been made yet. If the visa were rejected at the 3-4 week point, it would have been a lesson learned; money wasted but a lesson to do a better application in the future. As it still hangs in limbo without a decision, we are powerless to do anything. I wish they would just make the decision one way or another, so that we could plan accordingly

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by Frontier Mole » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:11 am

The other issue is that the use of a visit visa to get spouses into the UK is a known abuse route so that gets further scrutiny too.

As mad as it sounds it might be better applying for a Spouse visa to visit in October as a returning resident so your overseas salary would be the salary that is considered. The visa would give you 2.5 years of freedom to travel. Only an idea?

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:39 am

@frontiermole Thanks for your reply. Yes can imagine that there are many abuses of the visitor visa for longer stays. Initially we were going to apply for a spouse visa for that same reason, but there were a few issues that discouraged us

- My wife has a pretty prestige scholarship to the US starting next year and residency of another country apart from the one she holds citizenship in, invalids the scholarship
- Both of us work in Afghanistan and really only spend 2 months in the year abroad
- We also own a business together in afghanistan which requires alot of invested time too
- As an ex-pat, even though my salary comes from the UK, it is not taken into consideration due to being tax-free, so I would have to do the savings route
- Despite owning a property in the UK, neither of us have a particular desire to reside there until maybe 5 years down the line when we have established our careers and perhaps looking at starting a family

Again, personally I think we have a very strong case for a visitor visa, however I am 100% sure now that I didn't make that case clear when applying - completely my fault. The only question that I seek the answer to is why so long for a decision? As has been mentioned in other threads, it takes just as long for an approval as it does for a rejection. "Checks have not been completed" - what does it even mean? What "checks" could possibly take so long. As her sponsor, should I have expected some sort of contact from the embassy? Maybe to confirm that I am indeed the sponsor, financial support etc. As of now, I've heard zero.

They say that unique circumstances have caused the delay, but who is their independent oversight? Who ensures that they are not just using this as an caveat for missed deadlines? We've paid our fee and have received nothing for it.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:30 pm

Anyone got any more thoughts on this? It's now been 19 weeks since application and biometrics were taken, but still absolutely zilch from the embassy. Same old excuses, I even sent them an e-mail offering up about a dozen additional supporting documents, such as rental agreements for our business premises in Afghanistan, and my contract for my job here etc.

Their first reply was another generic reply saying that "checks are still in progress", which shows they didn't even read the e-mail. I replied to them asking them to read the e-mail properly, then they said if they need any additional documents, they will be in touch.

At what point does this become theft of our $450?

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by seagul » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:19 pm

Visa authorities always advise not to book any flight or any booking until the visa arrive because they are not responsible for any such expenditure.
The opinion expressed as above is neither a professional advice nor contesting/competing to other member's opinion/advice.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:34 pm

@seagul we haven't booked any flights, nor would we unless we had the visa. I'm not sure what you're referring to?

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by seagul » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:47 pm

thesimon2000 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:29 am
??

Our travel plans have been completely disrupted and everytime we need to go to VFS for something, it costs about $700 in flights and hotel fees. In addition, the last e-mail from the FCO suggested we apply for retro priority, so we got flights to UAE and booked hotels for the week (5 working days). When we arrived there, VFS were helpful enough, which was unusual, but then the request was sent to the embassy for retro priority, and it subsequently denied! So with that, expenditure haas amounted to $2900 so far, and that's excluding the actual visa fee!
The opinion expressed as above is neither a professional advice nor contesting/competing to other member's opinion/advice.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:58 pm

Yes, we were advised to visit VFS again and apply for the retro priority service. Advised directly by the visa authority (Embassy at Abu Dhabi) to do so.

The above and any other payments only add insult to injury, the main point of the post is why are they taking so long to make a decision. There must come a point where it could be deemed an unacceptable period of time. They've not even attempted to contact me (the sponsor) at all.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:03 pm

Anyone else have any more thoughts on this, its been just over 21 weeks now and still no correspondence

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:36 pm

Is there anyone that can possibly help with this?? It's now 23 weeks and UKVI still just copying and pasting answers "Checks have not been completed", and immigration lawyers had advised that there's not really much they can do apart from contact the enquiry centre.

Have we been duped out of our money? Was this just some extremely elaborate episode of Hustle, with dozens of actors playing staff and customers.

On a serious note, is it possible they may have misplaced the case/documents? Is it better to withdraw the application now, as I'm worried a visa refusal would have a detrimental effect on future visas for other countries (she's just about to receive her residency visa next month for australia and additionally is off to the US next year for a scholarship, of which the student visa is the last step.)

We could re-apply for the UK visitor visa again sometime in the future, but for now I think the desire to visit has worn off a bit.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:36 pm

Is there anyone that can possibly help with this?? It's now 23 weeks and UKVI still just copying and pasting answers "Checks have not been completed", and immigration lawyers had advised that there's not really much they can do apart from contact the enquiry centre.

Have we been duped out of our money? Was this just some extremely elaborate episode of Hustle, with dozens of actors playing staff and customers.

On a serious note, is it possible they may have misplaced the case/documents? Is it better to withdraw the application now, as I'm worried a visa refusal would have a detrimental effect on future visas for other countries (she's just about to receive her residency visa next month for australia and additionally is off to the US next year for a scholarship, of which the student visa is the last step.)

We could re-apply for the UK visitor visa again sometime in the future, but for now I think the desire to visit has worn off a bit.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am

Does anyone know what "mandatory checks" the UKVI office have to complete? It's now been six months since our visitor visa application and I had to involve my MP just to get a reply from the UKVI.

Both her employer and subcontractor were called to confirm employment within about 4-5 weeks of the application, so what checks would be remaining that would be delaying it?

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by iwolga » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:17 am

Hi Simon,

I don’t think someone will be able to say what are those checks. As this reply is so generic, I personally believe that this is just the phrase to say “we haven’t decided yet”.

As correctly noticed before, it is very unlikely to get 2 years visa before having at least one of the 6 months. On the other hand, in normal cases they just issue a shorter visa at their discretion. Additionally, yes, your wife presents a risk of staying in UK and applying to immigration visa. Now, I’m not saying she will do that. I’m saying how they see it.

Unfortunately having relatives/spouses in (or from) the country, which you want to visit, a lot of times makes it harder to get visa.

I’m so sorry this is all happening with you and your wife. Truth be told, I would just try to get my passport from the embassy. It is possible that you’ll get I t back with visa, but also possible that you’ll just get your passport back. This may also be good (except for the time and money wasted) as you will not get a refusal and it will not be in your wife’s immigration history

Good luck anyway

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by ALKB » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:04 am

thesimon2000 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am
Does anyone know what "mandatory checks" the UKVI office have to complete? It's now been six months since our visitor visa application and I had to involve my MP just to get a reply from the UKVI.

Both her employer and subcontractor were called to confirm employment within about 4-5 weeks of the application, so what checks would be remaining that would be delaying it?
There are several points actually working against your wife.

She is the spouse of a British national (overstay risk).

She is from a high risk country, both in terms of overstaying and security.

She applied for a 2-year visit visa without any UK travel history.

Depending on the nature of her work for the British Forces, this may or may not also actually not be an advantage when applying for a visa.

From personal experience (not in the UK but dealing with applications between a western country and countries not dissimilar to Afghanistan), when a visit visa application takes this long, then either, there was a mandatory (due process) contact made with a government authority in Afghanistan (or some other country, if for example she has lived outside Afghanistan before) and they still haven't replied (this happened so many times to me, the stack of months old applications waiting for a 'clear' from a government organization far away was pretty high) or there is some sort of investigation going on that hasn't been concluded. Or it could be something completely else unique to the UK visa decision making process. Impossible to say without being involved in the application.
I am not a regulated immigration advisor. I am offering an opinion and not advice.

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Re: 2 Year Standard Visitor Visa - No decision (14weeks)

Post by thesimon2000 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:07 am

Thank you all for your advice and input, it has been much appreciated, as the worst thing about the whole drama has been the lack of information or discussion.

This morning, just as I was officially submitting a withdrawal request to the embassy, the following email came

"I am writing to inform you that a decision is now ready to be made on your UK visa application. As you applied under the Passport Passback service, we request that you resubmit your passport to the UK Visa Application Centre in Dubai as soon as possible."

Looks like the nudge by my MP, who is also a close friend of the family, maybe prompted them to focus on the application again. After reading the last few replies, I suspect the delay could possibly been with the MOI (Ministry of Interior) who issue the background checks for Afghan nationals, but are very unprofessional and the department is understaffed.

I know have to resubmit the passport via courier to UAE and await the decision. It could still be a no, but I'm clinging onto the hope that if it were a refusal, they wouldn't ask for the passport to be sent all the way back again, but it's probably procedure.

We don't have leave until February again anyway, so plenty of time to sort out any resubmissions etc. I will keep everyone updated.

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