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If your visa application is delayed

This advice applies to Scotland

You can 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.

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

If your visa has already ended

If you make your application after your visa has ended, 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 contact your local Citizens Advice, or contact a local solicitor for 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 123 2241
Textphone: 0800 389 8289
Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4.45pm. Friday, 9am to 4.30pm.
Calls cost 12p per minute from a landline, 3 to 45p from a mobile

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

You’ll be asked for a Home Office reference number (sometimes called a 'case ID'). This number will start with the first letter of your last name, and be followed by 7 numbers. 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

If you’re not happy with the Home Office’s response, it’s a good idea to contact your local MP. Your MP can find out more about the delay and in some cases can help speed up the 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
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