UK Cuts Waiting Times For Kenyans Applying For Visas

This was announced by the British High Commission in Kenya through High Commissioner Jane Marriott.

UK Cuts Waiting Times For Kenyans Applying For Visas
A British Airways plane at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. /FILE

Kenyans planning to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) will now wait for three weeks instead of six to get their visa confirmation.

This was announced on Wednesday, January 25 by the British High Commission in Kenya through High Commissioner Jane Marriott.

Marriott had earlier promised to address the plight of Kenyans encountering challenges in getting their visas, particularly delays, as she advised them to make arrangements six weeks ahead to mitigate the delays.

 UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott. /FILE

"Six months ago, I promised we would get our visa service for Kenyans travelling to the UK back on track. 

"I’m pleased we’re now at normal customer service standards - a decision should take just three weeks, with faster priority services available," she stated.

According to the UK government website, the waiting time once you have submitted your application for a visa starts when you either attend your appointment and provide your fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre or verify your identity using the UK Immigration: ID Check app - this will depend on the visa you apply for and you’ll be advised if you can use this.

The waiting time will end when you get an email containing the decision on your application. This will explain what you need to do next.

"You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre if you are applying for a visa to visit the UK for a holiday or to see family or friends, for a business trip or meeting, to get married or to study for 6 months or less.

"You may be able to get your visa faster or access other services depending on what country you’re in - check with your visa application centre," the website states in part.

Marriott had indicated in July 2022 that the visa issue, witnessed also globally, was attributed the delay to the backlog of visa applications during Coronavirus that were not processed, various global crises being experienced around the world, and what she described as an “unprecedented demand for visas.”

“It is great that so many of you want to come to the UK. in 2019, for example, 300,000 students across the world wanted to come to the UK, this year, it's nearly doubled that at 600,000,” she said.

She further pointed out that due to pressure on the service, the embassy was at the time unable to offer the usual priority visa service.

“If you are a business person used to getting your visa in five days, I am really sorry, but it is going to take six weeks,” she added.

Marriott urged the applicants to provide the right paperwork to help fast-track the decision-making process, indicating that anyone who would like their passports returned during the delay can do so for a charge.

“I understand that many will need their passports back in this period, and they can get those back from the visa application centre for a small fee,” she added.

It costs £363 (Ksh56,000) to apply for a student visa from outside the UK and £490 (Ksh75,000) to extend or switch to a Student visa from inside the UK.

Outside the British High Commission in Kenya. /GOV.UK