The UK Visa Application Process
You may submit your application up to 3 months ahead of your departure date. It’s important to allow plenty of time for your application to be processed, so don’t delay! Applications are processed within 15 working days.

When to apply for a Student route visa outside the UK
You can apply up to 6 months before your programme starts, and the process normally takes around 3 weeks.

When should I make my visa application?

You can make your application up to 6 months before your programme start date, which will be stated on your CAS.

You should aim to make your Student route application as early as possible, once you have gathered your supporting documents.

You should not make your Student route application more than 6 months in advance of the start date of your programme or your application will be rejected and you will lose your application fee.

How long does the application process take?
The application process from outside the UK normally takes around 15 working days (3 weeks) from the date you attend your appointment at the visa application centre.

Some countries offer a priority application service which takes 5 working days, and/or a super-priority service which takes 1 day.


  1. Do I submit my documents on the GOV.UK website?

No. You upload your documents yourself prior to your appointment or TLScontact will do it for you when you attend your appointment. You will need to choose either a self-upload service or assisted service from TLScontact. Information regarding these services can be found on TLScontact’s website

  1. I am not sure whether I need a visa for the UK?

If you go to GOV.UK’s website, you will be able to check whether you need a visa and what type of visa you need to apply for depending on your reason for traveling

  1. Do I need an appointment to visit TLScontact?

Yes, if you do not have an appointment, you will not be able to submit your documents for processing

  1. How long does it take to get a decision?

Visa applications are processed within 3 weeks, but it could take longer depending on the type of visa you are applying for

  1. I have a question about my application. Who do I contact?

You can contact UK Visas and Immigration regarding your application here

  1. How do I get my passport back?

You can either collect it from TLScontact or have it returned to you by courier if you have chosen this service

  1. My application is accepted, will this guarantee me entry into the UK?

No, the visa does not guarantee you entry. You will pass through border control where you must show your passport, visa and any other documents requested. The immigration authorities can still deny you entry. Check GOV.UK’s website for more information about what happens at the border.

  1. I am planning on visiting my family in the UK for a long stay. Can I apply for a Standard Visitor Visa?

No, the Standard Visitor Visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months only. If you are planning on staying longer AND your family is settled in the UK, you would need to apply for a “family of a settled person” visa. See GOV.UK for more information

  1. I want help with the online application process. Is this possible?

It depends on the visa application center where you will be attending your appointment. The centers have different services available, so you check with them to see if they offer this

  1. Why do I have to provide an invitation letter?

If you are being invited by a person or a company, this is a document you must provide. If you fail to provide this, your application will not be processed or it will be rejected.