What to do if your UK study visa is delayed?

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Bryan Smith - May, 13 2024

5 min read

About the author

Content Manager at Prodigy Finance, helping international students gear up to study abroad

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many tourism and visa offices for countries around the globe face delays in processing new and existing applications for visas. This may affect your study abroad plans and experience., and Preparing your application and submitting all your required supporting documents timeously is vital.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that your visa application can be processed promptly and without unnecessary delays. In the unfortunate event that your application might delay your travel plans, you can also take several measures to ensure that you can update your travel agency or airline of your plans, and further inform your school.

Remind me - how can I apply for a UK study visa?

Our in-depth guide can assist you in applying for a UK study visa if you’re ready to enroll in your masters or MBA degree - however, you can apply for a study visa by following some simple steps:

  1. You can check if you need a visa to study in the UK by visiting the UKVI website and entering your country of citizenship.
  2. You’ll then need to gather the required documents for a student visa, including proof of acceptance to a course of study at a UK educational institution, evidence of financial support for your studies and living expenses, and a current passport.
  3. Complete the online visa application form and pay the applicable visa fee.
  4. Book an appointment at a visa application center to provide biometric information and submit your supporting documents. This may include fingerprints and a digital photograph.
  5. Attend the appointment and submit your supporting documents and biometric information.
  6. Wait for a decision on your visa application. The UKVI will assess your application based on the information and documents provided and may request additional information or an interview if necessary.
  7. If your visa application is approved, you will receive a notification from the UKVI, and your visa will be attached to your passport.
  8. Once you have your visa, you can travel to the UK and begin your studies.

Why might my UK Study Visa application be delayed?

Your study visa could be delayed due to a number of reasons that, unfortunately, may or may not be within your control.

Common reasons for your study visa being delayed are:

Security checks, including:

  • Your field of study
  • Your name
  • Your country of birth
  • Your citizenship or nationality

Embassy or Consulate delays, including:

  • COVID-19 outbreaks
  • Local unrest or security concerns causing closures
  • Incoming workload

What should I do if my UK study visa is delayed?

  1. Contact the UKVI office to inquire about the delay and any potential reasons for it.
  2. Check your email and postal mail regularly for updates or requests for additional information from the UKVI.
  3. If you have not heard from the UKVI within a reasonable timeframe, consider contacting your local MP or the UKVI Customer Contact Centre for assistance.
  4. If you have a valid reason for needing to travel to the UK urgently, such as a start date for your course or pre-arranged accommodation, you can request an emergency travel document from the UKVI.
  5. If you are unable to travel to the UK due to the delay, contact your educational institution to inform them of the situation and discuss any potential alternative arrangements.
  6. Keep all communication with the UKVI and your educational institution well-documented in case you need to refer to it later.

What do I need to know about UK Embassy closures?

While a majority of US Embassies and Consulates closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority have since resumed operations and are now processing applications.

The UK Visas and Immigration office offers an online list of UK Embassies and Consulates which can be visited here. Each individual branch or office has particular details around their operations.

Where can I check UK visa processing times?

The UK Visas and Immigration office offers an overview which can provide you with an indication of the current delay you may face when applying for your study visa.

Those applying for a visa outside of the UK can view an indicative wait time for their application to be processed here.

Should I inform my school if my UK study visa is delayed?

While advice and procedures may vary depending on your intended school of study, it is imperative to inform your school timeously of any delays you may face in securing your study visa.

Generally speaking, if you face a delay in securing your visa it is essential to make contact with the relevant school office which supplied you with your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies or Admission Letter, who will be able to advise you on next steps should you arrive late. If you are unable to arrive by your intended enrollment date, your school will be able to advise you on your options.

Should I inform my school if my UK study visa has been refused?

If your study visa has been refused, you should immediately contact your relevant International Student Office at your school, who may be able to advise you further as to whether the refusal is correct or whether there has been an error with your application.

If an error is found, you may be able to proceed with an administrative review with your school’s assistance.

Will a delay in obtaining my visa affect my Prodigy Finance loan application process?

If you have actively applied for a Prodigy Finance student loan to fund your masters degree abroad and have a delay in securing an interview for your visa, we’re here to help you.

If you’ve begun uploading your documents to confirm your Prodigy Finance loan, let us know if your visa has been delayed so we can make any necessary adjustments to accommodate your application.

If you have an approved loan with us and your loan agreement has been made available to you for signing, but you are experiencing a delay in obtaining your visa, you'll need to reach out to us and inform us accordingly.

We may need to arrange a new signing date to accommodate this delay, which could affect our ability to disburse your funds on time - and potentially incur late payment penalty fees from your school. We’ll explain this process to you fully, and work with you to reach the best possible outcome.

What should I do if my visa has been rejected?

If your visa has been rejected and you’d like to appeal this decision, and simultaneously have a current loan application, you can reach out to us to let us know - we will consider your case individually and may place your application in a holding status. This will prevent your application from being withdrawn.

Lastly, if you’d like to withdraw your loan application, you’re also welcome to let us know your preference at any time - and remember, your Prodigy Finance loan will become binding only once you have signed your loan agreement and we have countersigned.

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