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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reality is sinking in that despite paying for priority service, the timelines they quote as their targets are not currently accurate at all. We have filed for a spouse visa for my wife and she is currently in the US with our 5 year old daughter (she has dual nationality UK/USA). We received acknowledgement from Sheffield 2 weeks ago today they had received the application, so we have stupidly been getting excited we should hear back soon - that definitely does not appear to be the case.

When my wife sent off the application from the US, she included the receipt showing the payment for the expedited processing, but did not write "Priority Service" on the envelope (we both missed that requirement). Does anyone know if they will just know it's a priority file, or is our file currently languishing amongst the other non-priority applications? My wife tried to call the phone number last night but said she couldn't get it to work - but she did email. We are going to call today. But do we need to worry the file isn't being treated as priority? Does the confirmation email from Sheffield usually state it's a priority case or is that just the same standard response to all applications?

It looks like most spouse visas from the US right now are taking 6 weeks. 6 weeks without seeing my family is possibly the most depressing thing I can think of having just made that realization. I am going to fly out to see them this weekend I think, so I know I am lucky I can do that as many others can't. But still, this is horrible. What a crazy process. Any advice or opinions welcomed. Thanks!
 

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Does anyone know if they will just know it's a priority file
No, they don't even open the parcel until it's ready to be processed. So if you didn't write "settlement priority" on the parcel then it's effectively not priority. I believe (Joppa correct me if I'm wrong) they go through kind of a pre-sorting measure by the assistants at the decision making centre before the applications actually get to the ECO, but I'm pretty sure they will wait around until the applications marked PRIORITY are sorted.

6 weeks without seeing my family is possibly the most depressing thing I can think of having just made that realization. I am going to fly out to see them this weekend I think, so I know I am lucky I can do that as many others can't.
Yes, you are actually quite fortunate for that. The UK also has some of the shortest average processing times for family visas. Imagine waiting 5-7 months in the US or 1-2 YEARS for Canada.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just called and spoke to the Visa And Immigration Department. They have actually opened the file so it seems not writing Priority Service didn't stop it from being taken and opened and processed. It's status is decision pending. But the guy I spoke to (although I am not entirely sure he really knew all that much) said processing times are currently around 90 days, and that paying for priority just means it is put into the processing pile more quickly - it doesn't guarantee quicker processing. I so hope he is wrong. I have looked at the timeline threads and it certainly appears people are getting things sorted more quickly - I just have to hope we will be one of them.
 

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so it seems not writing Priority Service didn't stop it from being taken and opened and processed
It would have been processed at some point anyway; since it's been put into the processing queue it's difficult to say how much difference the oversight really made

paying for priority just means it is put into the processing pile more quickly - it doesn't guarantee quicker processing. I so hope he is wrong.
No, he's correct, paying for priority only gets your application moved ahead of the non-priority queue. So it doesn't actually get processed any faster once it gets to the ECO (the decision maker). They have to put the same amount of care and effort into each application.

This is also the busy season during a particular busy year (lots of people applying for visas ahead of brexit)
 
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