I am Dutch and, after marrying my British wife, I applied for a spouse visa. My passport was required, and I was advised it would be returned within eight weeks. Eight months later, I still do not have it. I twice escalated the issue with the Home Office and was promised a response within 15 working days, but heard nothing. Eventually, I was advised to make a formal complaint and was told, weeks later, it had not been upheld as there was no standard timescale for visa applications. I involved my MP, who got no further. This has caused many problems as I have to produce it as ID to receive my Dutch pension and I have been unable to visit my family. Apparently I can request my passport back for an emergency but that would cancel my application and I would lose the £1,033 fee paid.
JV, Rhydymwyn, Flintshire
My inbox echoes with the pain of visa applicants who’ve endured months of limbo. When I contacted the Home Office, it took a couple of days to discover a problem that your months of calls and emails failed to expose. It claims you wrongly ticked a couple of boxes on the application form, which resulted in you being classed as a refugee. Refugee applications, which take about six months to process, do not incur a fee, and the Netherlands is not noted for its human rights abuses. It is therefore alarming that no one twigged at the outset that you had been put on the wrong track, or at least questioned you further.
You say you and your wife repeatedly checked the form to identify any causes for the delay and dispute that you ticked the wrong boxes.
Your visa was issued and your passport returned within four days of my intervention.
Others facing unreasonable delays should detail the impact on them in a formal complaint to the Home Office, which must respond within 21 days. If it doesn’t, they could, subject to legal advice, submit a pre-action protocol threatening court proceedings and, if that has no effect, apply for a judicial review.
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