Where needed, it can take three to five weeks to get a United States entry visa application successfully filed and processed—although that waiting time can vary based on a wide range of factors. If a traveler has been planning an international trip for a year, three to five weeks is nothing. But if a traveler suddenly needs to go abroad to tend to urgent matters, however, time can be an issue.
For those situations, many countries offer an expedited visa processing service that can get travelers their visa in hand in as little as 24 to 48 hours in some cases. Expedited visa processing is a topic that isn’t necessarily as cut and dried as it may seem, however, which is why there are a few key things business travelers want to keep in mind.
The Ins and Outs of Expedited Visa Processing
The most important thing to understand about expedited visa processing is that it’s only available in some countries. The United Kingdom, for example, offers “super priority and premium visa services” for people from the United States that allow them to get a decision on their application within as little as 24 hours. That service is only available, however, if travelers apply at a premium application center in a major city like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, or Miami. Likewise, this service is going to cost extra; visa fees offer a source of income for the UK government.
The United States also offers Premium Processing Services for certain employment-based petitions and applications. The program guarantees a sub-15-day processing, once the fee has been paid and all appropriate documentation has been submitted. All told, equivalent programs are available from a wide range of countries including, but not limited to, Brazil, China, India, Russia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Tanzania, and others.
Other Essential Expedited Visa Considerations
Depending on the country through which the traveler chooses to process their visa, it could have a significant effect on how fast the application will be approved. Everything ultimately comes down to the workload of the country’s immigration department. Some periods of the year see dramatically increased application volumes, thus slowing down even expedited processing as a result.
This may hold true in the Schengen zone which has different points of entry. Certain states within the zone may be able to issue a Schengen entry visa in a shorter time compared to other states that see more visitors. However, the business traveler must make that state the first country of destination within the zone, and not just transit through it.
Expedited visa processing is an excellent service that offers value to many international assignees around the globe—but it isn’t necessarily something you should depend on 100% of the time. Governments are always able to halt or even outright suspend any premium visa processing or expedited service should they choose. The United States, for example, recently announced a suspension of all premium processing for all cap-subject H-1B petitions that began on September 11, 2018. That suspension is expected to last until February 19, 2019—but whether or not it will remain in place is the subject of debate.
Go Global with a Partner That’s Been There
Not all countries offer expedited visa processing—and some countries’ visa application processes can be a headache that takes up valuable time and resources. Velocity Global’s suite of global expansion services that includes visa procurement and assistance offers businesses looking to send or hire employees overseas the support they need when expanding. Velocity Global’s Employer of Record solution (also known as International PEO) can have your business up and running in your new market in as few as 48 hours—virtually anywhere. If you’re exploring expansion locations or are sure you’ve found the right international market, get in touch with Velocity Global today to take the first step towards establishing your presence overseas. We’re ready when you are.