The United Kingdom is a popular destination for everyone who would love to travel to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Would you chance a ride up the London Eye to witness the historic city from a bird’s eye view? Visit the famous London Bridge or check out how big the Big Ben is? If these tick your fancy, then consider applying for a UK Visa. The only thing that’s standing in between you and your dream trip to the United Kingdom (UK) is a 10 hour flight – and a valid visa, of course. Whether it is for leisure (holiday or vacation), business (meetings or conferences) or for other reasons (medical treatment), you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa to travel to the United Kingdom.
In this article, we’ll be easing the process for you by providing all the information you need, and additional tips to enhance your application! That UK visa will be yours soon – and the first thing you need to do is to keep on reading!
What is a UK Visa?
The UK visa (known as the Standard Visitor visa) is applied for when one wants to visit the UK on vacation, to visit family and friends, to take part in sporting events or creative processes, or to receive medical treatment. The Standard Visitor visa is the most popular and widely issued visa type in the UK. It allows a person to travel and stay in the UK for up to 6 months.
This type of UK visa is valid for:
- visiting the UK on holiday
- to see your family and friends,
- do business (for example, conference, meeting, etc; but you CANNOT do paid or unpaid work),
- take part in sports or creative events, or
- receive private medical treatment.
- Study for up to 30 days (as far as it is not the main reason for your visit)
For a successful UK visa application, you must demonstrate that:
- You’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
- You intend to return home before your visa expires
- You have sufficient funds to support yourself and the accompanying members during your stay in the UK.
- You can afford the accommodation, living costs and return travel expenses.
- You have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules, mentioned on the same site.
- You do not intend to take paid or unpaid employment
Documents you must provide:
- A valid passport with six months validity and minimum two bank pages
- Old passports if any
- Appointment letter confirmation
- Bank statements, Income tax returns, business proof to show that you have ample funds to support yourself and the accompanying members during your stay. There is no exact amount that you are required to show, but you need to demonstrate that you can meet the costs of travelling and being here – flights, accommodation, food and general living costs.
- Your certificate of employment or a leave letter from your company specifying the current position you hold, your monthly salary, the date when you were hired, as well as the length of your leave from work for the purpose of your intended travel
- An invitation letter from the person you are visiting explaining the relationship and the purpose of your visit along with inviter’s address and ID proof.
- Day wise itinerary providing a run-down of accommodation, activities and places you’ll be visiting during your visit with corresponding date
- Birth certificate for children travelling with parents
- Applicant travelling on an official business should attach a letter of invitation/confirmation of training/conference, with full details of the Company’s Authorized representative; physical address and phone numbers
- Sponsorship letter & sponsor’s financial documents if being sponsored by family or friend
- Any other financial documents such as property investments, Fixed deposits, share certificates etc., that will strengthen your visa case
- A certified translation of any documents that are not in English
- All documents must be original
Also Read: How to apply for UK Visa in 5 easy steps
How to apply for a UK Visa?
1. Determine your visa type
Before you proceed with the actual application, you will need to identify what kind of visa you’ll need to enter the UK. This type of UK visa allows you to:
- Go on holiday
- Visit family and friends
- Study for up to 30 days
- Take part in sports or creative events
- Do academic research
- Receive private medical treatment
- Stay in the UK for up to 6 months
2. Complete the Online application form
Once you’ve determined the type of UK visa you need, you will now need to fill the visa form online. Click here to start your visa application.
3. Book an appointment at VFS Global and Pay the application fee
After you’ve successfully accomplished the online application form, you will be asked to choose an appointment date to submit documents and provide biometrics. After choosing the desired appointment date you will have to pay the application fee.
4. Prepare the documents
Make sure you have all the documents ready when you apply. Documents that need to be submitted to VFS Global should be original copies. In addition to this, you will also need to present one set of photocopies.
5. Attend your appointment at the UK Visa Centre (VFS Global)
On the day of appointment submit your documents, after which, biometrics information will be collected such as photograph and a digital scan of your fingerprints. Collecting biometric information is a simple process which usually takes 10 minutes.
6. After Submission
After approval by the UK Immigration you can collect your passport by courier or in person from the UK Visa application Centre (VFS Global).
Validity & Stay period of the UK visa
Standard visitors will usually be granted 6 months UK visa unless they come here for medical treatment, in which case they may be granted visa up to 11 months stay. Under certain categories you can apply for a long-term visitor visa (e.g. 1, 2, 5 or 10 years). Visa holders may be allowed multiple entries into the UK. However, you will still be limited to staying for up to 6 months at any one time.
How soon before travelling to the UK should you apply?
The general rule of thumb is “the sooner the better”. You can apply for your UK visa months in advance, meaning the earliest you can apply is 3 months before your travel. For example, you can apply from the 10th April 2019 if you plan to travel on the 9th Jul 2019.
How long does it take to process a UK visa?
The normal processing time for visit visa to UK is 15 working days, however, the visa application process varies depending upon different factors. The visa application processing time may go up to 60 days, but it happens with only 3 to 5 percent of applications and over 90% applications are processed within 15 working days.
However, if you are on a tight timescale you can also opt for the Priority visa service at an additional charge, for your UK visa to be processed in 3 – 5 business days.
What if my UK visa is refused?
If you have had your visa refused, it may be because you did not provide adequate information about your planned activity, or that your intentions are better suited for a different visa category.
On your Appointment day
- You and every person applying with you (friends/family) must be present in person
- Arrive at the visa appointment centre 15 minutes beforehand
- Have the original documents and one set of photocopies ready to submit during the day of your VFS Global appointment
- Dress appropriately!
What Akbartravels.com can do for you
The UK immigration laws are extremely complex and constantly changing. They have a strict criterion relating to different type of UK visas. Therefore, it is essential you get the right advice from an expert to make sure your application is successful, the first time itself. Speak to our Visa Expert, who will work with you to ensure you are relieved of the stress and worry inherent with such applications. Our team will manage your application quickly and easily from start to finish. You can expect an excellent client care, timely and professional service from us.
Also Read: Tips to get UK Visa for Indians