A UK Standard Visitor Visa is one of the most common types of UK Visa, that enables the visa holder to visit the United Kingdom for a short period of time, as a tourist, to visit family or friends, undertake business activities, participate in an event or for special reasons such as receiving medical treatment. Standard visitor visas are multiple entry visas, issued with a validity of up to six (6) months, two (2) years. five (5) years and ten (10) years. However, irrespective of the visa type or validity, applicants will be permitted to stay in the UK for only six (6) months on each visit.
The following article explains the UK visa application process in a simplified manner. Moreover, it will answer your questions about which type of visa you need, how the application process works, what kind of documents you must prepare, and how long it takes to process a UK visa.
Step 1: Identity your visa type. The British High Commission issues a Standard visitor visa for up to 6 months, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years. Applicants travelling for short term purposes can apply for the popular 6-months multiple entry UK visa. Applicants who need to visit the United Kingdom more frequently can apply for a multi-entry visit visa that lasts either 2, 5 or 10 years respectively.
Step 2: Complete the online UK visa application form for each person applying for the visa regardless of age. (separate application forms are required for each applicant).
Step 3: Pay the non-refundable UK visa application fee online via debit or credit card. The UK visa fee payment must be made prior to applying for your visa and will be verified by the VFS officials at the time of the appointment. Print out the receipt and keep aside. Note that all visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable whether the visa for UK is approved or not.
- Standard Visitor visa – INR 10,299/- (6 months validity)
- 2 year long-term Standard Visitor visa – INR 34,649/- (6 months stay per visit)
- 5 year long-term Standard Visitor visa – INR 61,749/- (6 months stay per visit)
- 10 year long-term Standard Visitor visa – INR 76,999/- (6 months stay per visit)
Step 4. Book a visa appointment. After you have completed your online visa form and paid the fee, you must schedule an appointment for your Biometrics collection and and documents submission. All UK visa applications require an in-person appointment at the nearest UK visa application center in order to submit the application. Applications should be submitted through the VFS Global visa application center that is connected with the High Commission. A list of UK Visa application centers in India can be found here https://visa.vfsglobal.com/ind/en/gbr/attend-centre
Step 5: Gather the following documents for submitting your UK visa application at VFS center. (Many are denied UK visas due to incomplete file submission). Please ensure that you carry all the original documents along with photocopies.
- Passport which is valid up to six months after date of entry into the UK. (Carry old passports too).
- Completed online visa form.
- Signed UK visa document checklist.
- Copy of appointment confirmation page and fee payment receipt.
- Covering letter (optional): A detailed letter that mentions the purpose of visit, duration of stay, details of dependents travelling and any other information that is required for the officials to know.
- One recently clicked coloured photos on white background.
- Evidence of sufficient funds: You must show proof that you are able to pay for all costs relating to your UK trip and have the financial means to fund your living expenses as well as any dependents while in the UK. For instance, bank statements, personal assets and investments, property documents etc.
- If you have a financial sponsor (Spouse, parents or relative in UK) who is paying for your trip: Letter from the sponsor confirming details of the sponsorship, relationship proof, passport copy of the sponsor, bank statements of the sponsor of last three months.
- If you are travelling for business reasons: Covering letter (sponsorship letter) on the company letterhead, company bank statements of last three months, employee ID.
- If Employed: Leave sanctioned letter from the company, employee card, pay slips of last three months.
- If Self-Employed: Business registration documents, partnership deed, company bank statements of last three months, business card.
- If Retired: Pension book or statement.
- If Freelancer: Professional certificate (documents pertaining to the profession), contract copy (if consultant with a company), business card.
- For Students: School/college/institution ID card, Bonafide certificate.
- Itinerary for your trip: Submit a detailed travel plan of the places you plan to visit and what you intend to do. Include travel dates, destinations, scheduled tours, tourist attractions, meeting agendas, event timeline and so on.
- Reserved return airline ticket: Do not make final travel plans or book confirmed tickets as there is no guarantee that you will get the visa. If you still wish to book in advance for securing low airfares, it may be advisable to book a fully refundable ticket.
- If Visiting relatives or friends in the UK: Informal invitation letter from your host in the UK. Copy of your host’s passport, contact details and residential address of the host in the UK.
- Minor Applicant: Copy of parent(s) or legal guardian’s biodata page of the passport, birth certificate.
- For Business Visa: Original invitation letter from the UK company on the company letterhead, covering letter from the Indian company on company letterhead, registration certificate of the Indian company and other business related documents.
- Travelling for medical treatment or to attend social, musical or sports event: Submit documents pertaining to the purpose of travel. Letter from hospital for undergoing medical treatment / Invitation letter for participation in social/musical/sports event.
Step 6: Visit the UK Visa application center on the appointment date for submission of your visa application. As a rule, applicants should personally submit their visa applications, with all the necessary documents and provide biometrics. Your biometrics are extra identification i.e. fingerprinting and pictures that are stored for security purposes. Applicants who have submitted their fingerprints within the last 59 months will most likely not be asked to resubmit. Children below 5 years of age are exempted from fingerprint data collection, however they are required to be present at the time of submission for digital photograph.
After submitting all documents to the UK VFS Center, the processing period usually takes up to 3 weeks. However, it may be extended up to 30 days and/or exceptionally 60 days for individual cases, wherein a more detailed verification and processing is deemed necessary. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days before the date of travel but not earlier than 3 months before the date of travel.
Though, you will be notified over email and SMS (if you have opted for this service) about your visa application status, you can also track your visa application status online. Use the Reference Number present on the invoice/receipt issued by the Visa Application Centre along with your last name to access this service.
One of the most essential steps in planning your UK holiday is the UK visa application process. This is a major part of your journey, which requires special care and attention. Quite often, UK visa applications can turn out to be a complex and paper-heavy process. Moreover, once an application has been rejected, the chances of getting another refusal on a new application increases.
Why take the chance? Why risk your trip when you can hire Akbartravels.com to take the stress out of your application? Being the industry leaders for the past 40 years, we have helped several of our clients and customers successfully obtain their UK visas without any hassles. We, with our years of experience and knowledge will assist you at every step of your visa application process. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation and we can guide you on how to go about the entire visa application process. We will do everything in our power to ensure a smooth, pleasant and successful visa processing. We promise!