UK Here We Go!
You may be one of many Filipinos who dream of going abroad. May it just be for a visit or residence, going to foreign countries like the UK can be a reach. But dread not; getting a UK visa is actually quite easy. But first things first, for those who don’t know, a visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.
In this guide, we will be discussing on how to get that UK visa.
1. Identify your Visa Type
Before entering UK, there are different types of visas to choose from depending on your purpose of visiting the country.
For this guide, however, we will be discussing how to get the Short-Term Standard Visitor Visa which allows tourists 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
The eligibility requirements for such visa includes the proof of the following:
- Temporary stay in the UK
- Financial capacity for the entire trip
- Proof of business or activities within the UK permitted by the Visitor Rules
Note: The Visitor Rules are a list of permitted activities under the Standard Visitor Visa. You can check the rules here.
2. Accomplish the Online Application Form
As most transactions and registrations these days, applying for the UK visa is done online. Before you can proceed with the registration online, your email needs to be verified first. Once your email is verified, you can click on the “Apply For Myself” page.
In applying for a Standard Visit visa, you need to select the following under the “Select Visa Type”.
- Reason for Visit: Visit
- Visa Type: Tourism
- Visa Sub Type: Visa – Tourism – 6 months
You will be asked important questions during the application. Such questions may include about intended travel dates, accommodations and contact information in the United Kingdom, estimated cost of the trip, personal information about family, hometown, birthdays, personal income and source of income and many more.
3. Book an appointment at VFS Global and Pay the application fee
Once you have successfully filled up the application form, you need to select an appointment date at the nearest visa application center.
For Filipino residents, you can drop by either one of the VFS Global centers’ addresses:
- VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
- Mezzanine Floor Unit MO1, Ecoplaza Building,
- 2305 Chino Roces Avenue Extension
- Makati City, Metro Manila 1231
- VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
- 9th Floor, Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop
- Cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue,
- Cebu Business Park,
- Cebu City 6000F
After you chose your desired date and place for application, you will have to pay the application fee, where the Standard Visitor fee costs around £93 or 6,385.36 in Philippine pesos.
4. Prepare the required documents
What you need to prepare once you’re in the VFS global are the original and one set of photocopies of the following:
- Passports and other travel documents
- Current passport
- Must be valid 6 months from intended travel date
- Have at least two pages for the arrival and departure stamps
- Previous passports (if any) for travel history
- Front and back of current and previous visas
- Bio page of current visa
- Valid and expired visas
- Proof of income
- Certificate of Employment
- Income Tax Return
- Proof of Financial Capacity
- Bank Certificate
- Employee Contract
- Payslips from the last 6 months
- Sample Itinerary
- Provide a run-down of accommodations, activities, and places you’ll be visiting during your visit with corresponding date
- Flight ticket reservation
- If you’ve already booked both departure and return tickets, you may also include the reservation vouchers in your application
- Hotel reservation
- If you’ve already booked all accommodations for your trip, you may also include the reservation vouchers in your application
- You can also pre-book some of your accommodations visa booking.com. Just find a accommodation that offers free cancellation and temporarily book it to present as part of your application. After, you may choose another accommodation if you change your mind once you have your visa!
- Approved Leave Letter
- This will help prove that you are currently employed and have reason to return to the Philippines
- VFS Global Appointment Letter
- After confirming your appointment, you will be sent a confirmation email. Print this out and include this in your application
- Just to be sure, consider including these supporting documents in your application:
- Details of travel history from the last 10 years
- Details of your current residence
- Parents: Name, Address, Birthday, Passport Number
- Partner: Name, Address, Passport Number
- Relative/Friend living in the UK: Name, Address, Passport Number
- Details of Criminal Record and Immigration offenses
Make sure that each document is present to ensure a smooth application process while you’re in the global centers.
5. Submission of requirements and biometrics on appointment day
On the day of your scheduled appointment, take note of the following:
- Make sure to be at the VFS Global Center you’ve chosen on your select date at least 15 minutes beforehand. Entry is restricted and is done per interview time – so best be there early.
- Upon entrance, you will be asked to place your personal belonging inside a locker – including your cellular phone. All you need is your application documents and yourself.
- Have the original documents and one set of photocopies ready to submit during the day of your VFS Global appointment.
- You will be asked if you want to avail of the SMS Service (around P150-P200) which will provide you with a status of your application. Make sure to bring cash!
- Wait your turn for the biometrics (fingerprints and photo)
- Dress appropriately!
Important note: do not submit the supporting documents mentioned above unless you are instructed to do so. You may, however, feel free to mention you have prepared the said documents, just in case.
6. Wait and collect your passport at VFS Global
Now you have done the hard part, you just need to wait around 5 to 15 business days for your visa to be processed and approved. If you are in a rush, these centers offer the Priority Visa Service for a fee of Php 10,000 and shortens the processing time to 3-5 business days.
If you availed of the SMS service, you will be sent updates regarding the status of your visa application, including if it is ready to be claimed at the VFS Global office.
Once you’ve finally got that precious UK Visa, you may now board up that next flight and explore the wonders of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Lots of tourist spots and ancient history can be seen in these beautiful places. And in like most vacation trips, always be careful wherever you go.