Visa Application Guide Series: How to Apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa


Source: Alexnevzorov, Wikipedia

Are you a Filipino planning to apply for a UK Standard Visitor visa? Here are some things you need to know.

It is important to note that UK Standard Tourist applications are processed by a third party, VFS Global – an official partner of UK Visas and Immigration. VFS provides you a variety of options, even expedited/rush applications for a large sum of money.

IMPORTANT NOTE #1: It is recommended that you apply for your Standard Visitor Visa 3 months before you travel.
IMPORTANT NOTE #2: Processing time (from the time you apply at VFS to passport pick-up) normally takes 3 weeks.
IMPORTANT NOTE #3: The Standard Visitor Visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months ONLY, but it does allow for multiple entry. You can visit the UK as often as you want within the 6 months given (that would be impractical though)

Visa Processing Centers

VFS Processing Center in Cebu City

You can only process your application at the following locations:

MANILA

VFS Global Services Philippines Pty Ltd.

VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc., Mezzanine Floor Unit M01, Ecoplaza Building, 2305 Chino Roces Avenue Extension Makati City, Metro Manila 1231

Business hours: Monday to Friday, 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Prime time appointment: Monday to Friday, 6:00 AM - 7:00 AM

Passport collection: Monday to Friday, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Walk-in hours: Monday to Thursday, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

CEBU

Applying visa this visa application center requires an additional payment of £55. You have to pay the fee upon booking your appointment online or at the center itself. If you are exempt from the visa application fee, you do not have to pay anything.

VFS Global Services Philippines Pty Ltd.

VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc., 9th Floor, Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop, cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City 6000

Business hours: Monday to Friday, 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Passport collection: Monday to Friday, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Processing Options

1. DIY Application (Cost: Visa fee)

If you want the traditional route of researching your visa type yourself, applying through Gov.uk, to picking up your documents (no courier services), choose the “I will do it myself” option from the VFS menu: https://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/ph/en/how-to-apply

2. Fast-Track (Cost: P4,626 + visa fee)

Only available at the Manila processing centre. 

If you prefer to make your UK Standard Tourist visa slightly more convenient, select the “Make my application easy and fast” option. This option includes:

  • Walk-in without appointment when it comes to submitting your application
  • Courier service to get your passport delivered to your preferred location
  • SMS/text service to inform you about the progress of your application
  • Application and document checks, where a VFS personnel will verify if all your submitted documents are accurate and complete

3. Personalised Help Package (Cost: P6,600 + visa fee)

Only available at the Manila processing centre

Select “Get VFS Global to do it for me” if you want the help of VFS from start to finish. This Gold Premium Package includes the following: 

  • Walk-in without appointment when it comes to submitting your application
  • Courier service to get your passport delivered to your preferred location
  • SMS/text service to inform you about the progress of your application
  • Application and document checks, where a VFS personnel will verify if all your submitted documents are accurate and complete
  • Sit inside the Premium Lounge, while waiting for your application to be processed

What Type of Visa You Need

Just to be sure, verify what kind of visa you will need to apply for here: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa

This article is about applying for a Standard Visitor Visa. So if you are applying for something else, this article may not be the right one for you.

The Standard Visitor Visa is for Filipinos who intend to go to the UK:

  • on holiday to see their families or friends;
  • for a business trip, to take part in sports or other events; or
  • for medical tourism/to receive medical treatment.

Documents to Prepare

Prepare these at least 1 month ahead of your planned appointment date. Some documents might take a long time to be delivered to your home.

Before we proceed with the steps, we need to ensure that you have (or will have, at the time of your appointment) the following documents:

  1. Your original passport, valid for at least 6 months from the planned date of your arrival in the UK. Your passport must have a six-month validity from your expected arrival date in the US. If not, you will need to renew your passport. To schedule for your passport renewal will take time, from 2-6 months, depending on which city/province you are applying in. To set an appointment, click here. Click this link to read more about renewing your Philippine Passport. To date, the earliest available slot in DFA Cebu is in October 2018.
  2. Your old passports, especially those with visas from the US, Canada, Schengen, Australia and New Zealand in them
  3. Bank Statement – showing transactions from the last 3 months
  4. Bank Certification – issued by your bank
  5. Tax returns
  6. An employment letter printed on company header which includes your designation, salary, and length of employment.
  7. For students: A letter from your school confirming your enrolment during the semester and with permission for you to be absent on the days you are planning to go to the UK.
  8. For business owners: Business registration documents with your name and date you started with your business operations.
  9. Proof of properties, if any. Vehicle registrations are not required.
  10. If someone else is is providing financial support to you, documents that show they have sufficient resources/funds to shoulder your stay.
  11. Letter of invitation if someone else is providing financial support or if you will be staying at their homes. The letter should include their UK address.

Remember to photocopy all the original documents: your valid passport and all your old passports. You can download the list of supporting documents here

All documents must be in English. Or translated to English.

STEP 1: Apply Online

This will take less than an hour if all the documents set out below are in order.

Apply online at https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/alt-language-selection-skip-visa.

You will be asked to key in your email address (they will send your details here) and to create a strong password before you can proceed with filling in the information. This process will take you less than an hour.

Do note that you can save your application and go back to it. Also, if you are inactive for 25 minutes you will be automatically logged out so make sure you have all the documents ready when you fill in this online form. Also make sure that you have a reliable internet connection.

Fill in the application form in English. They will ask for your:

  1. Passport number, issue date and expiry date of your valid/latest passport
  2. Passport number, issue date and expiry date of all your old passports
  3. Your home address (must have proof such as bills addressed to you in your home or tenancy agreement if you are renting)
  4. Your phone number
  5. Your current job and job description
  6. Your employer, employer’s address, employer’s email address and phone/fax number
  7. Your monthly salary after taxes
  8. The countries where you travelled to during the last 10 years, including the months and year you travelled to these countries
  9. Financial information – how much money you have in the bank. The amount should match the bank certification which you will submit later on.
  10. Names of your family members in the UK
  11. Names of those who will be supporting you financially during your trip
  12. Dates when you will be travelling to the UK
  13. Address where you will be staying in the UK
  14. Purpose of your trip (Tourism, since this is a Standard Tourist Visa application)
  15. If you are travelling with someone/a group, names of those who are travelling with you.

Do not exit the page. You will be asked to review your application before proceeding to the payment process

STEP 2: Pay the Visa Fee

This will take less than 10 minutes if you pay by debit or credit card online.

A Standard Tourist Visa is valid for 6 months and you can apply for single-entry or multiple-entry. As of July 2018, these are the costs:

  • Short-term (up to 6 months, and can be single or multiple entry): US$130            
  • Longer-term (valid for up to 2 years): US$ 489
  • Longer-term (valid for up to 5 years): US$888
  • Longer-term (valid for up to 10 years): US$1,114

Pay online. You will be directed to a secure online payment. Key in your credit or debit card details. Wait for the confirmation page. They will also send you an email containing the receipt once your payment goes through.

Print out your form.

STEP 3: Book an Appointment via VFS Global

This will take less than 10 minutes.

You need to create an account at the VFS Global page. This allows you to set your appointment for your biometric scanning, photo taking and submission of documents to support your UK Standard Visa aplication. You can opt for a Group Appointment Booking if you are travelling with your family or a group.

Print out your DOCUMENT CHECKLIST, which contain details of your application, your reference number (with barcode), your appointment date, time and address where you will need to show up. Check the documents that you will submit to support your application.

STEP 4: Show Up at Your Appointment

Source: PBS.org

Depending on the number of people, the processing will take 30 minutes to 2 hours.

During your appointment date, make sure you show up at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time. And remember to bring the following:

  • A printed copy of your visa application
  • Your checklist with the barcode
  • Your valid passport with 1 copy of the details page
  • Your old passports with copies of the details page
  • All your supporting documentation (originals and copies).

NOTE: They will not return your original supporting documents so make sure you only submit the copies. The only originals that you ought to submit are:

  • Your passport
  • Old passports
  • Bank certification
  • Bank statements
  • Certificate of Employment

At the VFS center, a staff will check all your documents before you are provided a priority number. Present all your documents, including the checklist.

You will then receive a priority number. Wait for your number to be called.

Once called, proceed to your assigned counter. The attendant will once again check your documents.

If everything is in order, you will be asked to wait for your number to be called again for the biometric information collection. You will be handed a receipt. DO NOT LOSE THIS RECEIPT as you will need this for the collection of your passport.

Once called, you will be asked to scan all 10 fingerprints, and your photo will be taken on-site. Remove all your headgear or glasses for the photo taking.

After the biometric check, you will be handed another receipt. Keep the receipt. This means you already have 2 receipts to safekeep.

NOTE: Your passport and old passports will be submitted along with your application. Your passports (old and current) will be returned to you after processing.

Wait for the Decision

Waiting time will be 15 to 30 working days.

Now all you have to do is wait for your decision. Processing will take between 15 to 30 working days, depending on your visa type and the documents you submitted. Normally, the UK Standard Tourist Visa will be processed in 15 working days though.

Good luck!

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