A DIY guide to apply for UK Visa

With pandemic coming to an end (finger cross), travelling is coming back with full force. We have witnessed a chaotic summer in Heathrow airport and many major airports in Europe such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt. As Indonesian, we have our own challenges on top of navigating chaotic airports, which is securing our visa to enter the country.

I have always preferred to apply for Visa on my own because I’m too stingy to pay an agent fee for something that I can do. And if you multiply by 4 (the size of my family), the saving is not bad at all. Yes I manage my company’s finances for a living and I’m a Padangnese – Maybe that is why I’m stingy.

If you are planning to go to UK this coming December, start your VISA processing now because the visa processing time has gotten much longer Vs before Covid. UK needs 6 to 8 weeks to process standard Visa applications which started since the application is received. There is a priority Visa service which you can apply on a quota basis if you are willing to pay the extra money.

Let’s start!

What you need to know when applying for UK Visa

1. Choose the right Visa for your trip. If you are going to UK for tourism or business purpose and stay less than 6 months, you will need to apply for Visa as Standard Visitor.

2. Apply
Get started with your Visa application in Gov UK Website. If you’re applying with family members, each person must have their own application and pay the fee. They need to attend their own appointment at a visa application centre. You can apply on behalf of your partner and child, if they cannot apply for themselves.

You’ll need to provide the following information in your online application:
The dates you’re planning to travel to the UK
Where you’ll be staying during your visit
How much you think your trip will cost
Your current home address and how long you’ve lived there
Your parents’ names and dates of birth (if known)
How much you earn in a year (if you have an income)
Details of any criminal, civil or immigration offence you may have committed

Depending on your circumstances, if you apply for long-term Standard Visitor Visa, you might also need to provide:
Details of your travel history for the past 10 years
Your employer’s address and telephone number
Your partner’s name, date of birth and passport number
The name and address of anyone paying for your trip
The name, address and passport number of any family members you have in the UK
a certificate proving that you’ve had a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re visiting for more than 6 months

3. Pay your Fees

You can pass through the UK to another country on a Standard Visitor visa. But if transiting is your only reason for coming to the UK, you can apply for a Visitor in Transit visa instead for £64.

What I like about UK Visa is that once accepted you are guaranteed for a minimum of 6 months Visa, unlike Schengen Visa that only give you visa for the duration of your travel of maximum 1 month. With exception France, who gives you 3 months visa.

4. Book appointment.
You will be directed to VFS website to make appointment and you will be offered services from VFS which you can take for additional fee. For example below:

5. Upload your supporting documents
You can upload all the required documents to the system until 24 hours before the appointment date and when you come for your appointment, you only have to print the application form. This is what I like the most about UK Visa. I have always feel sad with all the trees needed to be chopped when I see a stack of printed supporting documents when I was applying for VISA.

6. Attend your appointment at the Visa Application center (VFS Office)
Print your appointment letter.
At your appointment, you’ll need to:
Prove your identity with your passport and bring 2 passport photo sized.
Have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken

7. Track your application to stay informed on the progress. You can do it from the VFS website or they will notify you if you buy additional notification service.

8. Collect your passport. You will receive notification when your passport has been returned and when your passport has been sent to courier for delivery. Since the pandemic, all passports will be delivered via courier and you are automatically charged a courier fee.

Which documents are required for the UK visitor visa?

Even though the process seem simple, there is a tricky part where UKVI only gives a vague guide on what documents are required to be submitted.

First and foremost, when submitting an application for a UK visitor visa, you will need to provide UKVI with a current passport which is valid for the entire period of your stay in the UK, ie; for up to six months. You can also provide any expired passports as evidence of your previous travel history.

Now let’s break down what UKVI needs to know for their decision making:

1. Purpose of your visit

The nature of your visit to the UK will determine the nature and extent of the documentation that you will need to provide. As a starting point, you should provide a detailed travel itinerary.

If you are coming to the UK for the purpose of undertaking business activities, you will need to provide evidence of your employment or occupation outside the UK, for example, a letter from your employer that specifies the business reason for your visit. You should also provide any letters from inviting organisation, and so on, to evidence your attendance at any meetings or conferences, etc.

2. Intention to leave

As part of the criteria for any temporary visa, you must show an intention to leave the UK at the end of your visit. As such, you will need to provide documentation of any personal, professional and economic ties outside the UK, including confirmation of your legal residence, as well as details of any employment or studies where you have stated in your application that you are either employed or in full-time education.

This could include an official letter from your employer, printed on company headed paper, detailing your role, salary, length of employment with a written statement that you are going to return to work for the company.

3. Sufficient funds

In respect of proving that you have sufficient funds to support and accommodate yourself while in the UK, you will need to provide proof of earnings or savings such as salary slips and bank statements etc.

You may also rely on evidence that the necessary financial support will be provided by a third party. You can prove this with a written undertaking from your “sponsor” ie relative, friend, business associate. There must however be a genuine personal or professional relationship and the financial support has to be available to you for the duration of your planned stay in the UK.

There is no set threshold or level of funds required to prove you have enough money to live on during your stay in the UK, but it is sensible to calculate and be able to show that the funds you are relying on, such as income and/savings, are sufficient to cover your existing financial commitments as well as the likely costs you will incur while in the UK without undertaking paid employment or accessing public funds.

The evidence of funds must also include the cost of your return or onward travel arrangements and any costs relating to dependant who will be travelling with you to the UK.

With the above objective in mind, here’s what you need to provide:

  • Your flight ticket booking, itinerary, and accommodation during your stay
  • Family Card/ Kartu keluarga and Marriage certificate to show you have ties in the country you are currently living and there is no risk that you are not going to leave UK
  • If you are travelling with your children, you need to provide student verification letter from their school and their birth certificate as a proof of family ties
  • If you are not travelling with your Husband and just your children, your husband need to provide a letter of consent.
  • If you are an employee you need to provide the following :
    – Employment letter from the company you work for, stating that you are applying for a Visa, travel date and that you will be coming back to work
    – Salary slip for 3 months. This needs to tally with your answer in the application on How much you earn in a year (if you have an income)
    – Bank account for 3 months with sufficient balance to show that you have enough money to fund for your travel in UK. The balance need to be higher than what you input at the application when you answer How much you think your trip will cost
  • If you are self-employed or entrepreneur then you need to provide the following:
    – Deed of Incorporation of the company you own
    – Your company Bank account
    – Your Bank account for 3 months with sufficient balance to show that you have enough money to fund for your travel in UK. The balance need to be higher than what you input at the application when you answer “How much you think your trip will cost”‘
  • If you are not working you need to provide your sponsor’s detail and his/her financial information such as his employment status and Bank account.

One thing worth mentioning is UKVI is not mandating their visitors to purchase Travel Insurance as requirement. Nevertheless if you are not on business trip it is always advisable to purchase travel insurance to avoid disruptions during travel which can be costly.

I hope this tips help. Good Luck with getting your Visa and enjoy your trip!

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