So here you are, finally ready to go on that trip to the UK you’ve been dreaming of for quite a while. You’ve filed for leave from work, your passport is updated, and you’ve got your travel plans all mapped out. All you need now is your visa. As harrowing an experience as that can be for some of us, there are some ways to make the application process a little less of an ordeal than it already is. Read on for some tips and reminders that’ll have you calm and collected come interview day.
Trust the Website
All the information you need can be found at www.gov.uk. The site lists down all of the documents you should prepare and what fees you’ll be expected to pay for the visa you are applying for. It also shows you how to book an appointment and where you should go once you have a date scheduled.
Use the Appropriate Form
First, find out what visa type you are applying for. As there are several kinds of visas, make sure you are filling up the appropriate form. The earliest you can apply is three months before your expected travel date. If there’s anything you are unsure about, consult the site. https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa has all the information you need about short stays in the UK. All you need to do is read up on the requirements for the visa you intend to apply for.
It is better to show up with nothing than to make up something in terms of requirements. The website lists down all the supporting documents you will need to provide and the steps are pretty straightforward. Just don’t lie on your application. Not only will it reflect badly on you and get your visa denied, but any future applications will be tainted by any misleading information you put forward on this one.
If it is your first time applying, opt for the visa which allows for the shortest stay. It’s cheaper and you won’t feel as bad in case you don’t get it. A standard visitor visa costs GBP89 as compared to the fee for a long term stay which is GPB337. Plus, that application requires you to prove that you have a frequent and ongoing need to return to the UK.
No Need for a Third Party
A travel agency doesn’t increase your chances. If you can do it on your own, go for it. All you need to do is prove that you can support yourself financially while traveling, that you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit, and you’re able to pay for your return journey home. Again, just be sure to fill in your application form correctly and arrive on your interview date with all your supporting documents.
After submitting your application, sit tight and wait. It usually takes three weeks for the decision to come through.
Silence your Phones
There was once a no cellphone rule once inside the embassy. You either leave your phone at home or you pay an extra fee in cash for the embassy personnel to store it for you. According to the website, the rule seems to have been updated to state that mobile phones just need to be switched to silent and that no electronic devices are allowed in the VAC. Just to be sure though, leave your laptops and gadgets at home. Also, bring some money with you on the day, in case there are any fees that need paying on the spot.
While there’s never a guarantee on decisions regarding visa applications, it always helps to follow the requirements, fill the forms up properly, and present yourself well on the day of your interview. One may be tempted to go over the top but please restrain yourself and stick to a clean, well-polished look. Ladies, no ball gowns or cocktail dresses, please. For the gentlemen, at least wear shoes and trousers with a clean shirt. As long as you have read and followed all the steps, provided the correct supporting documents, and have an updated passport, your application should be fine and your approved visa should arrive in the mail within the next month or so. Happy travels!