What Is UK Visa and How to Apply

Here's how you can apply for UK visa.

The United Kingdom attracts the sixth largest number of tourists in the world, with the number touching almost 40 million in 2018. From the medieval castles to the majestic scenery in Wales and Scotland and, of course, the landmarks of London, Britain has been blessed with a plethora of attractions. The UK is also the second most attractive destination for students worldwide, with 458,520 international students attending university in the UK as of 2017/2018.

What is UK Visa?

If you wish to visit this country that boasts such a rich history, you will need to apply for a UK visa.A UK visa is essentially a stamp on your passport that permit you to enter the country and travel within it. There are different types of visas available for different purposes, such as for tourists, those who wish to conduct business in the nation, students who wish to enroll in an educational program, those seeking medical treatment in the UK and so on.

Remember, the UK visa does not give you permission to enter any other country in Europe. Unlike the Schengen Visa, which gives you entry into all the Schengen countries, the UK visa is only recognized within Britain. Also, citizens of a member country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not need a visa to visit, work or live in the UK. However, this might change soon, post-Brexit.

In addition, if you are visiting Europe as a diplomat or due to official government work for your country, you don’t need a visa. You can check whether you need a UK visa here.

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How to Apply for UK Visa?

Here’s how you can apply for a UK visa.

Step 1 – Determining the right visa type 

To apply for a UK visa, you first need to determine the type of visa you require, and the documents needed in support of the application. The process can be completed online on the UK Visas and Immigration website. The type of visa you apply for will be determined by the purpose of your visit to the UK. These include:

  • UK Tourist Visa – For those who wish to enter the country for tourism purposes only.
  • UK Transit Visa – Those who need to change their mode of transport in the UK for an onward journey to another country.
  • UK Work Visa – Those who have been hired for a job based in the UK.
  • UK Study Visa – Those who wish to pursue education in the UK.
  • UK Business Visa – Those who wish to attend business meetings, conferences, seminars, etc.
  • UK Family Visa _ Those who wish to visit family members living in the UK
  • UK Settlement Visa – For the partner, spouse, child or dependent relative of a person currently settled in the UK

Step 2 – Apply online 

You will need to fill out an online application form for your visa. While submitting the filled form, you will also need to submit certain mandatory documents, proving your identity, financial ability to fund your stay in the UK, and your travel history. Be careful to fill in accurate and complete information in the form because if the information doesn’t match the submitted documents, your application is likely to be rejected. If applying for a family member, the details and travel history of that person should be available with you.

Step 3 – Visa application appointment

After submitting the form and documents, you will need to pay the visa fee. Using the confirmation of application submission and the visa fee receipt, you will need to schedule an appointment online to appear at the visa application center. Don’t forget to bring all mandatory and supporting documents, as well as the confirmation of application and fee receipt to the appointment.

Step 4 – Visa interview

At the visa application center, you will need to provide your biometric information, which includes your fingerprints and photograph. The person submitting the application must attend the interview in person and cannot send anyone else in their place. The photograph would be taken without any sunglasses or tinted glasses and your face should be clearly visible without any hair across the eyes.

Step 5 – Documentation pick up

After the completion of the visa application, the documents can be picked up from the visa application center. Collection has to be done in person or by courier.

After that, all you need to do is wait for the UK consulate/embassy to process your application. In most cases, it takes between 10 to 15 days to receive a response. However, the time period will depend on the workload at the consulate/embassy at that point in time. You can track the status of your application online, through the account you would have created to fill the online application form.

Got questions? Please ask us in comments.

Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of stories to share about international travel and immigration. Add me on WhatsApp if you have any queries (+001-408-489-4785).

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