Large number of people visit UK every year and they do so for different reasons like sightseeing, working, or studying. People from the countries in the European Union (EU) can enter the UK without any visa whereas people form the rest of the world need to acquire a visa in order to enter into the country for any reason.
Once you get the visa for the UK, you can enter the country through any means, like land, sea or air. Attaining a visa means you have obtained the rights to enter into the country and travel freely within the country as you like subject to some rules and regulations.
Here we have explained the whole process of attaining a visa for UK along with suggestions to you regarding the process.
Understanding the Visa Application
Application for a UK visa is not much different from the application for visas in other countries. There are various categories of visa for UK and the process of application for visa.
Also the service needed to be used for the application of visa differs according to the type of the visa. If you are applying for a tourist or short stay visa you can apply using the Access UK service for a:
- Standard Visitor visa
- Marriage Visitor visa
- Permitted Paid Engagement visa
You will have to provide the required information by signing in if you already have an account. You can sign up for one if you do not have an account of Access UK.
For any other type of visa, you will have to go through the online Visa4UK service. If you are thinking about working or studying in the UK, you can visit the Visa4UK site. Here as well, you will have to create an account if you are applying for the visa for the first time. You can fill the required fields in case you already have an account.
Follow the following steps if you want to attain a visa for your stay in the UK:
- Find out if you need a UK visa.
- Choose the right UK visa type.
- Complete the online application form.
- Collect the required documents for a UK visa application.
- Schedule a UK visa appointment.
- Attend the UK visa interview.
- Do you need a UK Visa?
People from all the countries in the world do not require a visa for travelling to the UK. You may not need a visa in order to travel to the UK depending on your nationality. The following people will not need to apply for a visa to travel to England, Scotland, Wales or the Northern Ireland:
- A citizen of European Economic Area (EEA).
- A Swiss citizen.
- A Commonwealth citizen.
You may proceed with the following steps if you do not feel the aforementioned requirements.
Choosing the Right Type of Visa for UK
Your purpose for visiting the UK largely affects the type of visa you need and the application process for attaining that visa. You might need to attain one of the following types of visa in order to visit the UK for your purpose:
- UK Visit Visa—for those who wish to enter UK to visit friends or family members, for holidays, business, private medical treatment, to get married, etc.
- UK Transit Visa—for those who need to pass through UK in transit while travelling to another country.
- UK Work Visa—for those who wish to get involved in a paid activity in the UK.
- UK Study Visa—for all those who wish to travel to the UK to enroll at a course/university for study or research. If your study is short-term you ought to apply for a UK short-term study visa. Whereas, if you need a long-term permission to stay in the UK, you have to apply for a Tier 4 Visa.
- Other visas—which include visas to set a business in UK, visas to join a family member living in the UK
Fill the online application form
After you decide which type of UK visa you need, you can fill out an online application form in order to obtain the visa of your need. You will need to fill the following details in the form:
- your name and surname
- country of residence
- marital status
- personal number
- passport number
- reason for wishing to enter the UK
- other information about your application
Alert: Be careful while filling out the online application form. Your application will be rejected if the information in the form doesn’t match with the information in the other required documents.
Gather the documents needed for a UK visa application
You will need to mandatorily submit some documents while applying for a visa in the UK. The following documents are required mainly in order to apply for a visa:
- A UK visa application form – fully completed and printed.
- Passport or travel document – valid for the entire period of stay in the UK and having at least one blank page.
- Two passport-sized colored photographs – taken last six months, in color, in the format of 45mm high x 35mm wide.
- Biometric information (if applying for a visa for longer than six months) – Fingerprints and photographs must be offered at the application center when applying for the visa.
- Detailed travel itinerary. Information about your travel plans, to the UK along with plane tickets, places you will visit, meeting agenda, booked tour, festival agenda, or others. To learn how to make flight reservation without paying visit the article.
- Letter of invitation for UK visa. It must be written by a citizen or legal resident of the United Kingdom, with whom you have family ties or friendship.
- Document to confirm a paid UK visa fee.
Schedule a UK visa appointment
There are UK Visa application centers across the world. You will need to choose one among the Visa application centers to take a Visa appointment. You can take the email confirming the details of your appointment and take it with you to the UK visa application center you have chosen to attend. You will also need to take the required documents along with the printed email.
You must take the original documents to the interview. You also need to be conscious whether the documents have any sort of mistakes or not. Also note that you need to book the appointment on your own name, not someone else’s.
Attend the UK visa interview
Your biometric information will be asked by the UK Visa Application Center. Your biometric information means your photograph and a digital scan of your fingerprints.
Attending the visa application center in person for an interview is compulsory for every applicant including children. An adult must accompany the applicants below 18 years of age.
Apply for a UK Visa from USA
There are some specific procedures to be followed by UK Visa applicants from the USA. US citizens do not need to apply for a UK visitor visas, but they must apply for visas in the Points Based System.
In addition, US green card holders may be required to apply for a UK visa if they hold a citizenship of a country that does not have a visa facilitation agreement with the UK.
UK Visa Application Denial
You need to be careful during the whole application process for the UK Visa. Even small mistakes can lead to the rejection of your application by the UK Home Office. Not every Visa applications are accepted. Some of the common rejections for visa application are as follows:
- Missing Documents
- Applying for the wrong type of visa
- Failure to prove you have the financial means to support your stay in UK
- Fraudulent documents
- You have overstayed in a previous trip
- Criminal history
How to Appeal Against the UK Visa Denial?
Do not worry. You have the right to question the decisions of the authorities. You will also be notified about the reasons in case your application for the UK visa gets rejected. You can appeal against the decision or rejection for visa following the procedure mentioned below:
- Fill in Form IAFT-2, which is an appeal form
- Submit it to the UK Immigration and Asylum Chamber
- This body will send the documents will be forwarded to the relevant authorities
- A new decision will be taken and communicated to the applicant in writing
- You can also work out on the previous mistakes and file a new application for visa.
Can I Extend my UK Visa? It is possible for the possessors of UK visa to extend the date of their visas. The extension of your visa also depends on the type of UK visa that you hold. If you are in the UK on a standard visitor visa, you will be eligible to apply for a visa extension as long as the total time you spend in the UK is less than 6 months.