Guidelines for UK Visa

How to apply for a UK visa? - Everything you need to know!

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The UK visa is an official document which grants the holder the right to reside permanently or temporarily in the United Kingdom. This document can be in the form of a signature on your passport or a permit issued in your home country. 

If a visa is granted to you, it indicates that you are ready to access the United Kingdom and that you fulfill the basic visa conditions that you have been granted.

The reasons why individuals choose to apply for a visa are different because each visa comes in different types such as: Tourist visa, study visa or business visa.

How to Apply for a UK Visa?

The method of applying for a UK visa relies on the kind of the visa you apply for. Keep in mind that your visa form can correspond to one of the categories of the Point-Based Program. For each type, while most of the criteria are the same, the methods they are measured in the program vary. You can also find specific standards that differ from the type of visas.

When to apply for a UK visa?

You may apply for a Visa process as early as three months before the deadline of your planned visit to this country. Please remember that it can take a few weeks for your application to be processed. Therefore it's better to apply sooner so you can get your visa in time.   

Required documents of a UK visa

Whether your visa is acceptable or not, it will be decided by the UK authorities which will depend on the requirements of the type of visa you have applied for. Keep in mind that these requirements differ depending on the type of visa. Each type of visa can require different documents, papers or photos. If you want for your visa to be accepted then you should make sure that your visa fulfills those requirements.   

Please find below the general documents that you need to attach to your visa application:

  • Application form - The application form for a UK visa can be done in two ways: online through the official website or in person.
  • Biometric photographs - When applying for the UK visa you should make sure to attach two biometric photographs. If you want to learn more on how to get a UK visa photo online, check out our photo validator which can prepare a photo for you within a few seconds!
  • Unexpired passport - Your passport must be valid before you plan to travel. 
  • Evidence of finances - An evidence that says you have the sufficient funds to handle the living expenses in the UK.
  • Evidence that you have a place to stay at - This paper should also be attached to your application as it will serve as proof of lodging. 
  • Travel plan -  This is a type of schedule which includes all the details of what you are planning to do during your stay in the UK such as: places, dates, meetings etc.
  • Biometric data - Keep in mind that biometric data requires submitting a digital biometric photograph as well as fingerprints.
  • Invitation letter - This is optional, it is not a must to submit one. However, it might give an advantage in your visa application. 
  • UK visa payment - Submit the evidence that confirms your payment of the UK visa.

Additional documents for UK Visa application

Below you can find other documents that can be required if you are employed, under the age of 18 or documents to show at the entry point.

  • For those who have an employment status you will need to submit some evidence that confirms that you are employed by an institution. If you are self-employed, you will need to confirm the name of the individual who is in charge of the business and it’s start date.
  • Students who are studying in a certain institution will need to provide evidence of enrollment.
  • For minors under the age of 18, you will need to submit a certificate of birth.
  • At the point of entry, you will be required to submit the following documents: a passport and an arrival card.

UK visa point-based system

The Points-Based visa program in the UK is the main method for non-EEA citizens to access the United Kingdom to work, research and engage in immigration.

Immigrants that want to migrate to the United Kingdom would have to gain 70 points to apply for a UK visa which can be obtained through different ways.

  • Working in UK can grant the applicant a total of 40 points
  • 10 points can be gained if you can speak English at a certain level.
  • 20 points can be granted if you are paid at least £25,600 a year.
  • Other ways that grant points can be if you have a PhD or work in an area in which the UK needs.

Types of visas for UK

UK student visas

If you are a student and are looking to study in one of the United Kingdom’s educational institutions, then this visa is for you. First of all, to be eligible for the student visa you must be approved by the university or any other types of institution you plan to study in. Other requirements include a certain English level as well all a confirmation that you have been approved in a full-time course or part-time course. Keep in mind that part-time courses include postgraduate, master or doctorate degrees.

If you want to apply for such a visa you must make sure to do so six months before the start of your semester. Afterward, you will be provided with a reference number by the institution.

Make sure not to lose it as you will need it to register online. 

UK tourist visas

Many tourists are interested in visiting the United Kingdom every year. If you are looking to visit the UK then you should know that a tourist visa is the perfect option. The tourist visa can be long stays or short stays. Do know that the tourist visa can only be used for visiting purposes in the UK. You can not use it to find a job during your stay or apply for university. Keep in mind that the UK visiting visa can only be valid for 6 months. After that you will have to apply for a new one.

The Visa application form should be completed and submitted outside the UK. The time you should apply for the visa should be at least 1 month before your scheduled trip.

The steps you should proceed with are as follows:

  • Confirm that the visiting visa is available for you.
  • Fill up the online application form.
  • Pick up all the necessary documents.
  • Plan an interview and attend it.

UK business visas

A business visa is granted to people who want to travel to the United Kingdom for business purposes such as business meetings, conferences or other types of work.

This type of visa can also be granted to people who are looking to work in the UK as long as you have been sent an approval by the company you applied for.

The visa will be calculated with the Point-Based system so find the below how you can get these points and other requirements needed:

  • Based on your educational level you can get between 30 to 50 points
  • You can get some points depending on the fluency of your English language.
  • A minimum annual salary will be required, this can vary depending on the type of company you will be working at.
  • Once you have been offered the job and granted a visa, you will not be able to apply for other additional jobs in the UK
  • Be over the age of 16 years.

United Kingdom family visas

A family visa is granted to individuals who are looking to visit their families living in the UK. Therefore such a visa can not be granted for any other reasons. It can be issued whether you have a family member such as your partner, your parents, your children or other close relatives. 

The application process for the family visa is similar as to others. To apply for one, you and your relative whom you are visiting abroad must both sign some documents which confirm your relationship with one another. Other requirements are having a good fluency in English, be over the age of 18 and prove that you are financially supported during your stay in the United Kingdom. 

What you need to know when having a UK visa

As mentioned above, each visa is different depending on its type. Each visa has its own rules and regulations and once you break those rules, chances are that your visa will be rejected and you will be sent back to your country.

You can find below some information about visa regulations that you should know.

A visa usually:

  • Does not allow you to obtain a job or take part in other activities in the UK (even if you apply for a work visa, you can only stick to one job)
  • Does not allow you to use the public funds.
  • Does not allow you to stay in the UK if you have not signed the required documents at the official authorities.
  • Does not allow you to study in the UK unless you are granted a student visa.

How long does it take for a visa to be processed in the UK?

This can vary depending on the type of visa you apply for. A short answer would be between 3 to 4 weeks however keep in mind these elements below:

  • A visa can be delayed depending on the kind of visa. Some can take longer to be issued while some can take less time.
  • It can depend on the country you are applying for.
  • It can depend on the reason why you want this visa. If there is a specific reason that you need it quickly then chances are that it can take less time.
  • Also, the time to process a visa can depend on the number of applications sent to the processing center. Therefore if the number is high, do not expect your visa to be issued to you early. 

Reasons why the UK visa can be rejected

A visa is not always accepted and this depends on the following factors:

  • A visa will be rejected if you have not submitted all the required documents.
  • Rejection can also happen if there is missing or mismatching information with the submitted documents.
  • If you do not have the necessary financial funds to support your stay in the UK.
  • Your English language is not at the required level.

All in all, make sure that you submit every necessary document that is asked in the application papers and pay keen attention to them.

If your visa application is rejected you will have to reapply again and repay the fee.