Why should I submit a UK Visa application?
If you’re an overseas national that wishes to spend time in the UK, you will need to apply for a visa. There are a number of different visa categories that pertain to the different reasons why an individual may need to reside in the UK for a period of time.
The categories range from Visitor Visas, for those who wish to spend time in the UK for business or leisure purposes, to Spouse Visas, for those who wish to settle in the UK with their partner. Successfully obtaining a visa is dependent on satisfying a number of eligibility requirements.
Being granted a visa demonstrates that you are permitted to spend an allocated period of time in the UK. The application process can be complex and long-winded. With this in mind, it is advised that you seek assistance from a lawyer to maximise your chances of success.
Our London immigration lawyers are here to help. Contact us on 020 3883 6530 for immediate assistance.
Preparing and Submitting your UK Visa Application
Before you start your application process, you must check if you need a UK visa and what is the relevant permission for your circumstances. Seeking professional advice can make this procedure less onerous and complicated.
What documents will I need for my UK visa application?
Whilst the most central part of the visa application process is the completion of the application form, you will also be required to submit a number of supporting documents. The purpose of this accompanying portfolio of evidence is to demonstrate that you are eligible for the visa that you are applying for.
Each visa has different requirements, and therefore different documentation to submit. It is important to check the guidance and document checklist for the specific visa you are applying for.
There are certain documents that you need to submit for all applications:
- Two passport-sized photographs
- A valid passport with at least one blank page
- A fully-completed UK visa application form that is signed where necessary
- Documentation that proves you meet the financial requirements for your chosen visa
- A certified translation of any aspect of your application that is not written in English or Welsh
- Evidence that your visa fees have been paid
- Biometric information needed to grant your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You can obtain this information at your nearest visa application centre
What is the process involved with applying for a UK visa?
The exact process involved with applying for your visa will depend on the type being applied for. However, there are some aspects of the process that are relevant to all types of applications.
- The full completion of your application form. This can be done either on paper or online
- Submit all of the necessary paperwork- including the application form and all supporting documentation- to the Home Office. It is important to pay the fee before you do this.
- When your application is initially checked by the Home Office, they may contact you if any additional documentation is required.
- You will be informed of when you can have your biometric information collected. It is possible that you may need to attend an interview in relation to this.
- The Home Office will conduct an in-depth examination of your application to decipher whether or not you meet all of the requirements.
- You will then receive a letter that informs you of whether or not your application has been approved.
- In the event of your application being approved, you should receive your Biometric Residence Permit within 10 days
Do I need a visa?
Not all individuals that travel to the UK will require a visa. For example, citizens of the EEA, the Commonwealth and Switzerland tend not to be subject to immigration control. Therefore, there are able to travel to and from the UK without restrictions.
If you do need a visa, it is hugely important that you establish which type you require. The UK offers a range of different visas that pertain to different needs and circumstances, from Family Visas to Student Visas.
The following types of visas are offered by the UK:
- Student Visas: for international adults and young people who wish to study in the UK.
- Work/Investor Visas: for those that have an offer of employment from a UK-based sponsor, or wish to start a business in the UK.
- Family/Partner Visas: for those who wish to reside in the UK with their British partners or family on a long-term basis.
- UK Visitor Visas: aimed at those who wish to enter the UK on a short-term basis for leisure or business purposes. Also perfect for those who wish to enter the UK whilst in transit to a different country.
- Settlement applications: this includes Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), the EU Settlement Scheme and full British citizenship. In order to obtain this form of leave to remain, an individual must have already been lawfully resident in the UK for a period of time.
Does my supporting documentation need to be certified?
When you apply for a visa, it is important to demonstrate to the Home Office that all of your supporting documentation is legitimate.
To do this, they to be certified by a professional and upstanding member of society.
The person you choose for this must be a valuable member of the community.
The following professions are deemed eligible by the Home Office:
- Ministers of religion
- Dentists and doctors
- Teachers or lecturers
- Officials of a bank or other financial institution
- Chartered accountants
The person you choose must not be:
- In a relationship with you
- Related to you
- Resident in the same address
- Representing you in your visa application
If there is a strict timeframe within which you must receive a decision on your visa application, it is possible to have it processed quicker than usual. For those in this situation, you can opt for the Priority or Super Priority service.
It is important to bear in mind that choosing a premium service will require you to pay an additional fee. Further to this, opting for either the Priority or Super Priority service will not increase your chances of an approval.
For those that choose the Priority service, you ought to receive a decision on your application within five working days.
For those that opt for the Super Priority service, you ought to receive a decision on your application within one working day.
For more information regarding the Priority Application service, get in touch with our London immigration lawyers today. Our Fast-Track Application Package is perfect for those facing tight time constraints when applying for a visa.
Will I be charged for healthcare as part of my UK visa application?
If you are a non-EEA citizen applying for a UK visa, you will be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your application. Paying the Immigration Health Surcharge enables visa holders to access the vast majority of NHS services with no extra cost. You will receive the same services as ordinary citizens- despite the fact you have to pay, you will not receive preferential treatment.
The services not covered by the surcharge are:
- Eye tests
All other services- such as GP and hospital appointments- are covered by the surcharge.
The surcharge must be paid either when submitting the form or booking your biometrics appointment. For applications made by post, it is important that you include your HIC number on your form. This will act as proof of payment.
Will I need to undergo a Tuberculosis test as part of my visa application?
When applying for a UK visa, residents of certain countries will need to take a Tuberculosis test. This will only be necessary if the intention is to remain in the UK for six months or more. The test must be taken at an approved clinic.
There are some groups who are exempt from the test. These are:
- Individuals who been resident for at least six months in a country where TB screening is not necessary
- Children under the age of 11
- Returning UK citizens after having been away for more than 2 years
- Pregnant women who have opted to take the test after giving birth
- Children who have been recommended not to take the test by a recognised paediatrician
The Tuberculosis test takes the form of a chest x-ray.
What happens if my visa application is refused?
As a part of your application, you will be asked to pay a healthcare surcharge. This must be paid when submitting your form, or when you book an appointment to have your biometrics collected.
If you are applying by post, you need to include your HIS reference number on your form as proof of payment.
You only need to pay for healthcare if you are requesting to stay in the UK for more than six months, and you do not intend to apply to settle permanently in the UK.
Once you have paid your fees, and if your application is successful, you can start using the National Health Service (NHS).
However, you may still need to pay for certain services, such as dental treatment, prescriptions and eye tests.
What happens if my application is successful?
If you are successful in your application for a visa, you will be given a vignette by the Home Office. This takes the form of a sticker that is added to a page in your passport. The vignette will display both the type of visa you possess, and the terms and conditions of your leave.
There are some situations in which you will be required to register your details with the UK police prior to receiving your vignette.
For applicants who submit their passport alongside their application form and supporting documents, your passport will be returned with you vignette already inside. For those who do not, you can pick your vignette up from your nearest visa application centre.
How do I obtain my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?
A Biometric Residence Permit is required for any individual who intends to stay in the UK for six months or more. If you have been granted entry clearance for this period of time, you will be required to go and collect your BRP. You can choose where you collect your BRP from when you are completing your visa application form.
It must be collected either before your vignette expires or within ten days of arriving in the UK.
If there is an error in your vignette or BRP, you must inform the Home Office as quickly as possible. It must be reported no later than three months after your date of entry. If it is not, your visa will become invalid.
How do I appeal against a refusal?
If you are unhappy with the Home Office’s decision on your visa application, you will have 28 days to appeal against it.
You can apply online or send an appeal form via post or fax. In certain circumstances, the tribunal will invite you to a hearing. Your legal representative is able to attend this hearing.
If you are not able to arrange for your legal representative to attend this hearing, the judge will base his decision solely on your supporting documentation.
Our lawyers can help you through the appeal process. Get in touch to learn more about our Appeal Services.
How do you submit a visa extension application?
Most UK visas take the form of time-limited leave. This means that they are only valid for an allocated period of time. However, if the eligibility requirements continue to be met, you will be able to apply for an extension.
The extension application process depends on the type of visa being applied for. It is vitally important that you apply before your current visa ends. This avoids overstaying, something that constitutes an immigration breach.
You may be able to settle permanently in the UK rather than renew your existing visa. This depends on the length of time for which you have been continuously resident in the UK. For most visa types, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) can be applied for after five years of continuous residence.
You can apply for full citizenship after having held ILR for 12 months.
What happens after I submit my UK Visa Application?
Once your case is processed by the UKVI, you will receive a letter with the result of your application and further instruction on how to proceed. The waiting time will depend on the type of visa you applied for.
What I can expect from the visa interview?
If you are asked to attend a visa interview, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate why your application should be granted.
It is a chance to provide any supporting evidence to the Home Office that you feel may strengthen your case. You will be asked a number of different questions that pertain to why your visa ought to be granted. With this in mind, you should think of how you would answer questions of this nature in advance. It is of paramount importance that you are as prepared as possible for your visa interview.
You should consider your reasons for wanting to spend time in the UK, and why your reasons are worthy of being granted a visa.
For example, if you are an international student, the immigration officer may ask you about your reasons for wanting to study in the UK, and what you intend to do once your studies come to an end.
Is it possible to get my documents back?
A considerable number of visa applications require you to submit supporting documentation alongside the form in order to demonstrate your eligibility. You will almost always be required to submit original copies. Regarding your passport, it is possible that the Home Office will need to keep hold of it whilst your application is being processed.
Regarding your documents, it is usually possible for them to be returned without having to withdraw your application. For those applying for a visa from outside of the UK, you will need to contact the Home Office. For those applying from within the UK, you can use the online return of documents form.
You should receive your documents within ten days of the Home Office confirming receipt of your request. If your application has been refused, you will need to contact the Voluntary Returns Service who will enable you to pick your documents up at the airport.
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Our team of exceptional London immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience in all manner of visa applications. We will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring you receive the outcome you desire.
You will receive:
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Yes, it is possible to apply for a UK visa on behalf of somebody else. However, it is important that you first receive permission to complete the application for them. If you are applying for someone under the age of 18, you must receive written permission from their parent/guardian.
If you are a citizen of Oman, Kuwait, Qatar or the UAE, you will be able to apply for an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) instead of a visa. And EVW costs £30 and enables you to enter the UK for up to six months for business, leisure or medical purposes.
It is crucial that you disclose all of your travel details when applying. You can submit your documents between three months and 48 hours prior to travelling.