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UK Visa Application Process and Requirements – 6 Easy Steps to Apply for United Kingdom Visa

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The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union but is not part of the Schengen area. It operates its own visa policy where certain nationalities have to apply for a visa before arriving in the UK. However, there are many nationalities that are permitted to enter and stay in the UK without obtaining a visa. In this article learn more about how to apply for UK Visa, UK visa application process and requirements, UK visa fees, UK visa types, UK standard tourist and visitor visa application.

Most visitors to the UK come from the following countries:

UK Visa Application Countries Stats

In the year, ending in March 2018, there were 3,061 visa applications for the UK, of which 340 were refused:

UK Visa Application Countries Mar 2018 Stats

Who Needs to Apply for UK Visa

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If you hold any of the following nationality statuses, you can enter the United Kingdom without a visa:

  1. British nationals who are EU citizens
  2. British citizens
  3. British Overseas Territories citizens (citizens of Gibraltar)
  4. British subjects (who have the right to live in the UK)
  5. Citizens of Commonwealth countries (who have the right to live in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971)
  6. Irish citizens (under the Common Travel Area – the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands)
  7. All European Union citizens
  8. Citizens of the EFTA member states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland)

If you are a citizen of any of the following 56 countries and territories, you are permitted to enter the UK without a visa for stays of up to 6 months or 3 months if you enter the country from the Republic of Ireland:

UK Visa Free Waiver Countries

In addition, if you are from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates you are eligible for an electronic visa waiver (EVW) for visit and study purposes for up to 6 months. Plus, if you are from China or India AND are in possession of an Irish visa which has been validated as BIVS (British Irish Visa Scheme), you can also enter the UK without obtaining a further entry visa.

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If you are from any other country, you will need to apply for a visa to be able to enter and stay in the United Kingdom.

UK Visa Types

There are several different visas for the UK and the one you need to apply for will depend on the duration of your trip and your reason for traveling to the UK. Check GOV.UK’s website to learn about these visas.

Visitor visas

  1. Standard Visitor visa
  2. Marriage Visitor visa
  3. Permitted Paid Engagement visa
  4. Parent of a Tier 4 child visa
  5. Visit the UK in a Chinese tour group
  6. Visa to pass through the UK in transit
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Work and Business visas

  1. General work visa (Tier 2)
  2. Intra-company Transfer visa (Tier 2)
  3. Minister of Religion visa (Tier 2)
  4. Sportsperson visa (Tier 2)
  5. Temporary Worker – Charity Worker visa (Tier 5)
  6. Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa (Tier 5)
  7. Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa (Tier 5)
  8. Temporary Worker – International Agreement visa (Tier 5)
  9. Temporary Worker – Religious Worker visa (Tier 5)
  10. Temporary Worker – Seasonal Worker Visa (Tier 5)
  11. Youth Mobility Scheme visa (Tier 5)

Investor, business development and talent visas

  1. Innovator visa
  2. Start-up visa
  3. Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1)
  4. Exceptional Talent visa (Tier 1)
  5. Graduate Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1)
  6. Investor visa (Tier 1)

Other work visas and exemptions

  1. UK Ancestry visa
  2. Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa
  3. Representative of an Overseas Business visa
  4. Turkish Businessperson visa
  5. Turkish Worker visa

Study visas

  1. Short-term study visa
  2. General student visa (Tier 4)
  3. Child student visa (Tier 4)

Family visas

  1. Family visas: apply, extend or switch
  2. Apply for a permit to join your EU or EEA family member in the UK

When to Apply for Your UK Visa

Visa applications are processed within 3 weeks, so you should apply well in advance of your trip. You may submit your application up to 3 months ahead of your departure date.

Where to Apply for Your UK Visa

The British Embassies and Consulates located across the world do not issue visa applications. Instead, you will apply for your visa at one of the visa application centers located in your country:

  1. VFS Global
  2. TLS Contact

These companies deal with visa applications on behalf of the Visa and Immigration service in the UK. VFS Global and TLS Contact is not responsible for making a decision about your application. You will simply submit your application to them and they will then forward it to the British Embassy or Consulate for processing.

In order to find out which company you need to deal with and their location, go to GOV.UK’s website and click on: “Visas and immigration”:

UK Visa Application Process and Requirements1

On the next page, click on: “What you need to do” and then “Applying for a visa to come to the UK”:

UK Visa Application Process and Requirements2

Then, click on: “Find a visa application centre”:

UK Visa Application Process and Requirements3

You can scroll through the list and find your country:

UK Visa Application Process and Requirements4

You will then be directed to either VFS Global or TLS Contact where you can find out how to apply.

How to Apply for UK Visa

There is an overview on how to apply on VFS Global and TLS Contact’s websites, so you should take a look at those before you do anything else.

Application procedure at VFS Global:

  1. Research your visa type
  2. Apply for your visa through GOV.UK
  3. Pay for your visa fees
  4. Choose your services
  5. Upload your supporting documents
  6. Visit the visa application center
  7. Track your application
  8. Pick up your documents

Application procedure at TLS Contact:

  1. Register on the GOV.UK website
  2. Choose any optional services and book an appointment
  3. Attend your appointment at TLS Contact
  4. Passport Return

Before you submit your application to the visa application center, you must visit either the GOV.UK Visa and Immigration website or Visa4UK’s website to do the following things:

  1. Register your application
  2. Complete the visa application form
  3. Pay the visa fee
  4. Book your appointment at either VFS Global or TLS Contact

Making appointments with the embassy or visa application center is generally free and can be done yourself. However, If you are running short of time or not sure which consulate to apply to or have no idea on how to get this done yourself then not to worry, we will make the appointment for you for a small service fee!

Booking a visa appointment using our services is pretty simple! All you have to do is follow the 3 simple steps below:

  1. Visit the link to schedule the visa appointment
  2. Submit the appointment details, visa you are applying for, consulate you need the appointment for, the country you need the appointment IN and make the payment
  3. Receive appointment confirmation in email
Book Visa Appointment For Any Country
Book Visa Appointment

What Documents to Prepare for United Kingdom Visa

You need to prepare all the required documents for your visa application, so check what they are before you attend your appointment. If you submit an application with anything missing, it may be rejected.

Documents include:

  1. Visa application form
  2. Passport – valid for at least three months after the planned date of return, issued within the last 10 years with 2 free pages
  3. Previous travel history for the past 10 years
  4. Bank statements or proof of earnings such as a letter from employer confirming the start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details
  5. Proof of financial support from a business, a friend or a relative etc
  6. Proof legal residence
  7. An employer’s letter stating your role, salary and length of employment OR a letter from your education provider confirming enrollment and leave of absence. If self-employed – business registration
  8. Birth Certificate and proof of family ties and/or details of anyone accompanying you with a copy of your parent(s) passport (if you are under 18)
  9. Travel dates to the UK
  10. Details of accommodation while in the UK
  11. Declaration of how much you think your trip will cost
  12. Your current home address and how long you’ve lived there
  13. Your parents’ names and dates of birth
  14. Proof of salary
  15. Your employer’s address and telephone number
  16. Your partner’s name, date of birth, and passport number
  17. The name and address of anyone paying for your trip
  18. The name, address and passport number of any family members you have in the UK
  19. Details of any criminal, civil or immigration offenses you have committed
Schengen Travel Health Insurance

If you’re planning to obtain your flight reservation for visa without paying for the ticket, all you have to do is follow the 3 simple steps below:

  1. Visit the Visa Reservation website to choose the right package
  2. Submit the travel details and make the payment online
  3. Receive flight itinerary in email
Flight reservation without payment

The Visa Appointment Requirements

When you attend your appointment, you will submit your application and supporting documents to the visa officer who will examine them. If he/she needs to confirm any of the information you have provided, they will question you further in order to make a fair decision about your visa application.

If you have not already paid the fee, you will do so at your appointment. You can pay in cash, credit or debit card, but check with the visa application center which payment options there are. There may be additional service fees to pay as well. These fees are non-refundable.

You will also need to provide biometric data which is a scan of your fingerprints and a photograph.

UK Visa Fee

Fees categoryFee with effect from 29 March 2019
Visit visa < 6 months£95
Visit visa < 2 years£361
Visit visa < 5 years£655
Visit visa <10 years£822
Visiting academic – more than 6 months but no more than 12 months£190
Private medical treatment visa – more than 6 months but not more than 11 months£190
Short term student visa (up to 6 months)£97
Short term student studying English language for more than 6 months but not more than 11 months£186
Settlement – other dependent relatives£3,250
Settlement – refugee dependent relative£388
Indefinite leave to enter the UK as the dependant of a member of the armed forces under Appendix Armed Forces to the Immigration Rules£2,389
Certificate of entitlement – (right of abode)£388
Other visas£516
Transit visa (direct airside transit)£35
Transit visit visa (landside transit)£64
Visa for the purpose of joining a ship or aircraft as a member of the crew of that ship or aircraft£64
Transfer of Conditions (Vignette transfer)£154
Representative of an overseas business£610
Call out/ out of hours fee (per hour/part hour)£142
Single-entry visa to replace a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)£154
Receiving, preparing and forwarding documents£141
Electronic Visa Waiver£30

Visa Application Decision

You will be notified when there is a decision about your visa application and you can collect your passport from the visa office or have it mailed back to you. If your visa has been approved, you will find it inside your passport. If it has been rejected, it would have been for a reason such as:

  1. Missing documents
  2. Passport damaged/invalid
  3. Applying for the wrong type of visa
  4. Lack of funds
  5. Fake documents

It is very important for you to take your time when you apply for your visa and check the website (s) of the relevant visa offices for everything you need to do. If you fail to comply with what is required, this will lead to your application being rejected. However, if your application is rejected, you have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

How to Appeal the Decision

When a UK visa application is rejected, you will receive notification of the reason for the refusal. You can submit an appeal within 14 days of the notification to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). You have 2 options:

  1. Apply online
  2. Apply by fax or post with form IAFT-5

You can choose how a decision about your appeal will be made:

  1. Just on the information in your appeal form and any documents supplied to the tribunal. Fee: £80
  2. at a hearing that you or your representative can attend. Fee: £140

After this stage, the First-tier Tribunal will make a decision and you will be notified. If the visa rejection is not overturned, you are free to apply for a visa again, but make sure you avoid the same reason for it being rejected in the first place.


1) Do I need a visa for the UK?

If you are a citizen of a country that does not enjoy the visa-free status, then you will have to apply for a visa to be able to enter and stay in the UK (see above)

2) What type of visa do I need to apply for?

It really depends on the reason why you wish to go to the UK and the duration of your trip (see above visa types)

3) How do I know which visa application center I should use?

You can find this information on GOV.UK’s website as directed above. When you click on the country you are applying from, you will be directed to the correct visa application center where you will submit your application

4) I have missed my appointment, what can I do?

You will have to reschedule a new day and time at your local visa application center

5) What happens after I have submitted my application?

Your application will be processed by the relevant embassy or consulate and you will be notified when a decision has been reached. Then, you can collect your passport from the visa office or have it mailed back to you

6) I was previously refused entry to the UK, do I need to declare this?

Yes. Any past immigration issues must be declared. The authorities will find this out anyway, so it’s best to be open and honest

7) I am leaving for the UK in 2 weeks, will there be enough time to process my visa?

UK visa applications are processed within 3 weeks, so there may not be enough time for it to be processed. You may still submit your application, but there is no guarantee that you will receive a decision before you leave. If you do not have a valid UK visa, you will not be able to enter the country


If you need to apply for a UK visa, there are several things that you must do:

  1. Understand what type of visa you need to apply for
  2. Apply well in advance of your departure date
  3. Understand where you need to apply
  4. Prepare the required documents
  5. Attend the appointment to submit your application
  6. Receive your visa OR appeal the decision

Source: visareservation.com

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Christopher Sam
Christopher Sam is a web designer, developer and has advanced knowledge in Search Engine Optimization, Responsive Website Design, Emails Marketing, BULK SMS Messaging, Schema Markup and a certified Google Trainer. He is a creator and editor at Hypercitigh.com, an online digital platform focusing on Credible and Timely news and in Ghana.

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