Last month I just came back from the United Kingdom and it was absolutely an awesome trip. If you follow me on Instagram, I am sure you already know I had an amazing time over there for Christmas and New Year. A trip to the United Kingdom is an incredibly exciting opportunity but the process to obtain the UK visa can be a little bit intimidating for the first time. Therefore, I write this post to guide you and share my experience on how to apply for a UK visa.
Note: My UK visa application was done in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If you apply for the UK visit visa in another country, the fee and the additional service fee might vary but the supporting documents and the process steps will be similar.
UK Visa Application
Do I Need Visa to Visit the UK?
Before starting the process, do check whether you need a UK visa. If you don’t need UK visa, then this post definitely is not necessary for you. If you are in doubt whether your nationalities need a visa to enter to the UK, please check here.
What Kind of Visa Do I Need?
If you need a UK visa, the first thing you have to decide will be knowing what kind of visa you need. Different visiting purposes have different types of visa and a different process. For example, if you visit the UK for business or study, some documents required will be different from a tourism visit. Hence it is essential to be certain of what kind of visa you need. You may check here for the further information.
Note: I will be discussing about tourism visa in this post
How to Apply for a UK Visa?
The first step for the visa application can be done online through VFS (Visa4UK) or AccessUK service. If you apply though VFS, firstly you need to create an account and then fill in the online application form. You may need some time to complete the form as there are quite a lot questions to answer. It is compulsory to provide the information such as personal identity, your travel plan, purpose of visit, the details of your stay, estimation of your travel cost, your job information, your income, your expenses, your travel history in the past 10 years (as shown in your passport).
Once you finish the application, you have to pay the visa fee online before it takes you to the last page. The visa costs USD 122 / Rm 500+ (Apply at Oct 2017) with up to 6-months validity. It was so expensive. Definitely get heartache if the visa gets rejected. >_<
Once your payment is completed, it will direct you to the appointment page. You can book and choose the date for your appointment. I recommend to choose 2 or 3 days from the day you complete the application because from my experience it took 1 day to send the appointment letter to my email. After you receive the appointment letter, do not forget to print and bring it together with the visa fee receipt.
Note: The earliest you can start to apply for a UK visa is 3 months before your travel plan.
What Documents Do I Need to Apply for The UK Visa?
Please ensure all documents submitted have to be in English and have to be removed from any folders such as ring binders as these cannot be accepted during the application.
UK Visa Documents Checklist
Below is the list of required documents you should bring when you attend your appointment.
- Original current and old passport
Your passport needs to be valid for the entire trip and need to have a blank page on both sides for your visa.
- Original valid working visa in the country you apply for your UK visa (If applicable)
If you are a foreigner and working in another country, this is essential to show.
- Copy of your citizenship ID
- Recent photograph with passport size (45mm x 35mm) and light grey background. (Applicable only if you are exempt from giving biometric data)
You may check here for further information of photo requirement.
- A copy of your Bank statements from the last 6 months
There is no information given for the minimum money you should have in your bank. Just have a reasonable amount with the estimation of your expense for the period you will be spending in the UK.
- Proof of earnings / payslip (copy) from the last 6 months (For working adult)
- Original letter from your employer (For working adult)
The letter has to be printed out with company letterhead complete with your employment details such as your role, salary, company contract details, start date of employment and confirmation of your leave absence. you can find my sample here.
- A Copy of your employment contract (For working adult)
- Official letter from your school / University stating you are student (For Student)
- Original invitation letter together with copy of his / her passport (If applicable)
If you have family or friends from the UK inviting you over to the UK and you are going to stay with them, the invitation letter can be a supporting document for your visa application. Here is my sample of invitation letter.
- Original sponsor letter completed with his / her passport copy and the last 3 months’ bank statement (If applicable)
If one of your family is the one who will sponsor you for the trip, you may provide a copy of his/her birth certificate as well to prove your relationship.
- Parents passport copy (this is not necessary but I do provide this as well)
Also, do not forget to bring:
- A printout of visa fee receipt (Get this from your email)
- A printout of the appointment letter
- A printout of your online application form signed and dated
On your appointment day, please be punctual. It is advisable to come 5 minutes earlier than your appointment time and show your appointment letter to the officer once you arrive. If you bring a bag along, they will instruct you to put your bag in a locker. Only documents, wallet and phone (make sure to turn your phone on silent mode) are allowed to bring it together with you. The guard will give you a number and perform security check on you before allowing you into the file submission room. Safety is always priority for them.
Once you are inside and they call your number, you can submit all the supporting documents to them, afterwards they will ask you to wait awhile for your turn to the scanning room. Inside the scanning room they will verify your personal information and do an iris and finger scan and then you are done.
If you do not like to wait long for your finger and iris scan, you can pay for the VIP service (Another RM 199 / USD 50). This service will provide you with a premium lounge with sofa, TV, free biscuits and drinks (tea, coffee, canned drinks).
The normal UK visa application processing time will be within 15 working days but I was lucky to receive it pretty quick. It was just within 8 days. If you wish to get a quicker result (within 5 days), you can pay for an express visa (About USD 100++).
You are also required to pay another RM 10 / USD 2.5 (inclusive of GST 6%) for the SMS service. This service is part of the application to allow them to update your visa application status and you will also receive the automated email at the same time. If you are paying for VIP service, this will be free for you.
I was a bit worried at the submission time because I completely did not have any guidance. I was filled with anxiety as well as many people said the UK visa was quite difficult to obtain. I read online that many people get rejected and during my application time, I saw it with my own eyes that the person in front of me was having the rejection letter and it definitely gave me an uneasy feeling.
Luckily, it was all just in my mind. I still remember the feeling when I received a call from the VFS at the morning 8 days after my application. It definitely made my day. Everything turned out excellent.
Overall, the UK visa application process was not as intimidating as I thought in the first place. If you follow the guide and provide complete and reasonable documents, I am sure everything will be alright. I was also impressed with their service. All the staff officers are very nice and friendly and the process is very quick and reliable. They obviously take pride in their customer service.
If you are planning to go to UK for a holiday and are going to apply for the visa by yourself, I hope this post is useful for you. Good luck and do not worry too much.
If you have any questions about the UK Visa application, you can drop the comment below or contact me. I will be happily answer it for you 😀
UK Visa Application Center - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Suite 19.06 19 Floor,Wisma MCA, 163 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Opening hours: Application submission and Document collection Monday to Friday (Excluding public holiday) 08:00 – 14:00
Thank you for reading my blog 😊
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