10 things you need to know about the new UK visa application process.

Directly above photograph of an application for a visa.
Directly above photograph of an application for a visa.

One of the very first things you have to consider if you are planning to move to UK is getting the visa. Choosing and applying for the right Visa for you can feel like a daunting task, with the constantly changing legislation and seemingly endless red tape and bureaucracy plus the recent increase in the strictness of the immigration policies. But if you are well informed and have a carefully structured plan, you don’t have to worry about anything.

Below are ten things you need to consider thoroughly.

  1. Deciding which UK visa to choose:

Obviously you must have a fully operational work visa if you want to work legally in UK. There are various working passport dependent visas and work permits that can allow you to legally work in UK. Each of them have their specific set of requirements and restrictions.

For example, an extremely popular visa for a working holiday in UK is the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) Visa. This visa is suitable for people aged between 18 to 30, who plan to live and work  in UK for 2 years and who have at least £1890 in savings.

  1. When should you apply?

For the Tier 5 YMS visa, you can apply up to 6 months prior to your intended travel date. However, if you are applying for other UK visa, you can apply at least 3 months before your travel date. It is important for you to give out accurate and reliable details of your travel plans as part of the visa application. You are also given a window of 30 days for travelling in case circumstances have changed and you don’t want to reapply for the visa.

  1. Visa processing duration:

Most visa applications are processed within six weeks in a Commonwealth country however there is no absolute certainty. The sponsorship process is way too long so if you are applying for a sponsorship program, it may take up to several months. You might want to delay on buying the plane tickets until after everything has been processed duly.

  1. Cost of a UK visa:

Visa prices continuously change from time to time. They are also heavily dependent on your application date. The Tier 5 visa, mentioned above, currently costs around £235 to apply.

  1. Is priority visa service worth is?

Regardless of what visa category you are applying for, there is an option of getting them processed much further by paying an additional amount. Meaning that your visa application will be granted a higher priority in the processing queue.

Bear in mind that this service does not necessarily ensure success for your visa application. All visa applications must meet the immigration policy requirements and if refused, you will not get a refund.

  1. What do you need for a visa application?
  • A valid passport plus any other essential, related travel documents
  • A passport sized color photo that adheres to the requirements
  • Evidence you can support yourself for the duration of your stay
  • A page in your passport that is blank on both sides for your visa
  • A confirmed appointment to be fingerprinted
  1. Visa application without assistance:

If you want, you can apply for a visa on your own with no outside help. If you have all the relevant documentation prepared, you can apply online within 30 minutes.

  1. Biometric Residence Permit (BRP):

Any foreigner visiting UK for more than six months from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA) needs a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This is also applicable if you had originally applied for a short term visa and you wish to extend it to more than six months.

Standard biometric information consists of your fingerprints, a photo of your face and your signature. Your BRP will hold this information, plus your name, date and place of birth, your immigration status and conditions of your stay, and whether you can access public funds such as NHS services or benefits.

  1. Visa conditions:

The Working Holiday visa is a multiple entry visa. Which means, you can enter and exit the country as much as you can with no issue, as long as your visa remains valid.

  • It is important to note that the countdown for the working holiday visa remains active even when you leave the country and regardless of how long you stay there.
  • Your visa does not automatically grant you rights to UK public funds like unemployment benefits.
  1. What if your visa ends and you want to stay further?

It happens too often than not. One of the conditions of the Tier 5 Visa is that you must leave the UK at the end of the two-year period. You may want to acquire a sponsorship for a Tier 2 visa from an employer with whom you have already been working for under Tier 5 Visa. Although it is a common process, it is, by no means, a simple one. Plus, the Tier 2 visa can limit you to only working for the employer who is currently your sponsor. Once your sponsorship is complete and you have been working in UK for a significant period of time, you are eligible to apply for settlement in UK after 5 years.