Introduction People going to UK for leisure travel or to visit their friends and relatives or for education or for a job have to apply for a UK VISA. The application and payment of the VISA fee is to be completed online. After this you will get a email for attending the VISA interview and document verification at the VISA center as you have optioned in your application. This article explains in detail the complete process right from applying to receiving your VISA.
How to apply People planning to pursue higher studies in UK or visit UK for work or to join their family have to apply for UK VISA and pay VISA fee which is presently about Rs 9000 for tourists and visitors. For other categories it is more than this. The exact amount will be shown to you while applying online. The tourist/visitor VISA is given for a period of unto 6 months. Those who are applying visa for work, study or join their family for more than 6 months need to pay increased VISA fee and additionally a healthcare surcharge. Before applying for VISA check that you have a valid Indian passport.
Please also note that for visiting European countries there is a common VISA known as schengen VISA but this does not allow you to enter in UK until you have a valid UK VISA.
You can get information regarding UK VISA and all other aspects for people visiting UK for different purposes at the site www.gov.uk. The process and procedures are fine tuned time to time and I will suggest to read the general guidelines at www.gov.uk before going to fill the VISA application form online. However while applying online you have to do it through their agency VFS Global at the site www.vfsglobal.co.uk and you have to keep all the personal information and your tentative travel plans etc handy for entering in the online form. Please remember that you should not book your confirmed travel tickets until you get a VISA.
When you are browsing the above sites there will be many links available for information and you can go to them and come back to main site after referring. Even while browsing www.gov.uk there will be a link to go to www.vfsglobal.co.uk and you can go there from the link and then there start applying for visa online. So do not get confused with links and keep a tab of your browsing and you should be attentive to find out where exactly you are at a particular time. It is suggested to keep a writing pad and pen alongwith for jotting down salient points or notes while doing such important work.
The application form has presently seven parts (there might be more or less due to rearrangements and fine tuning of process by authorities time to time) with continuous running serials. Against each item you have to provide the data like name, address, date of birth, passport number, source of funds, father's name, mothers name, name of the friend in UK if any etc etc.
After filling the form online you can check everything before submitting so that typing mistakes or personal data mistakes can be corrected at this stage itself. The VISA fee is also to be paid at this point through online banking mode. Once you submit the application form online you will get an acknowledgement and call letter by email for visiting the VISA center for verification of documents and personal appearance for interview.
Visit to VISA center Please remember to reach the VISA center well before the time as the persons missing their allotted time slot will have difficulty to get accommodated on the same day and they will have again to seek a new date for their interview and document verification which will only delay the process further.In the VISA center you have to be in queue and wait for your turn and when your token number is called or displayed you have to go to the concerned counter and show your documents. There, you must have the following documents -
Note: The idea of asking your income is just to ascertain that you can afford your UK trip and are not going there for a job hunting. The UK Govt discourages the unemployed persons to come to UK until unless some business company there is giving you an employment letter.
Once you present your documents to the concerned counter they will verify and ask you some questions like whether you will be collecting your VISA after it is ready in few days from the center itself or it is to be couriered to you. If you wish that it is to be couriered to you then you will have to deposit the courier amount for it.
After this you will be asked to go to the bio-metric counter where your photograph and other bio-metric details will be registered. You will now be asked to meet the VISA executive or officer in charge there who will finish the process by cross checking the data and asking you a few general questions. If your documents are not complete or some other deficiencies are seen by the VISA center executives you will be given another date for again overcoming those deficiencies and bring the correct documents on the stipulated next date.
If everything is OK your passport(s) will be retained by them for sending to UK embassy office for approval and VISA entry in your passport and you will be given a receipt which you have to keep carefully as same will be required at the time of VISA collection either at the center or through courier in your address.
Approval of VISA If your VISA is approved you will get an email regarding it. If the authorities found some discrepancies and deficiencies in your application they will advise you to correct them and give another chance to go to VISA center with correct documents. Many times people do not give proper bank statements and source of income for funding the trip and the authorities find and think that the person is not financially capable of bearing the trip cost then why he is applying for VISA. It gives a false indication that the individual is going there for a job. So we have to be careful on this respect and furnish the correct documents. If a student is going there for studies he has to show the funds either in his parents bank account or loan from a bank. If there are major mistakes in the VISA form or misleading information than the application is rejected and one has to start fresh by applying online once again.
Receiving the VISA If your VISA is approved you will get email that it is completed and you have to collect it from the VISA center or it will be couriered to your address as per your option exercised in VISA center.
You can go to the VISA center and collect the VISA after showing the receipt and email to them or wait in your house for courier as the case may be.The VISA is affixed and glued securely on inside pages of your passport and everything is written on it like your name, validity of VISA, type of VISA etc.
Once you have received the VISA you can book your tickets etc and plan the journey.