UK Visa Information

The Visa Process in 5 Steps*

  1. Know your visa type: Figure out what type of visa you should pursue, and understand if you qualify for the visa. Work visas use a point based system to prove to the government you can support yourself while living there. Points are acquired by providing extensive information including the past 6 months of bank statements, payslips, tax returns and more. The better your finances and educational qualifications, the more points you’ll get and if by the end of the process you have enough points, your visa will be approved.

  2. Know the documents you must provide (PDF download): The amount of information the government wants is a lot. If you are applying for a work permit, there is documentation they need from your employer (most of which must be notarised). Be advised that you will have to submit 2 visa photos of yourself. These must exactly 45mm by 35mm. We had to go to a few photo places until they actually did it right. In the end we had to cut the photos ourselves.

  3. Calculate your visa fees: Fees and costs can really add up. Make sure you are not broke upon arrival.

  4. Fill out the application: This is a new application website, still in the Beta testing phase. It doesn’t look very official, but it is the legitimate visa application website for the UK. You will need to create a username and password linked to an email account. Also, be sure to have your passport number ready to complete the first steps in the application.

  5. Find a visa application centre: You will need to schedule an appointment with your local application centre.

*Each of these steps should be covered in asterisks. To stay in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland longer than 90 days, you must have a visa. Depending on your visa, you will need to provide an undefined amount of “supporting documentation”. What the British government wants is shrouded in mystery and people have conflicting ideas about what should be provided. In our case, we had to provide almost all of our personal information including: tax returns, bank statements, marriage license, previous passports, and long letters explaining George’s job, qualifications, employment history, and benefit package. All of this documentation assures the government that you are able to support yourself and will not resort to public funds. Hopefully your place of work will provide you with a list of required documentation. Having all of this information is very important to obtaining your visa.