|This visa was not as difficult as I thought it would be, but it sure was pricey! HAHAHA!
The UK is composed of 4 countries: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. UK is no exception when it comes to a hectic visa application. The visa application that I will be focusing on is the TOURIST VISA for Philippine Passport holders. This is no longer done directly at the British Embassy, but at UK's official partner agency for visa processing: VFS Global Agency.
If you plan to study, work, intern, get married, or visit family in UK, then you will have to apply for a different visa and also look elsewhere for the information on how to get those visas. Sorry about that.
|I'm grabbing my chance to explore UK and all of Europe while I'm young! Go see the world!
Restrictions in visiting UK as a tourist:
- Visit to UK cannot be for more than six (6) months;
- Leave UK at the end of your visit;
- Have enough money to support yourself during your stay in UK without working or needing help from public funds.
- Will not take paid or unpaid employment.
- Will not marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership.
- Will not get private medical treatment.
When Should you Apply for UK Visa?
Like most countries, UK Visa can be applied for a maximum of 3 months before intended entry.
Where do you Apply for UK Visa?
There are two parts in UK Visa application. The first is Online Application. The second is Appointment to submit biometric and supporting documents.
You will need to have in hand your passport, UK address (hotel, hostel, or friend's address), and email address. After that, you will begin your Online Visa Application. You will need to go through the following:
- Register for an account aka, sign up and create an account on this site: Visa4UK.
- Fill in the application form in English: Visa4UK- Register
- Pay for the Visa Fee online (in most cases)
- Print out your form
- Book and attend an appointment at Visa Application Centre
You will also be required to provide:
- All the supporting documents you need for your visa, arranged in order of their list
- Translate any supporting documents and include them in the originals if they are not in English
Photograph Strict Specification
How much is UK visa for Philippine Passport holders? Where do you pay for UK Visa?
As of September 2, 2014, Tourist Visas (short term of up to 6 months) costs $136USD or approximately PHP6,350+, or £89GBP. Costs varies, depending on the Embassy's decision.
Since December 17, 2012, visa fee can only be made online. It will form as part of an online application process. When all items are filled up, you will be directed to the website of WorldPay where you have the option to pay with Visa or Mastercard. If you do not have a credit card, debit is suitable as long as it's Visa or Mastercard. However, if you have neither, then I suggest you apply for one as soon as you can or use another family members debit or credit card. UK Embassy and VFS Global Agency no longer accept payment in cash OR in person like they did back then.
How long do you wait for your results?
If all the proper documents are submitted and biometric scans and fees are completed, and there is no documents lacking, you should have results within 10-15 working days. Sometimes it can be as early as 4-5 days. You can collect the documents personally at the application centre, or for an additional fee, you can delivered to your home by paying Php 500. There is also a charge for receiving an SMS text saying that your passport is on its way, but we opted not to do that.
In my situation though, we waited for approximately 15 days since we had our passports delivered to our house because it was a hassle for us to go back all the way to the application centre. My advice is that if you plan to visit in the summer such as March or April, apply as soon as you can because it will be hectic. Most definitely if there is a national event happening in UK.
Note – Applicants who wish to lodge their UK visa application at the visa application centre in Cebu will be required to pay an additional service fee of in cash at the visa application centre.
For more information, please check out these links regarding the UK Visa:
UK Visa Application: 10 Things You Need to Know
How My UK Visa Application Got Approved
Filling up the application online, scheduling the visa appointment, and paying for it was the most difficult part. The rest of the process when we got to VFS Global Agency in Makati was actually pretty smooth and easy. My group and I had decided to schedule our appointment for 9am since it was a convenient time for all of us because we had to be in the office by 11am. Make sure to be there at least 10 MINUTES before the scheduled interview. If you are more than 20 minutes late, then you will have to reschedule your visa appointment. We had breakfast at a cafe nearby the place so we all got to meet there to finalize all the documents.
When we arrived at VFS Global Agency on the second floor of the building, we fell in line at the entrance, left our bags and stuff at a baggage area with a charge of Php 100, and then got our number. We went inside the UK Visa section and filled up the payment slip. Make sure to bring your supporting document checklist as you will need this because some applicants tend to not bring that. You need it to show the agency what documents you have submitted for them, and you must arrange them IN ORDER of what the list says. There were not much people ahead of us that day so we managed to do finish everything in less than 2 hours.
I noticed that aside from UK Visa, VFS Global Agency also helps process visas to Australia, Spain, and Netherlands just to name a few. So if you plan to visit those countries, you know where to go! You do not need to submit the photocopy of your application form and passports as they will ask you to take it out. Make sure that the photo that you have for the application form is PASTED and not stapled or taped. Make sure to bring all original supporting documents (eg. land title, lease document, business registration, bank statements, financial statement, etc.) with you, along with your current and previous passports in the past 10 years. They will return it to you along with your visa.
Lastly, they will only accept your application when it's inside an envelope. We were allowed to bring our phones inside but we were not allowed to use it at any point during the visa appointment. After they accepted our documents, we asked to them along with our visa and previous passports delivered to us for a fee of php500 per person. You will then be given a reciept with a barcode attached to it, which YOU MUST show to the delivery guy when claiming your passport with visa along with a valid ID for proof. If you will let someone else get it, you must give them an authorization letter with their signature and then their valid ID.
After submitting the documents and application, we were asked to sit down and wait for our names to be called for biometric scan. I was the last one who got called from all of us. When I got inside, the guy asked me to scan my thumbs on the scanner, put my signature on the scanner, and then to look at the camera. He asked me to take off my hairtie since my top knot hairstyle was too big for the photo! Then asked me where I work because their employees do not allow them to have that type of hairstyle. HAHAHA! But everything went by very well. We got our visas 10-15 days later, and we are excited to visit London, UK and other parts of Europe! Thank you to my family for keeping up with the hassle and paperworks and to Wanderlass Travels for all the help and guidance with both the Schengen (France) and UK Visas!
*At the VFS Global Agency office, there are sales ladies selling sim cards that you can use while in Europe. The sim card appears to be a local Philippine number, but is actually a European phone number. The cost is almost the same as the average cost for a sim card in Philippines. The sim card will help you contact friends or family during your stay in UK and other parts of Europe at a more affordable price. Thank you!