- Do I need a UK Visa?
- What is the application process?
- Which documents are needed for UK applications?
- UK visa document rules
- Healthcare surcharge
- UK visa processing time
- Schedule a UK visa appointment
- Fast Track Options
- Supporting Documentation
- What happens if my visa is accepted?
- What happens if my visa is rejected?
- Can I extend my visa?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you need to know about applying for a UK Visa
Since Britain left the EU, most foreign nationals will now need to apply for a UK visa to enter the UK. If your application is accepted, you may be permitted to enter the UK. The permission to enter is granted under the assumption that you will abide by the conditions of your visa.
If you wish to travel to the UK, whether for a short period of time or longer-term, you will need to ensure that you apply for the correct visa for your circumstances.
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers boast a wealth of experience across all areas of immigration law.
If you need any help with UK visas, we can help. Whether you are looking for guidance on the correct visa for your needs, or you require assistance with the application process, we are here for you.
Do I Need a Visa?
Most visitors to the UK require a visa to enter the country.
In order to enter the UK, you must apply for the visa appropriate to your circumstances and the reason for you entering the country.
The different visa UK categories are as follows:
- UK Family and Partner Visas. This includes Spouse Visas, Fiancé Visas and family dependent visas
- UK Work Visas. Skilled Worker Visas and Temporary Worker Visas fall under this category
- Student Visas. For international adults and children who wish to study in the UK
- UK Visitor and Transit Visas. These visas are for those visiting the UK for a short period of time. Transit Visas are for those who need to pass through British borders while in transit to another country. They include Business Visitor Visas and Student Visitor Visas.
- Indefinite Leave to Remain. Settlement applications are for those who have lawfully lived in the UK for a certain period of time.
What is the UK Visa Application Process?
The application process for a UK visa depends on the visa you are applying for.
Still, all applications will include the following steps:
- Completion of an application form
- A bundle of documents to support your case will need to be submitted to the Home Office (along with the application form)
- You must pay the application fee before submitting the application
- You may need to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) as part of your application
- The Home Office will consider your application, taking into account whether you have provided all necessary documentation and adhered to administrative standards
- A letter will be sent to you, informing you of whether you have been successful or not
- If your application is successful, your Biometric Residence Permit should arrive within 10 days (if applicable)
Our Birmingham immigration lawyers offer a specialist application package. With this service, one of our expert immigration lawyers will work with you to formulate your immigration application to the highest of standards.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to find out more about our application package.
What Documents do I Need to Provide for Visas for UK?
You will need to provide a bundle of documents to support your case with any UK visa application.
The specific documents you need to provide depends on the visa you are applying for and your particular circumstances. Your bundle of documents is an integral part of the application, and you must provide all the necessary documentation, and in its proper form.
You must check which documents are needed for the visa you are applying for. The purpose of the portfolio of evidence is to demonstrate that you are eligible for the visa you are applying for.
For all UK visa applications, the following documents must be provided:
- Completed application form
- Two passport-sized photographs
- Valid passport with at least one blank page
- Certified translation of any submitted document which isn’t written in English or Welsh. (This must be provided along with the original document)
- Evidence that your visa fees have been paid
- Documentation proving that you have the financial means to support yourself whilst you are in the UK
What are the Rules Around Documents for Visa Applications?
The documents which you provide to support your application must be in their original form. Photocopies will not be accepted unless there is a legitimate reason for the original documents not being available.
Also, certain documents will need to be certified to prove that they are genuine. Documents can only be certified by a professional and upstanding member of society.
The Home Office deems the following professions to be eligible:
- Ministers of Religion
- Teachers or lecturers
- Officials of a bank or other financial institution
- Chartered accountants
The person you choose must not be related to you, not in a relationship with you, not resident in the same address as you and not representing you in your application.
If any of your documents are not in English or Welsh, they must be translated by an accredited translator. You will need to include both the original documents and the translations in your bundle of documents.
Do I Have to Pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge?
You may need to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of the UK Visa application process. Whether you need to pay or not depends on the immigration status you are applying for.
If you apply for UK visa inside the country, you will need to pay a healthcare surcharge if:
- You are applying for a visa to work, study or join your family in the UK for more than six months and not applying to remain in the UK permanently
If your visa application was completed outside of the UK, you will need to pay the healthcare surcharge if:
- Your visa application is for longer than 6 months
- You’re completing an immigration application which isn’t to remain in the UK permanently
The cost of the UK’s immigration healthcare surcharge is as follows:
- £470 per year for a student and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme
- £470 per year for applicants aged 18 years and under
- £624 per year for all other visa applicants
If you are completing the application online, you will need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your British visa application form.
Those who are completing their application by post will need to pay the healthcare surcharge online before they send their application.
You will receive the same NHS services as UK citizens after you have paid the healthcare surcharge.
Bear in mind that eye tests, dentistry and prescriptions are not covered by the healthcare surcharge payment.
Will I Need to take a Tuberculosis Test as Part of my Application?
Residents of certain countries will need to take a tuberculosis test as part of a UK visa application. This only applies if the applicant intends to stay in the UK for longer than six months.
Those in the following groups do not need to take the tuberculosis test:
- Children under 11
- Children who have been recommended to not take the test by a paediatrician
- Returning UK citizens who have been out of the country for more than two years
- Individuals who have been resident for at least six months in a country where Tuberculosis screening is not necessary
- Pregnant women who have decided to take the test after pregnancy
Do I need to have a certain level of English to be eligible for a UK Visa?
For certain UK visa applications, you will need to prove that you possess a certain level of English. The level of English required depends on the visa you are applying for.
However, there are certain applicants who will be exempt from the English language requirements including:
- Citizens of majority English-speaking countries,
- Those who have completed a degree or higher qualification taught in English at an accredited educational establishment
- Applicants aged 65 or over
- Those with a long-term physical or mental condition
Those who don’t fall into these categories will need to prove a certain level of English with most visa applications. English language tests must be taken at an approved test provider. The test can be taken in different locations in the UK and throughout the world.
How Long Does it Take for a UK Visa to be Processed?
The processing time for a UK visa depends on the visa which is being applied for. For example, work visas are generally processed within three weeks, where as Family Visas can take up to 12 weeks to process.
It is important to keep in mind that if Home Office officials require additional information from you, this will delay the processing time.
Visa applications must be submitted at least 15 working days before you plan to travel to the UK.
Regardless of the visa which is being applied for, we highly recommend you to complete and submit your application no sooner than 90 days before you plan to travel to the UK.
Visa Application Priority Service
If you would like to speed up the processing time, you can opt for the visa application priority service. This is a particularly good option if your application is time sensitive.
With the priority visa application service, your visa application will be processed within five working days at an additional cost of £500.
The super priority service is for those who need the quickest possible turnaround.
With this service, your visa application will be processed within one working day at a cost of an additional £800.
Schedule a UK visa appointment
Once you’ve scheduled your appointment online, print out the confirmation email that outlines your appointment details. Be sure to bring this email along with the necessary documents to the chosen UK visa application centre.
It’s crucial to submit the required documents in their original form. Double-check that everything is in order, as even minor errors can lead to complications. Additionally, remember that the appointment should be booked in your name, not someone else’s.
Attend the UK visa interview
When you visit the UK visa application centre, you’ll be asked to provide biometric data, including a photograph and fingerprint scans. This is mandatory for all visa applicants, including children. If the applicant is under 18, they must be accompanied by an adult.
Fast Track Options
If you need a quick decision on your visa application, you can choose the Priority or Super Priority service. These options speed up the process but come with extra fees. It’s important to know that these services won’t improve your chances of approval.
With Priority service, you’ll get a decision in five working days, and with Super Priority, it’s just one working day.
For more information on Priority Application service, contact our London immigration lawyers. We have a Fast-Track Application Package for those in a hurry to apply for a visa.
While completing the visa application form is central to the process, you’ll also need to provide supporting documents to demonstrate your eligibility for the specific visa you’re seeking. Each visa type has distinct requirements, so it’s crucial to consult the guidance and document checklist for your particular visa.
Certain documents are universally required for all applications:
- Two passport-sized photos
- A valid passport with at least one empty page
- A fully filled UK visa application form, signed where necessary
- Documents verifying your financial eligibility for the chosen visa
- Certified translations for any non-English or non-Welsh parts of your application
- Proof of payment for visa fees
- Biometric data, which will be collected at your nearest visa application centre and is necessary for obtaining your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
What Happens if my Visa Application is Accepted?
If your visa application is accepted, you will be given a visa vignette (sticker) from the Home Office which will be placed on a blank page in your passport. The visa vignette will display your visa, as well as the expiry date of that visa.
Applicants who submitted their passport with their application form and other supporting documents will have their passport returned with the visa vignette inside.
Those who haven’t completed their application in the standard way will need to collect their visa vignette from their nearest visa application centre.
With your visa vignette, you will be able to travel to the UK and enter the country. Keep in mind that you will still need to report to border officials in the UK when you arrive.
What Happens if my Visa is Rejected?
A refusal letter will be sent to you if your visa application is rejected. This letter will set out why your visa application was rejected, and whether you have the option to appeal against the decision.
As a general rule, you will have 28 days to appeal against a Home Office decision if you believe the decision they reached was unfair.
With the administrative review appeal, your application will be reviewed again by a different Home Office official. This is the best option if you believe a clear mistake was made when your original visa application was considered.
A judicial review is a separate process. With this option, your case will be heard by an independent judge who will decide whether to overturn the Home Office’s decision.
The judicial review can be lodged either on paper or in-person at a court of law in the Upper Tribunal.
Can I Withdraw my Application?
It is possible to withdraw your visa application at any time.
If your application was made from outside the UK, you need to get in contact with the UKVI who will be able to provide you with information on how to withdraw the application. As long as your case has not been processed, you will receive a full refund.
If you submitted the application within the UK you can withdraw the application by filling in the contact form specifically designed for visa application withdrawals. You will not receive any refund for a withdrawn visa application if it was made from within the UK.
Can I Extend my Visa?
Visa extensions are available with many UK Visas including Family Visas, Partner Visas and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Work Visas.
Visa extension applications must be completed before the original visa is due to expire. If you remain in the UK past the expiry date of your visa you could be subject to disciplinary action, including removal from the country.
If you have lived in the UK for a certain period of time, you could be eligible for permanent status. Typically, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years of living in the UK. After one year of residence under ILR, you will be able to apply for British citizenship.
Last modified on September 5th, 2023 at 12:44 pm
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Below are the application fees for some of the most popular UK Visas (updated for 2021)
- Investor Visa: £1,623 +
- Innovator Visa: £1,021 +
- Skilled Worker Visa: £610 +
- Student Visa: £348
- Temporary Work Visa: £244 +
- Spouse/Partner Visa: £1,033 +
- Fiancé Visa: £1,033 +
- Ancestry Visa: £516 +
- Adult Dependent: £3,250
- Child Dependent: Generally equal to the cost of sponsoring visa
- Visit Visa: £95 +
The fees may be higher depending on where you apply, the length of time you wish to stay in the UK, and whether dependents are included.
We offer a specialist appeal package for those who wish to challenge the decision of the Home Office.
One of our expert immigration law specialists will examine your case and advise you on the best course of action to take.
There are two routes through which you can lodge an appeal: administrative review and judicial review.
The administrative review is the most suitable option if you think a clear mistake was made in the visa application decision, such as a certain document not being taken into consideration.
The judicial review is a process where an independent judge will hear your case and decide whether to overturn the Home Office’s decision.
The judicial review can be conducted either on paper or in-person in a court of law in front of the Upper Tribunal.
If you opt for a judicial review, your immigration lawyer will offer full legal representation including at the Upper Tribunal, where your case will be heard.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 for more information on our appeal package.
Yes, it is possible to apply for a visa on behalf of someone else. You must have permission from that person to file the UK visa online application form.
If the applicant is under 18, you must receive written permission from their parent/s or guardian to file the application.
You will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) if you have been granted the right to remain in the UK for longer than six months.
You can choose where you would like to collect your BRP in your application form.
You must report any mistake in your BRP to the UKVI as soon as possible, and no later than three months of your entry date into the UK.