UK Visa Process from Pakistan
For me, the UK (United Kingdom) is like a dream place to visit. I planned to apply for UK visa but had no idea how to go about it so; I embarked on a research on how to make it happen. After finding very relevant information with regards to the requirements and application processes and procedures, I then decided to apply for a UK visa for the first time in my life and I got it. Everything about the application time up till when my passport was returned to me, it all took 17 calendar days.
To be honest, I was apprehensive during the time of my application as I wasn’t not too sure I could get the visa as it was my first time applying for a visa to visit another country. If I had gone to any travel agent, surely, I would have heard all manner of jargon’s on how to get things done their own way but one thing was at the back of my mind, I wanted to be sure I meet every requirement. I thought in my mind that some of those agents out there may just want to gamble with ones application since they are not the ones that will be directly affected by the negative or positive decision of the embassy. Some may just be interested only in what they can make for themselves.
The general thinking here in Pakistan is that one must visit several non-European nations first to gain travelling experience before you can get a European visa.One thing I discovered during my research is that irrespective of whichever country you may have visited to gain the supposed travel experience, your application is judged by its own merit or demerit by the consular officer dealing with your case file. That means, the weight of your documentation will determine whether you will be issued a Uk visa or not.
Yes, I agree with those who say that issuance of visas is all a game of luck but if your documentation is not properly articulated and presented, you chances of getting a visa may just be very slim. The point here is that no embassy in this world hates you. The fact remains that you will only get a visa of any nation, if you properly present your documents and those documents must be genuine reason why they should issue you a visa.
May I at this point discuss some very useful strategies to deploy when preparing to apply for a UK visa.
Planning. A wise man once said something regarding planning which I completely agree with. He said, ‘a person who fair to plan on any task has planned to fail without knowing’. By planning I mean you have to start with your travel Itinerary and hotel reservation or actual booking. You must choose a specific to which you intend to travel and return. That means you must have specific travel date and also a return date. In booking your travel tickets, it is always advisable to do a booking reservation rather than a paid ticket. Reason is that if you free ticket reservation and you are refused the visa, you do not have to pay penalty for not flying. If you use a confirmed ticket and your visa is refused, you may also wait for a period of 1 month before you can get a refund after penalty for not flying has been charge you. You need to plan your trip first before apply any visa.
UK visa processing time is 15 working days. This is clearly stated on their website.
Second step is to book hotel. There are different conditions attached to every hotel. It is always advisable to free booking. By free booking I mean a hotel that allows you to pay on arrival. There are so many of them and you can find them at http://www.booking.com.
You can also find some more using Google as there are 100 websites which are offering refundable bookings. In planning, you must be able to com mutate to the consular officer via documentation your main purpose of wanting to visit their country.
They have different classes of visas to which you can apply for. You must also choose a categories that suite your purpose of travel. The most common category is tourist visa. To convince the consular officer for example, if you apply for a tourist visa, it is advisable to purchase a local travel tours tickets of your intended destination. It helps a long way to proof that indeed, you are a qualified tourist. Have a full plan what you are going to do on your vacations. Please NOTE it is not mandatory to book tourism activities but it support and helps your application and shows your intention that you are a genuine visitor.
Once you are done with your return tickets and hotel bookings, the next step is that you must complete their online application form on their website. Once you have completed and provided all information required, you submit your application, print your copy and proceed to make payment. The visa fee is 11717 PKR (£87 GBP) for Short-term (up to 6 months, single or multiple entries).You can check all other fees of UK visas here. After completing your online application and paid visa fees you can move to book Appointment of submission in embassy which is mandatory as without appointment you can’t get in and submit application. You can book your appointment on this URL. I actually did it other way when I applied there was a system you have to call and then book appointment now system is change and it is fast and good.
After completing all procedures as stated above, you must then properly prepare and arrange your documents to be submitted. If you ask me, I will say it is this is about the most important factor that determines if you will be issued a visa or not. It must be carefully and properly done. The consular officer will screen and if possible confirm every detail as presented to them by you. The document you present represent you and speaks on your behalf. Top on the list of what the watch out for is that you must be able to prove that you have strong ties with your home country that will bring you back. If you are not able to proof that you have a valid job, family, company or business that you operate, I am sorry to inform you that your application is sure to fail.
Second on their watch list is your financial status. You must be able to show documentary evidence of your financial ability to finance your trip. This is one area many people miss it. It is not a one-off thing. You must show continuous financial inflows and outflows within a specified time frame. Even if you have a huge deposit on your account or in the account of your sponsor, it does not and cannot convince them of a steady source of income. They want to be sure that you do not end up as a burden on them after you visit their country.
This is the following order I adopted when I applied for my own visa:
- Flight itinerary.
- Hotel booking.
- Day tours itinerary.
- Bank Statement for the last 6 months & Account maintenance letter (stamped by Bank).
- NTN Certificate copy & chamber of commerce registration copy.
- Covering letter stating my monthly salary and approved leave dates.
- Passport copy with minimum 6 months validity period.
- FRC & MRC Copies. (family Registration Certificate & Marriage Registration Certificate)
- All other visa page copies if you have.
- Four pictures as per their specification click here to check.
- Deeds of my property & tax document of it.
- Last paid tax returns.
If you have any other document which you think might support your application such as (a document which is showing your assets or monthly income or savings) then do add it in a list.
I was scheduled on 7th Feb. at 10:30am at UK visa office at Razi road VFS/ Gerry’s office next to Fedex office. I reached at 10 am security staff check my appointment
- The receptionist checks if you do have an appointment for the day.
- The security checks you as well.
- Another receptionist gives you your token number.
- A VFS staff checks all the documents and asks you simple questions.
- VFS staff asks you if you want your passport tracking via sms or not. In my own case, I said yes and they charged me 220 rupees for it.
- VFS Staff gave another token and ask you to seat for a while as you wait for number to be called to take your bio metrics (fingerprints and photo).
- After the bio-metrics and photo, you can now go home.
whole process took hardly 25 to 30 minutes and at the end after picture and fingerprints where taken, they handed over me a tracking receipt and informed me that my passport will take 15 business days and that as soon as it will arrive they will update you.
My passport arrives on 24th Feb. with visa stamp (in 17 calendar days). What a joy, I was so excited to visit my dream place:
Please share your experience of UK visa with me & others about UK visa process and help others. You received Visa or not? What are the reasons of refusals visa or what were the key steps you took to get visa.
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