Friday, March 10, 2017

UK Visa Application in the Philippines

The United Kingdom (UK) may be in Europe but it is not included in the Schengen zone. You need to apply for a separate visa in the UK. I’ve always wanted to see London (because of Mary Poppins) but I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of applying and paying for another visa aside from Schengen. Since this was a family trip, I finally had the opportunity of visiting London.

We had to apply for a UK visa first before applying for a Schengen visa in the French Embassy. The process is a bit similar to the US Visa application wherein you fill-out a long form, pay the visa fee, then schedule your application to submit your documents.

Here’s the basic process:

1.    Create an account and fill-out application forms  here: immigration
2.    Pay for the visa fee - via credit card – USD 110
3.    Schedule the visa appointment in VFS Global UK
4.    Print and gather documents in the checklist
5.    Go to VFS Global UK to submit documents
6.    Wait wait wait for your passport to arrive

The embassy grants a 6-month visit visa for tourists. For other visa types, sorry I can’t help you. We had 4 nights planned in the UK. That’s $110 for 4 nights. Very pricey.

VFS Global handles the UK visa applications in the Philippines.
I suggest you spend time (lots of it) reading the info in their website:

Filling out the application forms, payment, & scheduling your appointment
This had been a tedious process. Prepare to answer these questions:

  • How much do you earn a month?
  • How much do you spend a month?
  • Do you have any dependents?
  • How much are you spending for the trip?
  • How much is your “total assets”? I can’t recall the exact term used but I recall I had to compute for my net worth to answer this questions
  • And prepare to input some of the answers in GBP

You can save your answers and login and update them in the future.
You don’t need to attach anything while answering the application. 

You cannot view the available dates of appointment unless you pay first. In our case, the available date was 4 working days after our payment date.

Here are the some of the documents indicated in the checklist:

  • Passport - must be valid for your visit to the UK, be in good condition, and have at least one page blank on both sides.
  • Other passports (I submitted my 2 other passports that had Schengen visas)
  • Flight details
  • Booking of accommodation
  • Certificate of employment
  • Tax Return
  • Bank certificate with statements of account
  • Letter of Support (include if you will be supported by others)
  • Evidence of assets – land and car ownership (my parents). I submitted statements of my mutual funds and stock ownership

We did not include our itinerary in the Schengen zone. You may attach other documents if you feel these would strengthen your chances of getting a UK visa.

Day of Visa Application

We already knew where the office of VFS UK was because of our “failed” Schengen visa application in VFS France. We also chose a morning schedule (9:30AM)
Here’s the address of VFS UK:
Mezzanine Floor, Unit M01 Ecoplaza Building, 2305 Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City

The front counter checked our appointment schedule (do mention if you are a family applying). There was a staff you checked the completeness our documents then passed this on in the counter. There were no lines so we were immediately served. The process took 30 minutes – we were a family of 6 – before we proceeded to the next step: biometrics. We waited for another 30 minutes for our turn. There was only one booth working and the applicants before us all involved …well kids and babies (^___^). We could hear one baby crying and crying inside. Took a while before he was fingerprinted (so I guess they also fingerprint kiddos).

Compared the our experience with VFS France, this one was way better.
We chose to have our passports mailed. Our passport with visas arrived after 8 working days. 


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