The UK government has attempted to make the visa application process easier in recent years. The Home Office believes that people who wish to come to the UK legally should be encouraged.
However, many people get confused when applying for a UK visa and need to seek professional help from immigration solicitors in London in order to discuss the main steps involved before and during an application.
1. Step One – Choose Your Visa Category
As a first step, you need to select the purpose for coming to the UK. Are you looking to move to the UK for studies or on a short-term tour? Do you want to take advantage of the business and investment opportunities? Or do you want to work in the UK as a skilled migrant or person of exceptional talent.
The purpose of your visit will determine what routes and options are available to you for moving to the UK. It will also determine how much finances and/or qualifications you need.
Some of these options overlap and you can switch from one category to another while in the UK. But if you have a clear plan in mind, your visa application process will go much smoother.
2. Step Two – Find the Right Counsellor
A professional counsellor can make the visa application process easier and quicker for you. Qualified visa advisors and legal experts are well versed in the immigration law. They can help you avoid pitfalls and ensure your application and documents are complete.
A smart advisor can assist you at every step of the process from gathering documents and filling out applications to appealing on your decision. Your counsellor can also provide insight about visa options that you are eligible for.
3. Step Three – Gather Your Documents
Before you apply, you will need to gather a variety of documents for your visa. Which documents you will need depends on the visa category that you choose.
For instance, if you are looking to apply for a study program in the UK, you will need to get a “Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies” (CAS) letter from your education provider.
There are thousands of approved educational institutions in the UK that offer short term and long term study programs. Get in touch with a counsellor to choose the right study program for your needs.
If you are looking to move to the UK as a worker, you will need to apply under Tier 2 – skilled worker category. For this, you will need to have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an approved UK employer.
If you are looking to move to the UK as an investor, or business entrepreneur, you will need the relevant documents related to that category.
If you are coming to the UK from a Non-English speaking part of the world, you will also need to provide evidence of English proficiency. This is generally acquired through an International English Language Testing Service.
4. Step Four – Prepare Your Financial Documents
If you are applying from overseas and do not have an exemption, you will need to provide an evidence of funding for your living expenses, including accommodation. You will also have to provide proof that you have the finances to pay your tuition expenses.
These financial proof requirements are very strict and your application will be rejected if you do not attach these documents with your application. Consult with an experienced visa advisor to find out your specific case requirements in detail.
If you have already been living in the UK legally for 12 months or more, then you do not have to providing financial proof. You are also exempt from providing financial proof if you are applying under an investor class visa.
5. Step Five – Fill Out And Submit Your Application
Once you have all the necessary documents in hand, it is time to submit your application. In most cases, applications are now submitted online. You may be able to submit it by post through a designated address in your region. Consult with a legal advisor to find out more.
Make sure to provide accurate and complete information in your application. If you miss relevant sections for your case or submit incorrect information, your application can be rejected.
6. Step Six – Submit Biometrics
At the time of submitting your application, you will need to make an appointment for your biometric resident card. You should have several locations near your area to choose for biometric submission.
Go to the designated office at the scheduled time. Take your passport and all your original supporting documents with you.
You will need to submit these documents, along with your passport for processing. Once they have been assessed, your documents will be return to you with your Visa.
At this stage, you may also be required to go through a ‘credibility interview’. This interview is usually carried out for people applying for a visit or study Visa. The purpose is to determine whether the applicant is genuinely applying for the reasons stated on their application.
7. Step Seven – Receive Your Documents
After your visa has been processed, you will receive your passport and other documents by post. A vignette (sticker) will be added to a blank page on the passport.
This sticker outlines important information such as the purpose and duration of your visa. It will allow you entry into the UK.
You must collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) card after you arrive in the UK. The residence card has all your important information on it and you must keep it with you while you are in the UK.
If you are looking to move to the UK then we advise you to seek legal advice from a team of qualified visa experts based in London such as the immigration lawyers at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors.