How to Apply for a UK Visa?
The UK visa application process depends a lot on the type of visa that you are applying for. Especially if your type of visa belongs to one of the Points-Based System category. Though most of the requirements are the same for each category, the way they are evaluated in the system differs. There are also additional requirements that vary from one to another category.
When Should I Apply for a UK Visa?
The earliest you can apply for a UK visa is three months before the date of your intended trip to here. Yet, keep in mind that the processing of your visa application may take up to three weeks. Apply in advance, so you can give enough time to the consulate for the processing of your visa.
Visas to study in the United Kingdom
The UK is home to many world-class educational institutions, which makes it a popular destination for international students. Before entering the UK, overseas nationals must secure a visa that permits them to study in the UK.
The UK Student Visa, previously known as the Tier 4 Visa, permits students to stay in the UK for the duration of their studies. To be eligible you must have an offer to study on a course from a registered UK educational facility. You will also need to demonstrate your knowledge of the English language and will need to prove that you are able to support yourself financially without the use of public funds.
There are also other types of student visas available. The Short-Term Study Visa is available to those intending to study in the UK for 6 months or less, for example as part of an exchange programme. For younger students, there is also a Child Student Visa. This if for children between the ages of 4 to 17 who will study in the UK for over 6 months.
UK Work Visas
If you intend to work whilst living in the UK, then you must hold a visa that permits you to do this. The UK work visas include:
- Skilled Worker Visa
- Temporary Worker Visa
- Youth Mobility Scheme Visa
- Paid Permitted Engagement Visa
- Sporstperson Visa
- Minister of Religion Visa
- Intra-Company Transfer Visa
- High Potential Individual Visa
The most common UK work visa for overseas nationals is the Skilled Worker Visa. Previously known as the Tier 2 Visa, this visa allows you to work in the UK for up to 5 years and can also be extended after this. To be eligible under the points based system you must score at least 70 points. You can do this by having a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship from a registered UK sponsor company, demonstrating a knowledge of the English language and meeting the relevant salary requirements for your role.
There are also a number of business visas suitable for entrepreneurs who may wish to enter the UK, they include the:
- Innovator Visa
- Investor Visa
- Startup Visa
- Business Visitor Visa
UK Visitor Visa
Non-EEA citizens will require a visitor visa if they intend to enter the UK for a period of six months or less. The standard UK Visitor Visa can be used for a number of purposes including:
- Visiting friends and family
- Staying in the UK as a tourist
- Accessing private medical treatment
There are also other types of visitor visas that may be more suitable for you. The Short-Term Study Visa is a student visitor visa that allows people to study in the country temporarily. The Business Visitor Visa allows foreign nationals to enter the UK temporarily to carry out business activities.
Visitor visas are issued for a period of six months and cannot be extended. However, visitors from the United States, China, Pakistan, India, and other non-EEA countries can, however, apply for a long-term visit visa for UK travel. These are available at an extra cost and can be held for a duration of two years, five years or ten years. The long-term visitor visa still restricts you to a maximum single visit of six months or less.
Being apart from your family can be difficult, luckily there are several types of UK Visas that can be used for the purpose of family reunion. You could be eligible for a family permit if one of the following applies to you:
- Your family member/spouse is a British Citizen
- Your family member/spouse has ILR of settled status
- You have an eligible relationship with an individual in the UK with refugee status or humanitarian protection
The Child dependent visa allows you to bring your children to join you in the UK, and the Adult dependent visa allows you to bring an adult relative who requires care in the UK to join you here. If you wish to join your partner in the UK, you will need to apply for one of the partner visas. They include the Spouse Visa for those who are married to a British citizen or settled person, the Unmarried Partner Visa for those in a civil partnership with a British citizen or settled person or the Fiance Visa for those who intend to marry a British partner or register a civil partnership during their stay in the UK.