January 28, 2019 • 61 Comments
How To Apply For A U.K. Tourist Visa in the Philippines
My first hand experience in applying for a U.K. tourist (C-Visit) visa
It wasn’t that easy but it was worth it!!!! Kaloka. Before we start, this post is meant to give tips for Filipino passport holders on how to get a U.K. tourist visa. I hope you find this guide useful and help you worry less :) You can do it! :)
Hey, I made it!
UPDATED January 29 2019 (Originally shared May 2017)
Emotionally. Draining. – these 2 words is what I THOUGHT would describe a usual visa-processing experience. Carrying a Filipino passport, you need to apply in MOST of the countries you’d like to visit. It’s a harsh reality but we can’t change that – so let’s talk about how the process really goes.
Before anything else, I’d like to share that I have an intense visa-trauma (Yes!! Visa trauma exists!) because I have been rejected a few years ago when I applied for a visa to South Korea. I was heart broken when I picked up my passport and inside was a tiny piece of paper stating the reason of why I was denied. It was indeed the worst feeling ever so since that day, I’ve always trusted a travel agency (Hi Vangie of Globetrotters!) to handle and help me out but nothing beats preparation and familiarizing to do things on your own.
When my boyfriend Nick and I were planning our Eurotrip, I couldn’t help but think of what visa I needed. Nick’s family is based in London and I was sooo excited to meet them so I had to get to work and go get a standard U.K. Tourist visa.
Before applying, I only had my Australia and Japan visas – so I was so nervous. Coming from someone who is SCARED when it comes to applying for visas, getting one for the U.K. is actually fast and less stressful. Here is how to do it!
WHERE TO APPLY FOR A UK VISA?
To apply, you head over and create an account on the Visa4UK website that can be found HERE. You fill out the application form section by section (if you have questions for your travel agency, you can SAVE your answers and go back to it). At the end, you choose a date for your VFS appointment and pay via credit card to finalize the transaction. It costs around 133USD.
WHEN TO APPLY FOR A UK VISA?
The rule of thumb is actually applying 3 months BEFORE your intended date of departure to give allowance of ironing details and gathering additional documents. Our trip was end of Feb so Nick was reminding me to do it ASAP and I finally gathered courage (lol!) and started working on it last December.
WHILE APPLYING ONLINE, WHAT TO EXPECT?
You will need to state the details of your travel history for the past 10 years (as shown in your passport). You have to remember to BE HONEST and if needed, state the name and address of anyone paying for your trip or if you have a sponsor. As I mentioned, Nick’s family is based in London so his brother was kind enough to write me a “Letter of Invitation.” – plus Nick too! In that letter, you must include the name, address and passport number of the person inviting you from the UK. You should state that you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit.
Documents gathered (even BEFORE the online application)
- Original passport and expired passport
- Original authenticated birth certificate
- Two pcs. (2) pictures size 1.77×1.37 inches colored white background
- Original bank certificate
- Original bank statement for 6 months
- Original latest income tax
- If employed: Original certificate of employment, xerox copy of S.S.S. I.D. and company I.D.
- If self-employed: Original and xerox copy of Business Name, Mayors Permit and D.T.I.
- Printed out Application Form online
Other information you’ll need:
Exact dates you’re planning to travel to the UK, details of where you’ll be staying and how much you think the trip will cost.
Organizing my barcode seperators
*Also, prepare Php200 because you’ll need to buy a set of Barcode Seperators when you get to the VFS.
The UK embassy has a new procedure that they will no longer hold onto your documents (original AND photocopy). They will instead, scan it in an organised way with the us of these Barcode Seperators. It is your responsibility to seperate them already when it is your turn at the counter. All documents must be A4 size (although this flexible). Since they’ll be scanning all of your documents, do not staple them together.
Here are the categories:
Place your bank certs, third party investments, etc here
Consent Letters and Proof of Relationship
For kids, you bring your sponsor letter and in my case, I brought my marriage certificate. Naks!
If you have an invite letter, include the passport scan of the person who invited you.
Accommodation Permanent or Temporary
Place your hotel reservations or proof of accommodation here
Itinerary, photocopy of passport with visas and stamps as well as your birth certificate.
Some that I didn’t use: Educational Evidence and Tuberculosis Certificate
WHAT TO EXPECT on the day of your VFS appointment at VFS Global?
So at the end of your application, they make you choose a date of when you’ll bring in your requirements. On the day of your appointment, arrive 15 minutes early at the VFS Center. Bring your appointment letter and application pack, your passport and a second valid form of identification. I went and you’re apparently not allowed to bring a bag inside but they have a locker area for that for Php100. (Expensive, I know!)
Important note: You will not be able to submit further documents once your application has been submitted at the visa application centre. The documents that you submitted at the time you made your application will be the only documents that are considered. So submit everything!
ONCE YOU TURN IN YOUR APPLICATION FORM + REQUIREMENTS
They’ll call you for biometrics and get your fingerprints and photograph. Like a passport photo, your digital photograph must be taken with full face and should be clearly visible with no hair across the eyes. Although, this does not mean your visa has been granted. They’re just collecting your biometrics!
HOW TO COLLECT?
Once you’re done, you go back to the counter and choose whether you would prefer to collect your documents in person at the visa application centre or have them delivered to you by post. I picked a personal collection because I haaaate waiting!
With the grace of the Almighty, I went to the VFS and voila – it took 6 business days for my visa to arrive.
Hello, Landen! | My UK Tourist Visa
Enjoying London with my cheerleader, Nick Higson!
And we all lived happily ever after… for now. Thank you Nick for the much needed mental and emotional support when I was going through this entire process (He even physically went to the VFS with me and waited outside!) Now, all is well and you can do it too!:) For visa assistance or if you have any questions, comment down below or have it processed by Globetrotters Inc. Travel on Tours.