Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Applying for a UK VISA

Sometimes, it is difficult to travel when you are a Filipino because you have to get a VISA to enter other countries. And the processing takes time, money and effort. The process can sometimes be tedious too. And while we have a Schengen Visa and can travel to most European countries, we still need to get a UK Visa because UK is not a member country of the Schengen Agreement.

I have started processing our application last July because we initially planned to go in August. That was postponed due to unavoidable circumstances and we had to move our appointment date at a later time, which is on Friday, November 13th. We plan to spend the Christmas Holidays with my brother-in-law and his family in London.
The application is done and paid for ONLINE, which is quite an easy task. Once you have completed the online application, you will receive an email confirmation and will then be asked to make your appointment online to submit your application. But the process doesn't end there because you still have to go to the VISA Application Center either in Munich, Berlin or Dusseldorf to submit your documents and have your biometrics taken. These things we will do on Friday at the Application Center in Munich.

Generally, the following are the required documents:

All applicants
  • A valid travel document or passport
  • One passport sized colour photograph. This must not be more than 6 months old. (They are very strict when it comes to photographs and the following should be followed:
  • • Colour
    • Passport style and size (45mm high x 35mm wide)
    • A recent and true likeness, showing full face, with no hat, helmet or sunglasses, although you can wear everyday glasses
    • Original - that is not digitally or optically altered (for example it must not be ‘photoshopped’ or ‘touched-up’)
    • Taken against an off-white, cream or light grey background so that your features are clearly distinguishable against the background
    • Printed on low-gloss, plain-white photo-quality paper (with no watermarks or embossing)
    Photographs that do not conform to these standards will be rejected and may cause a delay in processing your application.
  • The appropriate fee
  • If you are not a national of the country in which you are applying, evidence of your permission to be in that country e.g. a residence permit, visa, green card
  • Evidence to support the information you have given (see below for more details)
  • Previous passport(s)
  • Evidence of how your trip is to be funded
Personal Details section
  • Unless single, please provide evidence of your marital status e.g. marriage or civil partnership certificate, divorce certificate, death certificate
  • You may be asked to present written notification from the child’s parent or legal guardian that they consent to the child’s visit (including evidence from your legal guardian to support their claim to be your legal guardian)
  • The official record of any conviction(s), detailing the crime(s) you were convicted of and the sentence(s) you received
Finances and employment
  • Evidence of your current employment/self employment/occupation/work/studies/other means of support
  • Evidence of your total monthly income from all sources of employment or occupation after tax
  • Evidence of any income from other sources e.g. friends, family, savings, property etc
Family visitor
  • Evidence of the family member(s) in the UK that you intend to visit. This could be a copy of their bio data page (the page containing their photograph) from their UK passport or EEA passport/ID card; or if they are not a UK/EEA national, evidence of their permission to stay in the United Kingdom e.g. copy of letter granting leave to remain from the Home Office, copy of stamps/visas in their passport(s) along with a copy of their bio data page (the page containing their photograph) from their passport, etc.
  • Letter from family member/sponsor, supporting the visit
All these documents I have to finalize and prepare so that things will go smoothly on Friday. Our biometrics (fingerscans and photograph) will also be taken on Friday. After that, we will send our documents to the Full Service VAC in Düsseldorf. I have to make sure that a return envelope and a fee of €15 is included with our application so that our documents will be returned to us via courier. Quite confusing eh? I, myself, am confused. I guess we will be able to sort this all out come Friday. I guess we can always ask the officials. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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