London is in every traveler’s bucketlist. From architectural wonders to fashion, London has something for everyone. Of course, this western destination is a dream for many Filipinos, and with cheaper flights and travel websites, it’s easier to DIY your itinerary. But first, securing that VISA!
Note: This is applicable ONLY for Philippine passport holders, residing in the Philippines, applying for a Tourist Visa. If you are not in the Philippines, check out this site.
In the Philippines, VFS GLOBAL manages your UK visa application. This is where you will submit your requirements and have your biometric scan. It is important to find out which type of visa you’ll need. As a tourist, you’ll need to apply for a STANDARD VISITOR VISA.
Processing Time: You can apply for a UK visa as early as 3 months from your date of departure. More than that, your application won’t be accepted. A general visit visa (6 months or less) is usually processed within 15 days. A Super Priority Visa (24hr processing) or Priority Visa (3-5 days processing) is available for a higher fee (Php 54,000.00 / Php 10,000.00 + 87 GBP standard visa fee) if you need your visa quickly. This does not guarantee an approved visa. For other types of visa, you can check it out here.
How To Apply:
- Double check the type of visa you’ll need by visiting the official website. Standard visitor visa will take you to this info-rich site where you can see your eligibility, required documents, and online application form.
- Book an appointment with VFS GLOBAL. This will tell you the time and date you should go to their office in Makati to submit your documents and have your biometric scan.
- On your appointment date, bring a printed copy of your appointment letter and make sure to arrive 15 minutes early. You will have to leave your bags and cellphone at the baggage counter for a fee. At the general receiving counter (there is a separate line for visa applications for other countries), present your appointment letter and your passport at the UK counter and you will be given a queuing number, a feedback form, and a checklist before heading to a holding room.
- Once inside the room, arrange your documents according to the checklist and wait for your number to be called. After submitting your documents and making the necessary payments (in cash, credit cards not accepted) you will wait again for your biometric scan.
- a valid passport with at least 6 months validity and blank pages
- passport sized color photograph
- bank statements, payslips from the last 6 months
- employment certificate, ITR
If you have a sponsor:
- sponsorship letter
- sponsor’s bank statements, ITR, proof of financial capability
Other information needed:
- estimate cost of your trip
- current home address and length of stay
Fees: More services are available at the Visa Application Centre (VAC)
- Application Fee – USD 133 – to be paid online during your online application (standard tourist visa).
- Courier Service – Php 500.00 – for door to door delivery of your passport and other documents (tracking number included)
- SMS Status Update – Php 150.00 – before your passport is delivered back to you, you will be updated regarding the approval of your visa application
- Baggage Counter – Php 100.00
This is the first time for me to apply for a UK visa, the last time I applied for a visa was in 2013 for South Korea and I had help there because I was employed by the Korean Embassy’s Cultural Center. It took me a long time to read all the information on the official sites and reading tips from travel blogs as well.
The overall process of application is easy and fast. It took only 8 working days for my passport to be returned with favorable results. The staff at the VAC were friendly and professional. I only had trouble collecting my required documents since I am not formally employed (I work for my parents). So I submitted a sponsorship letter along. In cases like mine, it is important to include in your letter that you won’t stay in UK and that you will come back once your visa expires.
For a standard tourist visa, I read in some sites that your length of stay will depend on your submitted documents. You can be granted 6 months single entry, or multiple entry. You can apply for long-term visas: 2 years (330 GBP), 5 years (600 GBP), 10 years (752 GBP).
Others will tell you not to submit unnecessary documents – and I agree. However, it is good to have the originals ready with you when you go to the VAC, certain documents may be requested of you. I thought TORs were only requested from students, but the staff asked if I brought along a copy which I didn’t. Do not worry if you didn’t bring a copy since there is a copying service available at the VAC.
I understand that the UK visa site can be quite overwhelming with all the links and information available. I’ll be glad to help in any way I can, just drop a line :)
Disclaimer: This post is not paid for or endorsed by any agency. The writer is not affiliated in any way with embassy officials, VFS Global, or the UK government agencies. In no way shall this site be liable to your failure in securing a visa or the information which may have changed since the publication of this post.