UK Visa for Philippine Passport Holders
It was a week ago that I revealed my RTW plans and the beginning of my quest for visas. Every Filipino who have experienced applying visas to Japan, US and Europe (Schengen, UK) can relate to this agony. I went through both before but it doesn’t get easier. Since I’m going through the whole process again, I thought I’d make an outline to give future Filipino applicants a starting point. Digging through pages and pages of requirements can truly cause nausea, no kidding. So here you go, a blow by blow account on how to apply for UK Visa for Philippine Passport Holders.
The United Kingdom (UK) is composed of the following 4 countries: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. As a Filipino passport holder, let it be a default to assume we needed visa to travel anywhere outside Southeast Asia. UK is no exception. There are several visa types but I’ll be focusing on Tourist Visa. UK visa is applied through official partner VFS Global.
My focus will only be the application of UK Visa For Philippine Passport holders applying for TOURIST VISA. If you’re studying, working, marrying, or visiting family, I’m sure there’s a whole other bunch of stuff you need to prepare. I can’t help you with it, sorry.
Restrictions in visiting UK as a tourist:
- Visit to UK cannot be for more than six (6) months;
- Leave the UK at the end of your visit;
- Have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK without working or needing help from public funds.
- Will not take paid or unpaid employment.
- Will not marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership.
- Will not get private medical treatment.
When to Apply for UK Visa?
As with most countries, UK visa can be applied maximum of 3 months before intended entry.
Where to Apply for UK Visa?
There are 2 parts in UK Visa Application: (1) Online Application (2) Appointment to submit biometric and supporting documents.
You’ll need to have in hand your passport, UK address (hotel booking or friend’s address), email address and begin your online visa application. You’ll need to go through the following:
- register for an account
- fill in the application form in English
- pay for the visa fee online (in most cases)
- print out your form
- book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre
You also need to:
- have all the supporting documents you need for your visa
- translate any supporting documents and include them with the originals if they aren’t in English
What to bring to the Appointment?
- A printed and signed copy of your online visa application form
- Your current valid passport Note: The UK Border Agency will retain your passport until they have reached a decision on your visa application. Bear in mind if you have travel plans before going to UK.
- Previous passports
- Original supporting documents, with photocopies and translations
- Printed copy of the supporting document checklist
- Payment or proof of payment of visa application fee.
- 1 recent photograph (not more than 6 months old) according to below specification.
Photograph Strict Specification
- Taken against a light grey or cream background;
- Clear and of good quality;
- Printed on normal photographic paper;
- 45 mm high x 35 mm wide in size
- Taken with nothing covering the face, without sunglasses or tinted spectacles, or a head covering unless worn for religious or medical reasons. The subject should have their mouth closed (no grinning, frowning or raised eyebrows) and the applicant should be facing forwarding, looking straight ahead.
What are supporting documents?
Simply put, these are documents that show evidence that you have ties in the Philippines and that you are coming back–job, family ties, properties, etc.
Also documents that shows you are capable of supporting yourself while in UK without the need to find employment–Bank statements, certificates, employment payslip, credit cards, etc.
You also need to submit details of accommodation plans and trip itinerary. However, please don’t pay for your accommodation until visa is issued.
All these should be submitted during the appointment. No further documents will be accepted after. Now, while the absence of these documents may result in unsuccessful visa application, submission does not guarantee visa issuance. More info on UK Visa Supporting Document
If you’re not paying for your own way, or have friend(s) in UK who will support you, you should present them with the following documents:
- Valid Citizen/Residence ID or Passport
- Bank Statement
- Address and contact details
- Invitation letter stating their support
How much is UK Visa for Philippine Passport Holders? Where to pay for UK Visa? (Updated 2-Sept-2014)
Since December 17, 2012, visa fee can only be made online. It will form as part of the online application process. When all items are filled up, you will be directed to the website of WorldPay where you have the choice to pay with Visa or Mastercard. They no longer accept payment in person like I did before.
Waiting for Result
If there are no further delays (lacking or unverifiable document), you should have result in approximately 4-5 working days. Track your application through the free Application Status Tool. You can collect documents personally or have the option to have it delivered to your home by paying Php 450. You also get an SMS saying it’s on its way.
Update: So lesson learned, if you are planning to visit in summer, you have to apply earlier. March and April is really hectic. I received mine in 15 days. This is also because of the Royal Wedding coming up on April 29, 2011.
UK Visa Application Centre
VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc., MANILA
Mezzanine Floor Unit M01, Ecoplaza Building,
2305 Pasong Tamo Extension Makati City, Metro Manila 1231
VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc., CEBU
9th Floor, Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop
cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue,
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City 6000
Note – Applicants who wish to lodge their UK visa application at the visa application centre in Cebu will be required to pay an additional service fee of Php 4, 425 in cash at the visa application centre.
Here are some links for additional reading
UK Visa for Filipino Passport Holders kicks off the Visa for Pinoy Series I’m starting in this blog. Here’s hoping it will be a good starting point in your application. I had to go through labyrinth of information to get here. I don’t have my visa yet but I’ll update often! Now, moving on to a totally unrelated topic, this is my 100th post! :)
NOTES & UPDATE: I just came back from a very easy application submission. My schedule was for 9:40am and I was there 9:30am as the website suggested. You have to reschedule if you’re more than 20 minutes late. Total wait time is about 2 hours but once my number is called, it took less than 5 minutes for them to check my documents and then another 5 minutes for them to take my biometric data.
Like I said I was there for 2 hours with about 80 people ahead of me. I saw a lot of people being sent back and forth to rearrange their document, or having to fill up more forms, or worse, being asked to come back. Here are few notes to guarantee you out in a jiffy!
- No need to submit photocopy your application form and passports. They’ll ask you to take it out. Save trees too!
- Paste the photo on to the application form. Not stapled, not taped, but pasted.
- Print copy of the supporting document checklist and check (tick) those supporting document that you’re submitting. Some people didn’t, so they have to fill this up when there.
- Arrange document in the order presented on the checklist.
- Bring original supporting documents and have a photocopy of them. I don’t know how many people had to go out and have their document photocopied. Note that you will leave with them ALL your original document (land title, lease document, business registration, bank statements, financial statement, etc.) to be returned with your visa.
- You can only go in with your documents placed in an envelope. Bags and phones will have to be left at their package counter (at the guard). So much more consideration than the US Embassy.