I created this blog in order to give guidance and share my experience on the processing of a UK tourist visa especially for those who are being sponsored by their UK resident or citizen partner or boyfriend.
Prior to my application, I have already been searching,reading blogs and comments industriously in order to get information and guidance on how the application is done. While doing this I have noticed that most of the comments are pertaining to application whose partners or bf who are residents or citizens in UK are sponsoring their visit. But never I have found a detailed blog about it.
So hopefully this blog will be of help. Oh, I got my passport with 6 months C-visit multiple visa on it in a matter of 10 days. Thanks God all my hard work in research and planning my application paid off, thanks to my UK resident boyfriend who is very supportive of me. =)
Before I started this very long process, yes very long I tell you, but if you are patient and knows what you are doing then you will be good. I’m going to give you my profile background, this way it may help you assess yourself as well and help you on the proper supporting documents that you will be gathering.
I am age 34 female as of time of Visa Application, I have a permanent resident boyfriend in UK who is fully sponsoring me in this application and visit. I have traveled three times to the US both business and tourism and a five-day tour in Singapore . I have been working already for more than 7 years in a private company and I have a very minimal savings and some very minimal investments in a Cooperative and mutual funds.
Before I go and filled up the application online HERE, I made sure to make a thorough research, read the rules and regulations and my eligibility in applying for a STANDARD VISITOR VISA and the NEEDED DOCUMENTS TO PROVIDE for your visa application. And researched and googled a sample invitation letter from a boyfriend. The moment I found some templates and sample, I send this to my boyfriend so he will have an idea on how an invitation letter will be done. Please see this SAMPLE INVITATION LETTER which my boyfriend used as guide in creating his invitation letter for me.
Below are all the supporting documents I submitted for my application, this is actually also the content of the cover letter I made. Making a cover letter somehow helps me especially in organizing my documents the moment I submitted them already to VAC( Visa application center), the VAC for UK Visa Application is VFS GLOBAL, here you can find also important procedures once you are submitting already your application. In the Philippines there are two branches where you can submit your application which is in Manila and in Cebu. Addresses and opening times of these branches can be found HERE. These two branches follows the same procedure, they just take your documents and few questions as to the completeness of these documents, and your biometrics. As for me, I submitted my documents in Cebu branch as this is the one very accessible and convenient for me. Please take note that no consul or immigration will do the interview on you, thus their decision would rely on the documents you submitted. So again it is a must that the documents you submitted are complete and is matched with what you have answered on the online application. And the most important thing, be honest with your answers and your supporting documents are real, never submit a fake documents these people who will be reviewing your papers are well-trained and they can really detect fake documents. Sometimes, if the reviewer needs to clarify some things, they will call you directly or to the contacts indicated in the supporting documents they want clarification with.
So here are the list of the documents I prepared and submitted:
Personal Documents (all original copies, except for those that indicates as “copy”)
- Passport with USA Visa(10 years Multiple entry) including stamped travels to the US
- Old passport with stamped travel to Singapore
- Two (2) passport size colored photo (PHOTO SPECIFICS)
- Certificate of Employment (on letterhead, and sealed, indicating job position, years in the company and annual salary)
- Letter from my Direct Manager approving my paid Vacation Leave for this trip
- Copy of Company ID
- Unionbank Bank Certificate (Savings deposit)
- Fixed Deposit Investment certificate and savings from my Cooperative and Stocks
- 2015 Income Tax return
- 6 months payslip
- Tour Itinerary in UK (with estimated cost) – this took me many days to complete as i me and my boyfriend are really researching well especially on the cost, take note that there is a portion of the online application where you are to put up a cost, so what you indicated in this itinerary must be matched up with each other
- Copy of Cathay Pacific Round trip flight I wanted to book for this vacation(Actually just a screenshot and not yet a booking)
- Printed, signed and dated Application form
- Appointment Confirmation
- Application payment reference
- Cover Letter (only stating my purpose of visit in the UK and the list of the documents I’m submitting)
Documents from Sponsor (Scanned Copy)
- Invitation Letter
- Passport Copy with stamped travels in the Philippines
- Bank Statement for three (3) months
- Income Tax Returns
After gathering all the documents above, I then started filling up the online application (HERE), if this is your first time to apply then you need to REGISTER an account, please make sure to remember your email address and password as you will be needing this every time you log in to your application. It took me 15 days to complete my online application, I took this long, because I made sure not to miss anything, even after completing my application I have to read it many times and compare the information I filled in to the supporting documents I am submitting.
Oh, one more thing, as UK rules you can only apply a visa within three months before your departure date. So in my case, I am scheduled to arrived at UK on June 11, 2016, since I am too abiding, I submitted and confirmed my online application on March 11, 2016 exactly three months from my arrival in UK. And had my appointment on the second earliest schedule available the next working day which is March 14, 7.40 AM. Another reason why I applied exactly three months before my arrival in UK, actually just too early instead of applying in April or May, because I was also monitoring the airline cost, and the earlier you book a ticket the cheaper it is, imagine I was expecting GBP900 as cost of my airline ticket, but since there was a sale my ticket cost was only GBP745.
Once you have registered an account, you can now start logging in for an application, there is actually a choice for Apply for Myself or Apply for others. Either of the choice once you click any of it, below screen will appear, take note that they are really very particular about false documents.
I will not be explaining here step by step on how to answer the online form, as most are personal information and understandable, however I will just point out several important questions in the form that really needs more attention and time. I’ll provide what I have answered in numerical questions based on how it appears in the online application. You may also check the PDF copy of the online application HERE, however, this is not actually how it appears on the actual online form, however, more or less the questions are similar, in my case I answered this PDF copy before registering an account online, at least I would know what to expect upon actual filling up and it would be easier already.
Most of these questions are the questions I have noted where most of the applicants are asking in blogs, and these questions also are very important and in my own opinion is significant to the decision of the UK Immigration VISA reviewer.
UK government frequently updates their application, so the line numbering may not be the same as how it appears on your form at the time you make your application.
PART 1 : PASSPORT AND TRAVEL INFORMATION
Line 15. Is this your first passport?
*** This part is actually asking if you have other passport aside from the current one you have, whether this is expired, lost or stolen. Make sure to fill up this area, if this is in your possession the better as you will be able to give details and information as to the following: Nationality, Document Number, issuing Authority, Date of Issue,Date of Expiry .
***For lost or stolen passport, definitely it would be very difficult already to supply the needed information unless you retained a scanned copy of your passport. Even if the passport is no longer in your possession, you still need to declare it. In my opinion this is important especially to verify if the person applying for the visa is really the real person. If you can no longer supply the needed information, you need to state it in the additional information which is found in Line 85, Part 7.
Line 18. Date of planned arrival in the UK.
***You have to make sure to fill in this line, as this will be their basis if you are applying within the three-month rule, this will be their basis also in issuing your visa and when the visa will be valid.
Line 19. How long do you intend to stay in the UK?
*** Fill in the number of days or months you are planning to stay, it will be good that the invitation letter coming from your sponsor indicates this as well. My boyfriend, indicated it in his invitation letter to me as well as the exact date of my arrival and departure in UK.In my opinion, this will somehow assure your intent of leaving UK after your intended trip is over. The supporting document I submitted for this is the screen shot copy of a Cathay Pacific available flight for my intended arrival and departure. Never ever pay a flight unless you have an approved VISA, the UK government even discourages you in buying a flight if no approved visa yet. I have learned also that there are some travel agencies who can make you a flight reservation only, you just have to pay around P100 to P500 for administration fee, but you may cancel this reservation without extra costs.
Line 20: What is the main address and contact details of where you will be staying whilst in UK?
***I think for me this is very important that you fill this up correctly, this will give information that you have a place to stay in UK once you are there whether staying at your sponsor’s place or in a hotel. Since I will be staying at my boyfriend’s place he indicated his address and contact details in the invitation letter. He also added in his invitation letter, that I will be staying in his place for the entire duration of my trip/vacation. I did not have other supporting documents for this as my boyfriend does not own the place, he was just staying also in a place owned by his friend but on a separate room but big enough to accommodate me once I’m there already. This information was also indicated in the invitation letter. Since I don’t have other supporting documents, all the information regarding the place where I’m staying, I indicated it also in the Additional Information part which is found in Line 85, Part 7. I have read in other blogs that it is also better to provide tenancy/leasing agreement (actually it is also indicated in the checklist provided by VFS).
PART 2 : PERSONAL DETAILS AND TRAVEL HISTORY
Line 21: What is your permanent residential address and contact details?
***It is a must the you filled up this correctly, in cases there are needed information that the Visa application reviewer would want to verify they will go into this information and contact details.
Line 32: Have you ever travelled outside your country of residence excluding the UK, in the last 10 years?
***Since I have travelled four times outside Philippines I indicated all details in this Line. I have read in some blogs that if you have experienced travelling outside your country of residence it is already a plus factor, but does not guarantee approval.
Lines 35 to 40, refers to questions on criminal history, if you don’t have any criminal history, make sure to reply “NO”, in my case I have to double-check this many times just to make sure, as there are always instances that you thought you have answered “NO’ but you have clicked “YES. =)
Part 3: FAMILY DETAILS
These are questions related to your marital status, Father, Mother, and if you have dependent children.
Part 4: Employment and Income
This part of the application must be well supported, as this will be the basis if you are financially able and if you have ties in the Philippines, though you are being sponsored, I believe Visa application reviewer would want to know your socio-economic standing in the Philippines, what are you doing and are you earning in the Philippines? It is a must that you supply the correct information. You don’t have to make up information as surely reviewers will definitely detect it. The more you should not fake the supporting documents relative to this part.
Line 58: What is your current working status?
***Since I am employed, I chose Employed-Full time, in my opinion, being employed is a plus factor as well, this will be relevant to your ties in the Philippines. The supporting documents I provided for this questions are the following: Certificate of Employment (with information on my current position in the company, how long I have been working in the company, how much I am earning for the whole year or full year gross income), this is signed by our HR manager complete with her contact details and stamped with the company seal and written (computerized) in a short sized bondpaper with company’s letter head), my 2015 Withholding tax certificate, 6 month’s worth of payslip, my company I.D. and a letter/certification from my direct manager that he is approving my expected vacation leave.
Line 59: What is total monthly income from all sources of employment or occupation after tax?
***To answer this question you have to provide simply your gross compensation for the whole month less the tax being withheld or paid.
Example: Total Gross Monthly Income from work or business = Php100,000 Less Tax (Say 32%) which is Php32,000, so the amount you are to fill in this Line would be Php68,000.
In my case, I submitted 6 months of my payslip, since in my payslip there are other deductions like government contributions (SSS,Philhealt,PAG-IBIG) and insurance, I did not deduct it from my gross salary instead I looked into the tax portion and its only the tax amount I deducted from gross , however in the Additional Information part which is found in Line 85, Part 7 , I indicated there that aside from tax that has been deducted from my gross pay, I am also deducted by government contributions and insurance, and since monthly computation of my tax varies from month to month, I also mentioned that the amount I indicated in Line 59 is the 6 months average.
Line 66: Do you have any savings,properties, or other income, for example from stocks or shares?
*** In this line I answered YES, because I have small savings coming from small portion I allocate from my salary. I submitted a bank certificate for this as supporting document, it indicated in the certificate the total balance amount as of date I requested for the certificate and the daily average balance within six months. Actually this is just my payroll account as I am not maintaining a separate savings. I also have some cooperative investments that I am putting up monthly, so I also submitted a certificate of shares ownership for this. So in order not to be confused on what amount to indicate in this line, all you need to answer really is the total amount you put up monthly into your savings then convert it to GBP, it does not have to be the income of the savings but the savings itself that you are putting up monthly, I have read a lot of comments on this in other blogs and they are confused. Another thing also, having a savings is very important especially in cases like this, where you have to apply for a visa. I think it is not enough that you would be sponsored in your visa and vacation, it is also important that you have some savings in the bank, it does not actually matter how big or small is the amount at least you can prove that you are not entirely financially dependent on your sponsor. This will signify ties in the Philippines and is a plus factor.
Line 68: How much do you spend each month on living expenses?
***This is just actually the total amount you spend on food,transportation, water, electricity, etc each month in the Philippines, add this all up and convert to GBP.
Line 69: How much of your total monthly income is given to your family members and other dependants?
***In this line all you need to add is the amount you provide to your family or dependents, if not then you put “0”. In my case I put up an amount since I am giving money to my mother every payday.
Line 70: What is the cost to you personally of your trip in GBP?
***I put up some amount in this portion, around 500GBP, even though my boyfriend is fully paying for everything for me for the whole duration of my vacation, I still put up an amount because I don’t want to be totally dependent on him, I also indicated in the Additional Information the reason why I am bringing extra money, and its for emergency, souvenirs and gifts for my family. Though I know he would buy these for me, but still its better to be in a place you just have gone for the first time financially equipped as there might be uncontrollable situations that may happen, like delays in flight, of course you need to eat, so its better to have extra cash on hand.
Line 71: The total money that you have for this trip
***Since I will be bringing personal money of 500GBP, this is still the same amount I put up in this line.
Line 72: The cost of aeroplane,boat or train tickets?
***Before answering this question, I have checked Cathay Pacific and choose the flight I wanted to booked for this trip,I screenshot that flight details with the cost of the flight ,printed it and included it in my supporting documents, see, you don’t have to buy for tickets yet as you still don’t have a visa. My boyfriend also indicated in his invitation letter, that he will be the one as well to buy for my roundtrip ticket.
Line 73: The cost of my Accommodation
***I answered “0” here since I will be staying in my boyfriend’s place, so we don’t have to pay for anything, he also indicated in his invitation letter that I will be staying in his place (actually not his place but his sister’s boyfriend where he is just staying in a separate room), again he also mentioned this in his letter.
Line 74: The cost of living expenses
***This is simply the cost of your entire trip to UK, less the Aeroplane cost. What I did, is I created an itinerary of my day-to-day activity once I’m in UK already. I researched and googled on the tourist spots to visit and included the amounts, I have used this SITE as guide in making my itinerary. And I should it to my boyfriend, as I need to indicate as well the amounts for transportation and meals. I itemized all expected expenses while I’m in UK from meals, to tourist spots entrance fees, to train rides. For meals I estimated GBP30 per day and multiplied it to the number of days I’ll be staying in UK. You might ask, why do I have to put an amount in this line, to think I will be sponsored by my boyfriend? The answer is simple, how will the reviewer gauge your application and that if your sponsor is financially capable to support you while you are in the UK if you don’t have an estimated amount of expenses.
In this line, I submitted my boyfriend’s various bank statements, showing that he is indeed capable of supporting me and my vacation with him.
Line 75: Is someone other than you paying for all or a part of your trip?
***Definitely I answered ‘YES” hehehe
Line 76: Please select what the relationship is of the person who is contributing for the payment of your trip?
***I chose “Other”, and I indicated BOYFRIEND. Just simple.
Line 78: How much will they be paying towards your trip?
***Since the answer to here will not accept words that means I cannot put in “ALL”, so what I did is add up Line 72 and Line 74. The cost of the Aeroplane plus the cost of my living expenses in UK.
Line 79: Please explain why they are paying towards the cost of your trip?
***My answer to this is, “My boyfriend knows that my savings and resources is not enough to pay for this vacation, so he opted to pay for everything so I can visit him and tour me around the famous tourist spots in UK”, though I have a savings but as I’ve said this is not enough, though the personal money I’ll be bringing will be taken from my savings.
Line 80: What is the total amount in GBP. including money given to you.
***The amount I indicated here is the total amount from Line 71, 72 and 74 (the personal money I am bringing,the aeroplane cost and my total living expenses in UK)
Part 5: FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN UK
Line 81: Please enter details of what you plan to do whilst in UK.
***Space in this line is limited, so I indicated that I have attached my itinerary, and summary of what I have indicated in my itinerary.
Line 82: Do you have friends or family in the UK?
***I answered “YES” here and indicated the details of my boyfriend. I have supported this by including my boyfriend’s passport copy.
PART 7: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Line 85: Is there any other information you wish to be considered as part of your application?
***For me this portion is very important, I’m not really sure if space is unlimited, but I got to type in all the things I need to clarify in my application and supporting documents. My clue here is that, even before the reviewer could think of a question in your application you have supplied already with an answer. There will always be things that is not clear with the reviewer, example how come you are having this amount of savings, then you don’t have work? So, before they doubt you, indicate already the answer in the additional information. Always think outside of the box. But again always be truthful and honest in everything you will indicate in the application form as well as on the supporting documents you are submitting.
So that is it. Once you are done and 10000% sure with all your answers then you may confirm already your application. Once you confirm your application, you can go to the next step which is “Declaration signed”, you will have to just indicate your name in a blank, after which, you can proceed with ” View Appointment” where you will select the visa (VFS) hub convenient for you, whether in Manila or Cebu, and choose the date and time of your appointment appearance (this is just actually submission of documents and taking of your biometrics), after this step you can go to “payment”, you will be directed to a secured portal where you can pay through debit/credit card. I think you an also pay through manager’s check as I have seen people during my appointment day paying a Manager’s check. Finally, after paying online you may now print your application, in the printed application the payment reference and amount is indicated. There is actually two pages that you need to sign in the application. Sign it with your name and indicate the date of your appointment.
These are the details showing the amount I paid for this application:
Visa Fee: USD 123.60
Postage Fee: 0
User Pay Fee: USD75.40
Total: USD199 0r a rough estimate of Php9,452.50
I have to pay a user fee since Cebu is the best choice for me to submit my documents.
On the day of my appointment, I came to the office exactly 15 minutes before my sscheduled appointment. Please take note that if you are submitting your documents in Cebu, it is located in the 9th floor, this building got lots of clients everyday, so expect traffic at the elevator, and it will take you around 5 to 10 minutes for you to set put on the elevator, and again it stops in every floor.
Once you are already at the VFS lobby, approach the guard on duty as he will let you sign a log book where your name is indicated, he will first ask your reference number and appointment time, if you are too early for your appointment you will not be allowed entry yet. Once you signed the log book, Mr. Guard will ask you the two copies of your passport photo and clip this one on your application form, then he gives you VFS checklist where you need to fill it up, this checklist will serve as your guide on the documents you need to submit, you will be ask as well to indicate if you will submit an original or copy of your documents. Once you are done filling up the checklist, Mr. guard will now give you a priority number and will allow you inside the submission area. Oh by the way, before he Mr. Guard allows you to get in, if you are bringing bags and cellphone he will ask you to leave it in there locker, I think there is a cost for the locker, but since I’m not bringing any bag or cellphone I did not bother to ask how much was the cost. Only wallet is allowed and the documents you will be submitting. I suggest you place already your documents in a clear envelope so it is organized. Only clear envelopes are allowed inside the submission area.
While inside the submission area, you will have to wait once your number is called. During my turn, since I have organized well already my documents, the lady just took them, checked it, and since do a little rearrangement, since I placed my boyfriend’s documents at the back she placed it already in the front of the other documents. No questions asked, except if do i still need to get original copies of my documents, since those are just original bank certificated and withholding tax, I said I don’t mind at all, I submitted all originals, since I submitted all originals she did not took my photocopies already. She then asked me if I wanted my documents be delivered via courier or picked up, since VFS office is very accessible to me I opted to picked it up, delivery cost is at Php300. She then asked me if I wanted to receive text message of the update of my application, so I said Yes and paid Php150. Though it’s actually not necessary as you will be receiving email messages exactly of the same time you are receiving the text message. Anyway, I did not know about it yet. heheheh
After paying the text fee, I have to wait again for my turn for biometrics. During my turn, inside this small room the lady asked me my full name and birthdate. Then she asked me if I have travelled to outside the Philippines which I willingly answered with a smile. Oh by the way, once you are inside the small room already you have to smile and greet the lady inside, hehehe good thing I did it because there was a camera taking all the things going on inside that small room. So she took my picture (just happy with this picture as it was the one posted in my Visa, ahhahah), then another picture where the lady asked me to face up the ceiling where the other camera is located. After, she took my fingerprints and signature. Then its done. She then told me that I will have to wait within 15 days for the decision, and the 15 days counting starts on the next day of your application submission. Same day I received this text message, “The visa application for GWFxxxxxxx was forwarded to UKVI on x/x/xxxx (date).”
So fast forward, exactly 8 days, I got this email message from MANIVisaInfo@fco.gov.uk, with subject :Your Visa Application from UK Visas and Immigration, and below message:
Application Reference : GWFXXXXX
A decision has been made on your application and your documents are being returned to the Visa Application Centre (VAC). You will be contacted again by the VAC once these documents have been received and they are ready for you to collect. If you have chosen to have your documents couriered to you, these will be despatched by the VAC once they have been received.
Please do not attend the application centre until you have been contacted by the VAC. UKVI contact details can be found athttps://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-outside-uk
UK Visas and Immigration
British Embassy Manila”
And then I freaked out, with the tone of the email suggesting that I’m denied, so the whole day after I received this email I can no longer concentrate, I googled that email and what it is and what does it means, good thing I found out that its a computer generated email and nothing to worry yet. I tell you, there will never be nay hint if you got a visa or not. You would only know the moment you get your passport back.
Since I’m in Cebu, I expected that I’ll get another message the next day that my documents are ready for pick up, and true is it, I got a text and email message:
text: “The processed visa application for GWFxxxxxx was received on x/x/xxxx(date).”
Email message: from CRMADMIN@vfsglobal.com, with subject “Application Recieved from the post CRM:000xxxxx(series number)”, with message below:
The processed visa application for GWF reference number – GWF038975781 was received at the UK Visa Application Centre on 3/30/2016 .
If a courier service was purchased from VFS Global, your processed application will be delivered to the chosen address.
If not, your documents can be collected during the designated passport collection times.
Please note this is an auto generated e-mail. Please do NOT reply to this email.
Since VFS only allows pick up starting at 2:00PM and I got the messages at 12.30 PM, form then on again I’m agitated and can’t wait for 2PM, so at exactly 5 minutes before 2PM I’m already at VFS office, infront of the guard asking me to log in, then after signing the log book, I was given a priority number. Since I’m the first person their I was entertained right away. The lady in charged asked for my receipt form, and government ID for verification. I was just looking at her, then she picked up something under her table and to be surprised it’s a mail packet, and it was big and you can tell there are a lot of papers inside, and so I told myself ” Oh No, am I denied? why is the packet looks heavy and thick and full of papers are all those the documents I submitted? Oh No”. Then she handed me the packet and told me to open it outside. I then went outside, Mr. Guard, lets me logged in again at there received log book. After, I went directly outside, while approaching the elevator my heart was really pumping so fast, then I opened the packet, the first thing I looked at are the documents, only to know that those are just the original copies of some of the documents I submitted. Then I looked at other papers if there are other paper that does not belong to me, I felt a little relief to found nothing, then I looked into my passport and voila, my hear jump with joy and I thank God Almighty upon seeing my visa pasted on my passport.
Hurray!!! In a couple of months I’ll be seeing London!!!! =)
This is very lengthy, but I hope this will be able to help future UK Visa Applicants, all I can say that if you are very well prepared plus constant prayers you will definitely succeed.
So goodluck on your application, and feel free to comment or drop me a message I would be glad to help you.
“To God be the Glory…..”