UK TOURIST VISA APPLICATION

My experience applying for a UK Tourist Visa in Manila

Date of application: August 06, 2018

Part of my long term travel goal is to visit countries in Europe that I have not yet visited before. However, holding a Filipino passport is a disadvantage because it is not among the strongest passport around. In fact, it currently ranked 72nd in the passport index. Since I plan to include the United Kingdom on my trip, therefore I need to apply for a UK Tourist Visa in Manila.

Iconic telephone booth in SOHO

INFORMATION ABOUT THE UK TOURIST VISA

I needed to apply for 5 visas before my gap year starts, and we all know that the United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Agreement so it should be applied separately. Based on my research, I need to apply for this visa first because:

  • I will also be applying for a French Schengen visa since my UK visit is sandwiched between other countries, it is reasonable to apply this first.
  • UK visa is valid for 6 months, and if I apply in August, it will still be valid until January (but you can only apply 3 months before your travel, so there’s that too).
  • Visa release (if approved) can take up to 15 working days, almost a month of waiting. My itinerary will be based on the approval of my UK and Schengen visas, therefore, I cannot proceed with the rest not until these are approved.

Once I am sure of everything, I scheduled my appointment here.

REQUIREMENTS FOR UK TOURIST VISA

Stonehenge

As with other Schengen countries, VFS also handles the visa application process of the UK, so everything will be processed there. Once I have my appointment date, I already started gathering the requirements:

  • Cover letter explaining my purpose of travel
  • Certificate of employment, which includes my date of joining the company and my yearly gross salary.
  • Bank Certificate
  • Credit Card copy with the latest SOA
  • Latest ITR
  • Approval from an immediate manager. Since our company doesn’t show this in the COE, I submitted them a copy of the email approval of my supervisor for this trip.
  • Mock flight ticket booking – I mock booked via Turkish Airlines. No need to pay, they will hold the reservation for 3 days without any charge.
  • Hotel bookings – booked via Booking.com
  • Travel Itinerary – I included the activities that I will do in London, Salisbury, and Edinburgh.

DAY OF APPLICATION

Since I chose a 7 am schedule for the appointment, I went to VFS as soon as I got out of work. There were a lot of people when I arrived, though the majority of them are for a Canadian visa application. At around 6:30 am, the guard divided us according to the country we are applying for and instructed us on what to do. Luckily we were allowed to bring our bags inside (some do not allow it like France and Canada).

I was 2nd in line, so I was able to process mine immediately. It was fast; there was no interview and they just checked my requirements. They also took my biometrics and picture (so no need to bring one).

There is an option to receive a text message about the status of the application. However, I did not avail it because they say that you will also receive an email. I also did not get the delivery service and just opted for pick up. After everything was done, they informed me to wait for further instructions.

I received an email exactly 10 working days after I applied, saying that my passport is ready for pick up. They will only release it from 14:00 – 16:00. Since I am not available on those hours, I just asked my brother to pick it up for me. We just downloaded the authorization form here and a photocopy of our passports. It was one happy day, as I woke up to prepare for my shift, my brother was already at home with my passport….and approved visa!

Giant’s CausewayBelfast, Northern Ireland

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