Getting a UK Visa in Cebu: What You Need to Know

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Thinking of traveling to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales?

The United Kingdom has a Visa Application Center (VAC) in Cebu City. (Yay!)

VAC Cebu
VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc. 9th Floor, Keppel Center, Unit 905 Samar Loop cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue Cebu Business Park, Cebu City 6000

Here’s the catch: you’ll have to shell out an additional service fee of USD 92. It’s a bit heavy on the pocket — really heavy, actually; I’m trying my hand at British understatement, heh — but the alternative is to book a flight to Manila, pay terminal fees and cab fares, maybe even stay overnight, and deal with the heavy traffic.

See Notes on applying for a UK visa in Cebu to read about my visa application experience.
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The Steps

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In a nutshell, here’s what you need to do to get a UK visa:

  • Online:
    • Fill up an application form.
    • Book an appointment.
  • At the VAC:
    • Submit your documents.
    • Provide biometric information.
  • Wait for the results.

(Click here for a more detailed explanation of the steps.)

When to apply

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You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.

How much

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Application fee: USD 133
Cebu service fee: USD 92
Total: ~PHP 11,000
(As of January 7, 2016)

Apply online

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Apply here.

You will have to fill up the visa application form online, but if you want an idea of the information that you will need to provide, check out this PDF version of the application form.

Book an appointment

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You will be able to book an appointment with your nearest VAC online after you fill up the application form online.

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Submit your documents

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The documents you will need to submit to the VAC during your appointment are as follows:

  1. Your appointment confirmation
  2. A valid passport or travel document with at least 1 page that is blank on both sides
  3. 1 recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm) colour photograph (Specs)
  4. A printout of your online application form, signed and dated
  5. Original and photocopy of supporting documents relevant to your application

Source: VFS Global

These are the supporting documents recommended by GOV.UK (please verify list of supporting documents using this link, as the list may not be updated as regularly as the list in the official website):

  • Valid travel document (national passport or other document that allows the holder to travel internationally)
  • One passport-sized photograph
  • Previous travel documents/passports, which show previous travel
  • Financial documents that show you have sufficient funds available and that you have access to the funds. Examples:
    • Bank statements
    • Proof of earnings such as a letter from employer confirming employment details (start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details)
    • Where a third party is providing financial support, documents to show they have sufficient resources to support you in addition to themselves and any dependant family

Details of employment or studies where you have stated in your application that you are either employed or in full-time studies, such as:

  • A letter from your employer on company headed paper, detailing your role, salary and length of employment
  • A letter from your education provider, on headed paper, confirming your enrolment and leave of absence
  • If self employed: business registration documents confirming the business owner’s name and the date the business started trading
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Documents that should not be submitted unless specifically requested:

  • Bank statements or letters issued more than 1 year before the date of application
  • Driving licence
  • Photographs (other than passport photograph)
  • Notarial certificates
  • Business cards
  • Hotel bookings
  • Flight bookings
  • Photocopies of bank cards
  • Credit card statements
  • Certificates relating to leisure activities
  • Evidence of car ownership
  • Travel insurance
  • Sponsor’s utility bills
  • Sponsor’s council tax bills

Submit the original documents plus one photocopy of each document.

Travel insurance isn’t one of the requirements but if you want to play safe, see the following articles for more info: Travel Insurance for European TripsSample Itineraries and Prices from Blue Cross.

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Results

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You should get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks. You can have your passport (with the visa) delivered to you via courier for an additional PHP 500, or you can claim it personally from the VAC. You can also sign up for SMS status updates for PHP 150.

Other optional services from VFS include:

  • Super priority visa service – PHP 43,200
  • Priority visa service (settlement applications) – PHP 25,920
  • Priority visa service (non-settlement applications) – PHP 8,640
  • Passport passback service – PHP 2,880
  • Primetime appointment service – PHP 3,600
  • VIP premium lounge service – PHP 2,500
  • Courier service – PHP 500
  • Photocopying service – PHP 5/page
  • Photograph service – PHP 150/4 photos
  • Cloakroom – PHP 100

(Click here for details.)

Good luck!

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Getting a UK Visa in Cebu: What You Need to Know
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46 thoughts on “Getting a UK Visa in Cebu: What You Need to Know”

  • Hi! If you don’t mind, how old were you when you first applied for UK and Schengen visa? Because I’m planning to apply for one early next year so I can celebrate my 22nd birthday in Europe. I can have my cousin sponsor my trip since she has been residing and working in UK for the past couple of years however I figure I want to declare myself as the one who will shoulder my trip. My worry is that I’m 21 years old, working for an international electronics company for 1 and a half years (at the target date of application) and I have traveled to 9 countries (all in Asia) for leisure in the past 3 years. My fixed salary is at 20,000+ level monthly though I receive variable bonuses on a monthly and quarterly basis. Do you think being a single, working employee at her early 20’s like me has a good chance of getting approved for a visa? Thank you so much! 🙂

    • I was a bit older than you when I applied.

      I think that what they look for is proof that: (1) you can afford your trip, and (2) you’re coming back to the Philippines.

      For #1, it would be great if you have decent savings in your bank account. They will look at your balance for the previous 3-6 months, so if you’re applying for next year and you don’t have that much in your account, maybe you can convince your parents to “park” some of their money in your account? Also, I think it will help if you ask your cousin for an affidavit of sponsorship/guaranty, not necessarily to fund your entire trip but just as a supplement. That’s what I did when I first went to Europe; I paid for it myself but I asked my father to make an affidavit that he was going to give me an x amount of money for the trip and then I included his financial documents (which were more impressive than mine, obviously).

      For #2, it’s actually great that you have a job in [what sounds like] a good company. Ask them for an employment certificate and an approved leave of absence. If you have any properties — land, car, condo, etc. — include proof of ownership in your documents.

      Age *might* be a factor but there’s nothing you can do about that, so just make sure that you beef up and complete all your documents so that they’ll be able to look past that.

      Good luck!

  • Hi. I would like to ask that if a friend gonna sponsor me, do i need to provide my bank books too? Or only my friend’s financial statement? thank you.. Good day.

  • Hi! Are the fees still the same?.. is it 11k per person?.. will my 3 year-old daughter be charged the same 11k?… im planning to visit my mom together with my husband and my daughter and we will be staying in my mama’s place. Any tips? Thank you

  • Hi there,

    I’m planning to apply for a tourist visa soon but my concern is my financial background. I’m single and I have a decent work and earning better than others working in a bpo company. Sadly, I don’t have savings that you can check. However, my trip will be sponsored by my British boyfriend who has a good job and have better earnings. What are the chances of application given my financial situation? A reply would be very much appreciated.

    • Hi Kristine! I’m really not qualified to assess the chances your visa application will be approved since I don’t work for the embassy. However, if your boyfriend is paying for all your expenses, and he executes an affidavit of support saying that’s what he’ll do, and he has financial documents (bank statements, etc.) that show he has the capacity to do so, I think you have a good shot. (And a piece of unsolicited advice: since you have decent work and you earn a lot, please look into building up a savings account, as that will really help with future visa applications, among other possible uses.) Good luck!

  • Hello 🙂
    i want to ask what type of visa is best for me to apply. My boyfriend is working in uk for many years and we want to apply for permanent. i want to know if its possible and what are requirements? thank u for the help. God bless 🙂

    • Hi Jam! I’m very sorry but I’m not familiar with the other types of visas — just the one for short-term tourism — but I suggest you go to their website (the link is in the article) and start from there.

  • hi there…my british boyfriend for almost 2 years now is planning to get me to uk. thus, i am planning now to get a uk tourist visa, but would my previous marriage will be a hindrance to get a uk visa?(we’re not yet divorced yet but we’re totally separated since forever). please i need ur reply angels.thank u and more power.

    • Hi Marie. I think it would depend on what you declare is your intention for visiting the UK. The visa application form does ask you if you’re married and where your spouse is living at the moment, etc. As long as you’re going there for tourism and you’re getting a tourist (not fiance/partner) visa, I think that should be okay.

  • Thank you very informative! I am planning to visit my dad in U.K. probably early next year he is presently working in U.K. and a resident for two years now. I’ll keep in touch with you…
    Thank you.
    Erika

  • Hello, i really like this blog you made so simple and straightforward. Just a question my boyfriend will be sponsoring me to visit him in UK and as one of the supporting documents i need to have an invitation lettter, etc. My question is do these supporting documents needs to be original or scanned copy and send through email will do?

    Thanks.

    • Thank you for your kind words Dee! I have no personal experience with the invitations/supporting documents, but I asked two different people who were invited to the UK by their relatives/partner, and both of them said the invitation was sent through email. (They both got visas, by the way.) Good luck! 🙂

      • Wow, thank you so much, i’ll start processing my application by March, I’m still gathering my documents. Hope I’ll get approved. =)

  • Thanks for this informative post. I have a couple of questions regarding the visa, hope you can help!

    My main purpose for visiting the UK is to meet my fiance’s family, and I will he staying with them for the most part of my stay. When I apply for a visa, shall I select an ordinary visit/tourism visa or should I apply for a family visit visa? I’m a bit confused cos in other UK visa aspects e.g. for immigration purposes, I am eligible to apply for a ‘remain with family’ visa because I am engaged with a British citizen. So I’m wondering if I should apply for a family visit visa or just an ordinary visit visa? This may seem like a useless question and I apologise, but I’ve read that applying for the wrong kind of visa leads to denial so I would like to make sure.

    Secondly, regarding the invitation letter–is it merely an invitation letter stating that they are inviting me to visit and would accommodate me in their home or does it need to be verified by a solicitor for it to be valid? Same question goes for the ‘affidavit of support’ which I plan to get from my fiance just to present a financial back-up to strengthen my chances of being approved (though my trip will be fully self-funded). Is a letter alongside a bank statement sufficient or does it have to be notarised for authentication purposes?

    Thank you for your time!

    • Hi C!

      I haven’t been in your situation so I can only tell you what I think. Regarding the type of visa you should apply for, the choices (https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/philippines) that seem to apply to you are either:
      a. Tourism, including visiting friends or family
      b. Get married or enter into a civil partnership

      Since your purpose for going to the UK is to meet your fiance’s family (and not to get married there or to enter into a civil partnership there) then I *think* you should go for an ordinary Tourist visa.

      I’ve had friends who went to the UK to visit their family there and they told me their family only emailed the invitation letter to them, so I don’t think it was notarized but I’m not sure. For the affidavit of support, I would recommend that you have it notarized if you can.

      Sorry I can’t be more certain of my answers. Good luck!

  • Great post just what I needed…

    Can you help me clarify some of my concerns:

    My girlfriend is currently working in UK, and I’m planning to visit her next year.

    I’m currently working in a good company here in the Philippines for 6 years now. And I think I can save up for my visit in UK.

    And my girlfriend can also send out supporting documents or letter of sponsorship as proof that she can accommodate/support my travels in UK.

    I just want to ask if I have a good chance to get a visa?

    Or what are some possible problems I will encounter in securing a visa?

    • Hi q_dens! If you are in good financial standing — meaning you can afford your trip to the UK and still have savings left over — and if you can prove that you will definitely return to the Philippines, I think you have a good shot. I think those are the two most critical things when you apply for a visa, proving that you can afford the trip and that you are coming back, because what they’re worried about is people staying there illegally. You can start your preparations now by coming up with a tentative budget (the application form will ask you how much money you’ve allocated for the trip) and a tentative itinerary. Good luck!

  • Hi. How did they contact you when they made the decision? Email or sms? I received an email 10 days ago saying they have received my processed application at the centre. And also will they inform you if your passport is ready to picked up at the centre? I did not choose my application to be delivered at my address.

    • Hi Elyza! I signed up for the SMS updates, so they contacted me both through email and SMS, and yes, they will tell you when your passport is ready for pickup. Good luck! 🙂

  • hi i just to ask if going to London (UK visa) has the same visa’s with london’s nearby countries like scotland and ireland?

    from if its same is it accessible from London to scotland and ireland?

    thanks
    Thessa

    • Hi Thessa! The UK visa covers England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. (The Republic of Ireland — which is a separate country and does not belong to the UK — has a different visa.) They’re all accessible and interconnected by train, plane, car, or ferry.

  • Sir/Maam,

    Good Day! i just want to ask, i have two kids all girls, i am a filipina i am married to a british man, i just want to ask about the situation of our children about thier cetizenship, their birth palce are both here in philippines, is it possible to them they can go to uk anytime? or they have some papers to process first for that so that they can go to thier fathers country… Thank You and hoping for your response…

    Respectfully…

    • Hi Cecil! I wish I could help you but my only experience with getting a UK visa is as a tourist and I don’t really know much about the rules for children of UK citizens. I think the best thing for you to do would be to contact the British embassy OR the VFS office and ask them directly so that you can have a clear response. Good luck!

  • Hi! My daughter and I plan to visit uk and paris this June, can I book for an appointment for both visas on the same day? So as to cut our airline cost since we are based in mindanao.

    • Hi Lynn! I can’t say for certain — I’ve only been to the VFS office in Cebu, so I don’t know how the Makati office is set up. I imagine there would be a separate section for the UK visa applications and another for Schengen. I think if you put enough time between the UK and French appointments, it can be done! (In Cebu, my UK appointment was at 11:50 AM, and I finished the whole process at around 1:40 PM, if that helps.)

  • Hi! If family vacation will there be only one application for the 3 of us? Filing application online, will there be no appearance in Manila?

    • Hi Eric! No, it’s one application per person, and even though you fill up the application form online, you still have to go to the VFS office to submit your documents.

  • Hi, is VFS office in Cebu easy to locate? I’m not from Cebu. Will have my interview there soon. By the way, are all the original documents submitted be returned to you? My sister will accompany me, can she comes with me when I go up to the VFS office? Thank you.

    • Hi Hidy! Yes, it’s easy to locate. You can look up the Keppel Building in Google maps. Just go to the Ayala Center Cebu area and you can ask people there where the Keppel Building is, it’s just a short walk from the Ayala mall. If I remember correctly, there was an area where companions could sit but they cannot go into the main area where the applicants will wait for their turn with the VFS staff. Good luck!

  • Hi po! Yung bank statement niyo na sinubmit galing po talaga sa bank with bank letterhead? Yung idea ko po sana is yung online statement lng ang isusubmit. Thank you!

    • Hi Mich! Yes, galing talaga sa bank, kasi I requested a bank certificate from the bank so nagrequest na lang din ako ng bank statement. (For visa applications, even if it’s not specifically required, I try to submit a bank certificate and not just bank statements because the bank certificate will mention how long you’ve had the account, your average daily balance, etc., so parang it seems more respectable hehe.)

      • Hi again po! Thank you sa reply sa previous question. I tried to complete my application today but ang naka lagay lang na VAC ay Manila. Was it the same case po with you? How to select Cebu po? (I’m wondering if meron na change sa process then and now) Thank you!

      • Hi Mich! I don’t remember the exact step-by-step process anymore, but I’m pretty sure I was able to select Cebu when I filed my application; in fact, the payment for the visa fee and the extra charge for applying in Cebu was just lumped together. If you can’t find where, maybe you can call VFS and ask for guidance from them. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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