Thinking of traveling to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales?
The United Kingdom has a Visa Application Center (VAC) in Cebu City. (Yay!)
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.
In a nutshell, here’s what you need to do to get a UK visa:
- 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
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.
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
You will be able to book an appointment with your nearest VAC online after you fill up the application form online.
Submit your documents
The documents you will need to submit to the VAC during your appointment are as follows:
- Your appointment confirmation
- A valid passport or travel document with at least 1 page that is blank on both sides
- 1 recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm) colour photograph (Specs)
- A printout of your online application form, signed and dated
- 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
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 Trips | Sample Itineraries and Prices from Blue Cross.
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.)