I already visited 25 countries before applying again for UK visa in 2018. You can read my previous blog for UK visa I posted in 2016. I have an existing USA, Canada, New Zealand visas and expired UK, Japan, Australia and Schengen visas. This year 2018 I plan to visit UK again and here’s my experience:
If you check VFSglobal.co.uk/saudiarabia website, it will give you two websites for online visa application. First is www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk and www.gov.uk . Both you need to register first to start your online application. On my first UK visa in 2016 I’ve used the visa4uk site and in 2018 I’ve used gov.uk site via VFS website. There is some difference between these two sites. However, I find the latter more simplified, omitting some unnecessary questions. I will discuss here the site for www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply :
The first part of this application is Travel information. You need to fill in your proposed travel dates and explain your plans in the UK.
Next part is Personal Information. You need to fill in details of your passport, current address, visa status in KSA, parents name, birth date, nationality, address. The only difference is there is a part where you need to put Dependent details, names/address of your dependents. I put my mom’s details since I send her money on monthly basis as she depend on me financially.
Next part is Employment and expenditure details, you need to detail your actual job, salary, employer and how much you spend each month. Be cautious about the currency (GBP or SAR).
Next part is Accommodation details in the UK, I put the hotel address from my reservation at booking.com cancellable and refundable.
Next part is Travel history (UK), I put my 2 previous trips in 2016 and my older UK visa refusal. Skip this part if it’s your first time applying for UK visa.
Next part is Travel History (other). There is this question “how many times have you visited the following places in the past 10 years?” – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Schengen area. Here you can only specify the details of only 2 countries from the countries listed above. No option to add more. Next to it is you need to list down other countries not mentioned above. So I listed my other travel details to South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, UAE, Turkey, HongKong, and other countries visa refusal (if any) then you need to explain why you were refused.
Next part is the Security and Convictions. Just be honest and answer YES or NO, if yes, give details.
Next part is the Extra information. You can say any information you think is helpful to strengthen your visa application. I stated here that I travel 3 times a year for holiday to any country of my choice and I have not committed any violation to any country, etc.
Last part is Payment and Declaration. You will be redirected to the secure online payment by credit card (USD130). After visa payment, it will redirect you back to VFS website to schedule your appointment. Choose the time and date. I chose the normal visa processing to avoid paying extra.
After scheduling your appointment, it will ask you to print your personal barcoded checklist, showing the summary of your visa application and visa payment confirmation and the list of supporting documents you need to bring to your appointment. You can save and print the full online visa you’ve completed for your reference.
My personal checklist containing list of supporting documents I need to submit (it may be different per person) are as follows:
- Passport* (original) and older original passport with my previous UK visa
- Copy of Iqama* with official English translation.
- Information about your visit: I provided flight booking*
- Current employment: I only provided Certificate of Employment* (not attested) and 6 months payslip*.
- Money: I provided 6 months bank statement* only, my current balance is low (SR10k+)
- Home address**: documents showing where you live. This part is tricky as I was not requested to submit this one from my last UK visa.
- Evidence of assets**: documents showing that you own property or land: I don’t have one.
- Additional information: evidence of family members remaining in your home country whilst you travel. I submitted copy of my mom’s passport and copies of my last 3 months remittance receipt to show I am supporting her financially in the Philippines.
**For #6 and #7 I submitted a letter explaining that I do not have Tenancy Agreement under my name as it is common practice in KSA to rent a room in a flat under other persons Tenancy agreement without signing a separate Tenancy agreement. Instead, to prove my home address in KSA, I submitted a screenshot of my Registered National Address as required by Saudi government. For evidence of assets, I’ve explain that I do not have any property under my name and justified it should not disqualify me for being approved visa since all my existing and previous visas from western countries including my previous UK visa was approved without submitting evidence of assets.
Other documents I submitted (not required but can support my application):
- Copy of Exit/ReEntry visa
- Copy of my Travel Insurance
- Copy of hotel booking
- Copies of my credit cards (front page only)
- Copies of all my existing and previous visas and stamps from new and old passports
This personal checklist has to be signed by you on the last page only at the VFS Center during your appointment. Do not sign in advance.
06/27/2018: I created my account and started online visa application, save it if not completed.
06/28/2018: I completed online application, paid visa fee, scheduled my appointment.
07/05/2018: at 0945 I submitted my UK visa application documents at VFS Center in Riyadh, they took my biometric details (digital photo and finger print). The whole process lasted for only 15 minutes. Late afternoon I got sms from VFS saying my application was forwarded to UKVI.
07/12/2018: I got email from UKVI saying that my application is now being prepared for assessment by an Entry Clearance Officer. Unlike my previous UK visa, I got this email 1 day after submitting my application. This time it took them exactly 1 week.
07/17/2018: I got email from UKVI saying that your application has been concluded and will shortly be returned to VFS.
07/18/2018: I got sms from VFS saying that my passport is ready for collection. I was expecting another sms since I opted for courier delivery but nothing.
07/19/2018: I got a call from Aramex telling me they will deliver my passport. Afternoon I received my passport with UK visa. They returned only the passport this time, unlike before they returned other original documents.
UK visa is a visa were every additional value added service have extra cost. Visa fee depends on the length of visa you applied for (6months, 2yrs, 5yrs, 10yrs). If you want your application process faster than others, it will cost you more (15days, 3-5days, 24hours). Mine was processed the normal way, visa issued exactly 2 weeks from submission. If you want to submit your application or collect your passport at much earlier time of day or much later than their normal working hours, there is additional fee. I availed the sms (SR10) and courier delivery service (SR80) at additional cost. If you want to track the status of your application, the only way is to call or email them at an additional cost. There is no local hotline for UK visa at VFS. You can check VFS UK website for more details about this User Pay Services and other important information how to apply UK visa.
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