UK Visa Application in Riyadh (Updated July 2018)

Background:

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:

  1. Passport* (original) and older original passport with my previous UK visa
  2. Copy of Iqama* with official English translation.
  3. Information about your visit: I provided flight booking*
  4. Current employment: I only provided Certificate of Employment* (not attested) and 6 months payslip*.
  5. Money: I provided 6 months bank statement* only, my current balance is low (SR10k+)
  6. 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.
  7. Evidence of assets**: documents showing that you own property or land: I don’t have one.
  8. 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):

  1. Copy of Exit/ReEntry visa
  2. Copy of my Travel Insurance
  3. Copy of hotel booking
  4. Copies of my credit cards (front page only)
  5. 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.

Timeline:

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.

If you find this blog helpful, please click the “LIKE” button. Seriously, I will only reply to those who LIKED this blog. Thanks for your understanding.

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About hunterpm

I'm an Overseas Filipino Worker based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since January 2007. I love traveling. 25 countries as of January 2019. My favorite countries i visited multiple times are Japan UK France USA. I don't prefer staying at hostel for security & privacy, I'd rather stay at a cheap hotel as long as it has its own toilet and bath. I'm a Top Contributor of TripAdvisor in Riyadh. I used to work in Kapuso network GMA7 in Manila for 6 years before working in KSA. I have this blog to help other travelers the basics & techniques how to apply tourist visas. Hope you enjoy reading my blog... Thanks everyone!!! 😄😘😜
This entry was posted in OFW, riyadh, saudi arabia, Tourist, Tourist visa application, Travel, uk visa, Visa and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to UK Visa Application in Riyadh (Updated July 2018)

  1. norph says:

    hi sir, i submitted my uk visa application last july 19 at vfs riyadh. till now i have not recieve any email from the vfs.

  2. Mod says:

    How do we prove that we will return back to ksa?

  3. Sharaf u din says:

    Hello mr hunter. I need your help urgently. I applied my uk visa but not received back my passport yet. Its 18th day that i submitted my application & 15th day that i received email from embassy for starting process. While i have to travel my country on emergency bases. Its my 2nd time that i applied uk visa. 1st visa got approved & lat year i visited uk for 8 days as well.
    Please tell me how i can get back my passport while my application still under process. I have confirmed ticket to travel india on 28th November. Please guide me how we can ask to make it fast process or return my passport for emergency. Waiting for your response

  4. Sharaf u din says:

    Hello mr. Hunter
    Yesterday i received email from that your applicatin for visa has issued. Around 2 pm
    I was expecting my passport arrival in Jeddah in this morning. But i didn’t receive any messages from vfs. I went there and asked them. They said its not reached yet. You’ve to wait. We don’t where is it exactly.. may b in embassy. Do you think i should call them ?
    Or wait until tomorrow morning. Because i have confirmed flight on Wednesday. They provided me an international Uk immigration contat num. Please guide me about my current situation. Waiting for your prompt answer.

  5. Sharaf u din says:

    Thank you very much. Same expectation here.
    Actually one of Saudi guy told me its still in embassy. As i felt there they don’t know much he just told me rubbish think. After hearing its still in embassy i got more tension. Probably they gonna dispatch it may after few days. But most probably its not gonna happen. That should be here tomorrow. And after talking you feeling more comfortable as you told that should be here tomorrow. On desks they were telling rubbish.. anyways thanks for your response nd time. God bless you

  6. Nadeem says:

    Hello Hunter,

    i am having problem submitting my visa application through Gov.Uk. the payment page does not move forward. Anyone experiencing this problem. Please advise. can we apply through http://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk

  7. Arlyn Hernandez says:

    Hi Sir,I am happy that I stumbled on your blog,I hope you could help me coz I badly need an advice regarding my application in UK.I want to apply for UK visa-tier 2 general(migrant for 3years)directly here in KSA coz my COS will expire on March this year that’s why I have decided not to go back to Philippines instead apply here .And one of the requirements is a tb certificate,but there is no approve test centers here.Have you had any experience with regards to this or have you known someone who had succesfully granted a visa without TB certificate? Thank you Sir.

    • hunterpm says:

      TB cert is only required for visa applicants who intend to stay in UK for more than 6 months and applying from countries included in the required list. I have no experience applying for other visa other than General Visitor visa without the need of tb cert since i only travels to the UK for 1week or sometimes for few days. You said u intend to apply for Tier 2 so i assumed u have a skilled job offer and sponsorship in the UK and acceptable IELTS score. You also said your COS will expire on March which is too short to process your Tier2 visa unless you are confident enough u can complete all supporting documents. Applicants living in KSA doesnt require TB cert but to be sure, check gov.uk website for more info. After u apply online for visa, it will generate a checklist, thats the time u can check if u require tb cert or not.

  8. Mae says:

    Hi sir i just want to ask about the iqama. Is it ok to submit my iqama 3 months before the expiry? My travel date is still covered before my iqama will expire.

  9. Tia Mae says:

    Thank you sir..I already request for early renewal last week but until now it’s not yet renewed, guess will just make a letter.

  10. zamust says:

    I want to know why do we need to submit hotel and flight bookings when they have clearly mentioned in supporting documents guidance that below mentioned documents with application are not required ??

    Section 4: documents you should not send unless specifically requested
    This page provides guidance on the types of documents that are not required to consider your application.
     if you are applying as a family/group you do not need to provide multiple copies
    of the same documents
     bank statements or letters issued more than 1 year before the date of
    application
     driving licence
     photographs (other than passport photographs required in section 1)
     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
     educational certificates (unless specifically listed in section 3)

    Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/549692/Visitor_Supporting_Documents_Guide_-_English_version.pdf

    • hunterpm says:

      When u finish your online application, u will be given a personal document checklist which u need to submit to support your application. As u said “documents you should not send unless specifically requested”. I was asked to show evidence of my planned trip such as tour details/ flight details. One question on the online form is “where are u planning to stay in the UK”. What could be best to support this other than a hotel booking showing full address/tel of the hotel? Flight details- u need to show u have flight reservation for your trip detailing dates of arrival/departure to/from UK, flight number, airline, booking reference under your name. If these two documents are not needed, VFS staff should have returned it to me as they segregate only the documents they need.

  11. ahmedaho says:

    Dear Hunter

    I was also given the checklist after completing the application form on GOV.UK in 2016, and proof of Home Address was one of the item included in checklist but I did not submit it and my application was successful. I believe this is general checklist which is shown and given to all applicants after submitting the application, and not to the specific applicants different per person.

    Were you requested specifically by VFS office to submit ‘Home Address’ and ‘Evidence of Assets’ or you just presumed from the given checklist that you have to submit it?

    • hunterpm says:

      Thats good to know, thanks for sharing. I just completed all documents as per checklist and if one is missing, i provided a letter explaining why i dont have it.

  12. Norphrie says:

    Hi mr Hunter, I just want to clarify about the question in uk online application about the immigration status. .. the question is what permission do you have in Saudi Arabia ? And there is 3 options 1 I have a temporarily visa 2. I am not a permanent resident and 3. I do not have a visa and I am not a permanent resident. My question which the answer I should put ?thanks

    • hunterpm says:

      Choose 1 if u have Iqama valid for atleast the next 3months. Choose 2 if ur in ksa with visit visa only. Choose 3 if u are “takas, illegal or hurub”.

      • Norphrie says:

        Sorry sir, the option 2 is I Am a permanent resident. I’ve here in the kingdom for 15 working in ministry of health and my iqama valid till 2021, and to be renew yearly.

      • hunterpm says:

        Sorry but no expat has been issued permanent residence permit (like USA Greencard) yet here in ksa, our Iqama is a temporary residence permit only which gives us permission to stay TEMPORARILY in Saudi Arabia for a specified period which we have to renew every year. Newly issued Iqama now has no validity date bcoz renewal is being done online anyway thru Absher. New Saudi rules in issuing Permanent Residence permit has just been announce very recently and only privilege millionaires or super in demand profession are qualified to have.

      • Norphrie says:

        I mean 15 years

  13. Lea Gonz says:

    Hello Mr. Hunter,

    Thank you for the info. I would like to know if it will be safer for me to use the address of my boyfriend instead of booking at the hotel since we will be travelling together from RUH to UK and I will be staying at his place the whole visit? I heard that it will be quite tricky and might be the reason of refusal if I will do that? Your advised is highly appreciated. Thank you.

    • hunterpm says:

      If u plan to do that u need to ask ur bf to provide u an invitation letter guaranteeing ur accommodation in the UK along with his documents such as copy of his passport/ID’s/proof of UK home ownership/latest UK utility bills under ur bf name/income tax etc.

  14. ahmedaho says:

    Hi Hunter

    I have just applied for UK Visit Visa yesterday morning with Priority service, and till now (more than 24 hours passed) I neither received SMS (I have paid for SMS service) that my application has been forwarded to UKVI nor did I receive any email. Do you think its normal to have such delays? Also, how I can confirm from VFS (Jeddah) that my application has been forwarded to UKVI or not since there is no contact no. given for VFS?

    • hunterpm says:

      This period is high season for applying UK visa so there may be some delays. Also sometimes their system updating is slow so email or sms updates is also delayed.

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