Saturday, November 10, 2018

Applying for a UK Tourist Visa in the Philippines

By the time this post comes out, hubby and I will be in London for a glorious vacation away from the kids! lol ;p Actually, we're celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary although a bit earlier. Our anniv is in February but I don't think I can handle freezing London in winter.

Anyway, the first step is of course getting a tourist visa and I handled everything for me and my husband. Siyempre, he'll be paying for the trip so it's the least I can do right? ;p

I did a lot of research beforehand, reading different blogs and checking my favorite online forum for travel tips -

Personally, I have to say though that applying for this UK visa has been the most stressful compared to others (like Australia or Canada)! The application form kasi was so hard, since it was so comprehensive and there were a lot of items that were confusing for me.

But anyway, I'll discuss how I applied for a UK Tourist Visa, specifically being a housewife.

You can only apply 3 months before your intended date of departure. Our trip was on the first week of November so I applied on the last week of August to really give me enough time to iron out everything I needed.

First of all, there seemed to be 2 websites that you can apply from. I first made an account at GOV.UK. But then, it seemed I had to make 2 separate accounts for me and my husband.

In the other blogs I read, they applied thru the Visa4UK website. I tried it, and I was able to make one account for me and my husband, which was easier. So I ended up applying thru here. I think both websites are accepted naman, I just noticed that the application form was slightly different for each website.

Anyway, after creating your account, you then fill out the application form section by section. What's good is you can save your progress and move on to the next part if you're unsure about some questions.

Like I said, the application form was a killer! It was 14 pages long and you just need a lot of patience and common sense to get through it.

Like you need to list your personal and family information (parents, spouse, children), travel history for the past 10 years, and your travel details (dates and where you'll be staying).

The Income and Expenditure part was the most confusing for me. Basically, you have to make sure that the amount of your trip is reasonable based on your current income and savings. Since I am a housewife, I explained that my husband financially supports me and our children. Hence, he will be the one paying for our entire trip.

waaaah stress!

At the end of the form, there is a part where you can write any other information you wish to be considered as part of your application. I wrote that I was applying for the visa together with my husband and gave his application reference number (the one with GWFXXXXXXXX) since we had the same travel details and were submitting the same requirements anyway. I gave my reference number in his application form as well to be sure.

Finally, you choose a date for your VFS appointment (ours was on September 7) and pay via credit card to finalize the transaction. At this time, cost was $124 each and the final converted amount in the credit card was P6,730.42.

Documents I submitted to VFS (as a HOUSEWIFE):

1. Printed appointment confirmation form
2. Printed application form - which they returned back to me and didn't collect!
3. Copy of my current and old passports
- scanned and printed the bio page and all pages with stamps
- I gave a copy of my 2005-2010 passport but VFS didn't get it since they just needed travel history for the past 10 years lang daw and 2005 was beyond that. I figured since the 2008 - 2010 falls within the 10 years, kasama pa din.
4. Marriage Certificate - original and photocopy (they returned the original one together with the passport after)
5. Husband's Certificate of Employment - original and photocopy
6. Husband's ITR - only gave the photocopy to VFS
7. Letter from husband stating financial support
8. Bank Certificate (our joint accounts) - original and photocopy
9. Print-out of of Plane and Train Tickets - yes, I booked na even without a visa! Lakas ng loob lol!
10. Print-out of Hotel Accommodations - booked thru (with free cancellation)
11. Daily itinerary

There was a spot for an ID photo on the application form and although I read you don't need one since they'll be taking your picture in the VFS center, I still brought to be sure. But true enough, you don't need an ID photo anymore.

I printed everything on A4 sized paper (you'll need a lot!). Check HERE for further instructions on submitting supporting documents as well as sorting them with these Barcode Separators.

On the day of our appointment, we made sure to be at the VFS Global Center located at Ecoplaza Building, Makati at least 30 minutes before (although they'll only let you in 15 minutes prior to your appointment). Our slot was at 2pm and we chose that time since I was thinking mas wala ng tao sa afternoon. And true enough, it was our turn agad when we entered.

Anyway, you just have to submit your documents and it's pretty straightforward naman if everything's complete. Then, they'll take your biometrics (digital picture and fingerprints). My husband availed the Keep My Passport service which I'll discuss in a separate post. We also didn't avail the SMS (P150) or courier (P490) service anymore.

The waiting part was the worst after submitting everything since I did a lot of second guessing - did I answer the app form correctly? why didn't they collect my application form? should I have submitted the birth certificates of my kids? and so on! haha nakakaloka! ;p

We applied September 7 (Friday) and got an email on September 20 (Thursday) that my passport was already back at the Visa Application Centre.

I also got this text on September 21. I wasn't able to collect my passport at once since we waited until my husband had to go back to the VFS Center to return his passport. So they sent me a follow-up text to claim my passport lol! So buti na lang may update even if I didn't get the SMS service!

Pick-up time of passports is from Monday to Friday, 2:00-4:00pm only. Here are the requirements:

So thank goodness our visa was granted! I would've hated for all that hard work, stress, and money to go to waste haha! Anyway, hope this helps you if you're planning on applying for a UK tourist visa. And good luck!

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