27 May 2008

How to apply for your UK Visa

Step 1. Determine the kind of UK Visa or Permit, if any, for which you are eligible to apply. This is an important step and you can find information to help you with this question on the British Government’s official visa and work permit information sites. If you do not seem to be eligible for any of the UK Visas, Certificates or Passports listed, or the consulate or embassy tells you that you need to be sponsored by a UK employer - you will likely need a UK Work Permit.

Step 2. Once you know for what you are eligible to apply, you will need to contact your nearest British High Commission, Consulate or Embassy and ask to have the appropriate application forms sent to you, or you can often download these forms quickly and easily from their websites.

Step 3. Read through the forms carefully to ensure you qualify and to see what documents you will need to supply. Fill out the forms completely and return to the British High Commission or Consulate in your country with all of the information and supporting documentation they have requested. If you have questions about filling out the forms, you should contact the British High Commission or Consulate on the number provided on your UK visa application forms. When should I apply?

Step 4. Wait for receipt of written confirmation of your successful UK Visa application from the British High Commission or Consulate to which you applied. If there are any problems they will contact you, usually by phone.

Step 5. If you are planning to work in the UK and have not already created a UK file online with WORKgateways – you can do so now! Apply for jobs and to agencies to start your UK job search. Be sure to upload your resume and keep your file updated as your travel plans become clear. Have a great time in the UK! If you are just “thinking about going” you can subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Timing: When to apply for your visa

With regards the timing of your application, you should check with the individual UK High Commission or Embassy as they all have different processing times. However in general, be careful not to apply too early (a year ahead) for your UK Visa as they often have a ‘use before’ date. However don’t leave it too late either! Most UK Visa applications (Ancestry, Working Holiday, Right to Abode, Spouse etc) will be processed within six weeks in most Commonwealth countries, but that is not a guarantee. If you are applying for the Highly Skilled Migrant Program this may take much longer and you should give yourself several months. It is not normally recommended to purchase your airline tickets until you have received your UK visa if this is something that will effect whether you go to the UK or not.

This information should be used as a guideline only. For official information on work visa and permit processing times please contact your nearest British Embassy or Consulate.

Source : WorkGateways

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