Every year, thousands of Indians flock to the United Kingdom. Visiting family/friends, exploring job opportunities, and pursuing higher education are some of the common reasons why people visit the land of Big Ben. Regardless of the reason for the visit, UK has made it mandatory for every individual to apply for a Visa in order to visit the country. A UK Visa will grant a foreigner permissions / credentials to enter the country or leave the country. It includes limits on the duration of the stay, the territories which they may enter, the dates they may enter and the number of permitted visits.
There are different types of Visas depending on the nature and duration of stay in the country. The most common type of Visa is the visitor Visa which will allows foreign nationals to visit the country to meet family/friends or to go on vacation.
Types of UK Visa
Listed below are the different types of UK Visa.
- Work Visa- A Work Visa is granted to individuals who wish to work in the United Kingdom territory and have the permission to do so. There are three types of work Visa:
- Tier 1 (General)- This type of Visa is no longer available to applicants outside of the UK
- Tier 2 (Certificate of Sponsorship/Work permit-This type of Visa is granted to individuals who have a work permit to work in the country, or work in a company that is in the UK which also sponsors the Visa.
- Tier 5- Tier 5 Visa is granted for individuals who want to work in the UK for a short time for work experience, or want to pursue some sort of training in the country.
- Study Visa- A Study Visa is granted to individuals who wish to study in any of the recognised universities in the UK. Applicants can apply for this visa if they are over 16 years old and have been accepted by any of the recognised universities in the UK. It is important that the student has enough finance to pay for the course and support themselves during the course of the stay.
- Family Visa- A Family Visa is granted to individuals who visit the country with the intent of meeting their family who reside in the UK. One can avail the family Visa to stay for 6 months or more with their family in the UK.
- Visitor Visa- A Visitor Visa is granted to individuals who want to visit the country on a vacation, for sightseeing or to attend an event.
Eligibility Criteria for UK Visa
In order to apply for a UK Visa, the applicant needs to fulfill the eligibility criteria. Given below is the eligibility criteria for a UK Visa:
- Applicants must show that their entering the UK is conducive to the public good and the UK economy.
- Applicants must prove that they are qualified for the Visa to which the entry clearance pertains.
- Applicants should possess a passport that is valid for 6 months and more.
- Applicant should not have a criminal record or be involved in any criminal case during the time of Visa application.
- The applicant should have financial resources to support themself and their dependents during the course of stay in the country.
- Should pass a medical test to get a clean bill of health.
- Should possess work permit in the case of Work Visa.
- Applicants are sometimes requested to attend an interview.
Documents Required for a UK Visa
The applicant needs to submit a set of documents in order to apply for a UK Visa. Given below is a list of documents that need to be submitted in order to apply for a UK Visa:
- Valid passport or travel document.
- One recent photograph as per UKVI guidelines required only for applicants exempt from giving biometrics.
- Evidence of your permission to be in the country.
- Evidence of your sponsors leave to remain in the UK if you are applying as their dependant.
- Address proof.
- Photographs on Visa application.
- Proof of age document such as birth certificate.
- Marriage/divorce certificate.
- Evidence of family members remaining in your home country whilst you travel.
- Evidence of qualifications obtained.
- Evidence of the monthly income stated on application form (bank statements, balance certificate, bank letter, tax returns).
How to Apply for a UK Visa?
One can apply for the Visa online and offline. Some types of Visa require the applicant to apply online only. Once the applicant has applied for the Visa online, they are required to visit the Visa Application Centre along with the appointment letter, passport and application pack. The applicant will receive an acknowledgment receipt once the Visa filing process is completed. The applicant will be required to provide their biometric details in the Visa Application Center One can apply for a Visa up to 3 months before their date of arrival to UK.
How is a UK Visa Processed?
Once the applicant makes the applications for the Visa, the Entry Clearance Officer will analyze the application form and the documents submitted. Students applying under Tier 4 Visa will be required to attend a short interview in order to get their Visa processed.
How do I Pay the Visa Fee?
During the process of filling your online application in the UK government website for Visas and Immigration you will be prompted to pay the fees directly to UK Visas and Immigration via Worldpay. No Visa fees will be accepted in the VFS Global.
Frequently Asked Questions About UK Visa:
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions about UK Visa
- When can one apply for the Visa?
One can apply for the UK Visa up to 3 months before their date of travel to the UK.
- Is it necessary to attend an interview?
A short interview at the Visa application center is mandatory for students who are applying for Tier 4 UK Visa.
- How long does it take to process application to UK Visa?
The time taken to process application to the UK Visa depends on the category of Visa application. But UK Visa and immigration makes it a point to return 90% of non settlement Visa applications within 15 days.
- What is the cost of priority visa service?
The priority Visa service is optional and costs about Rs.1,500.
News about UK Visa
UK May Provide Short Term Visas for Indians
During Prime Minister Theresa May visit to the country, India hopes reach an agreement with Britain allowing Indian businessmen, academicians and students short-term visas according to Acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Dinesh Patnaik. These visas will not be on the migration list. This will be Prime Minister Theresa's first bilateral visit to India and her first visit outside the continent since she has become Prime Minister. Post Brexit Britain will be looking at increasing its trade outside the continent and this move will facilitate ease of doing business with India as many students, businessmen and academicians return to the country due visa restrictions. India would like Britain to extend the visa concessions given to Chinese to Indians as well, which are, 6 months to 2 year visas at 87 Pounds. Many British companies are shifting their offices to India, in the next 3 to 4 months approximately 2,000 jobs are expected to move to India. The visa concessions will provide an ease in performing business activities with the United Kingdom.
UK could further toughen visa rules for non-EU nationals
In a move to curb its ascending immigration figures, the UK Government is examining options to toughen visa rules for non-EU nationals, including Indians.
In the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has indicated that there has been a significant reduction in the number of non-EU students migrating to the UK for studies. The numbers have dropped to 111,000 from 134,000 in the previous year. The report also stated that there was a decline in the number of South Asian citizens migrating for work and studies to the UK. A further crackdown on visas would lead to a sharp drop in the applications submitted to UK universities.
India has already raised concerns to the UK government over the changes in visa regulations. 57% of UK skilled work visas were granted to Indians. A further crackdown on visas will adversely impact Indian professionals the most.
India Voices Concern Over Changes in UK Visa Rules
The recent changes in the UK visa rules have caused concern in India. The Indian government has addressed these concerns in discussions with their British counterparts. The visa changes were introduced in 2012 but took effect only from April 2016. According to the new rules, applicants for Tier-2 visas and Tier-2 visa holders have to be paid a minimum of Â£ 35,000 each year.
All non-EU immigrants in the UK will now have to ensure they earn a minimum of Â£ 35,000 a year to qualify for settlement/indefinite leave or permanent residency within the United Kingdom.
Visa holders who not meet the minimum income requirements can only work in the UK for 6 years, after which they will be sent back to their home country.
The Indian government has raised concerns as many Indians would be affected by the new rule, with Indians being the largest group who apply for such visas.
India might be included in Britain cheaper two year visitor visa scheme
A new report that was recently released stated that India will be included in Britain cheaper two year visitor visa scheme in order to attract more Indians to the UK.This move is expected to strengthen close bilateral ties between the countries.'A Passage from India - Improving UK Visitor Visas for Indian Nationals' was prepared by the UK's Royal Commonwealth Society in partnership with leading aviation tourism and industry groups as well as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and was released in the British Parliament complex.
Cheaper, Loner UK Visa for Indians in the Offering
A Commonwealth body with considerable influence requested Britain to provide Indian tourists with cheaper and longer visas that are being offered to Chinese tourists by the David Cameron government.
As per a 2 year pilot underway in China, a visa to UK that is valid for a period of 2 years is offered for Â£87 and for Indians, for the same price, a visa valid for 6 months is provided whereas a 2 year visa costs Â£330 pounds.
As per a report presented in the House of Commons, the RCS or Royal Commonwealth Society put forth the point that Britain has been losing a lot of market share of Indian travelers with France overtaking it. Thanks to the new e-visa system, India has made it easier for Britons to obtain a visa hence the RCS believes that China pilot programme should be extended to India.