Weird Facts About UK Visa Applications

There are some weird facts about United Kingdom visas and the application process that even most frequent travelers haven’t taken notice of. Your No.1 travel blog Jetsanza.com has put together these facts for your attention and reading pleasure.

It’s about money

The UK Visa Application process is all about money. It’s not as if you are paying a connection man or a middleman to influence the outcome of the application but are official fees that either goes to UK Visas or the commercial partner.

You can pay if you don’t want to book an appointment to submit your application. You can pay if you need a VIP treatment at the application center. You can pay if you want your documents to be scanned on your behalf. You can pay if you want to receive your passport earlier than the usual 15 days. And one weird thing is that paying all these excess fees will neither guarantee you a visa, nor guarantee that you will receive your passport earlier.

Some of the fees are as follows:

  • Assisted Service with scanning of documents : GBP 23.63 / GHS 154.14
  • Express Courier Return : GBP 14.95 / GHS 81.00. Meanwhile courier companies in Ghana charge less than GHS12 / USD 2.5 for domestic deliveries.
  • Premium Lounge for those who hate queues and need VIP treatment: GBP 89.00 / GHS 490.00
  • Walk-in with or without appointment: GBP 89.00 / GHS 490.00
  • Applicants who can’t come during working hours: GBP 88.13 / GHS 490.00
  • Can’t go to the application center? They’ll come to you!: Fees quoted upon demand.
  • Priority? Need your decision within 5 working days? : GBP 220.00 / GHS 1,225
  • Assistance in filling form? They will give you : GBP 25.00 / GHS 136.00

One worrying situation people have found themselves in is choosing several of these valued added services without knowing if they really needed them. They are forced to pay these fees thinking that the more they pay, the faster or more likely their application would turn out positive. Others also think they are supposed to tick everything they see. Jetsanza.com will throw more light on what to tick in the next article so that you can apply on a more cheaper side.

Still about more money

If your application takes longer than expected, then you are not done yet with spending money on your application. If an application takes longer than expected to process, UK Visas usually send the applicant an email that the application will take some more days to process. When you wait for some weeks and you are not hearing anything, you will probably want to contact them. This is where you have to pay. You are required to pay for each minute you speak to a customer care agent or for any email you send. Weird right?

An applicant paying to contact UK Visas by email
An applicant paying to contact UK Visas by email

Visa issued ONLY for who you are at the time of application

If your circumstances change after a visa is issued, your visa can be cancelled. Example: If you were issued a visa because you were a cleaner, the visa will be revoked when you seize to be a cleaner. When you either become unemployed or change job from cleaner to be a trader, the visa will be revoked anytime they get hold of your passport, whether at the embassy or at any UK point of entry. Weird right? LOL

Applicants bear cost for Visa Officer’s negligence

“You have been denied because you did not include any evidence that you are a student”. Oh but you added an Introductory Letter from School and even included copy of your School ID. Probably the Visa Officer didn’t see these documents. Either it’s an oversight or negligence of duty, it’s the applicant that bears the cost. Now you will have to pay another visa fee to make a new application to draw their attention to the documents that you included because visit visa applications are not granted the right to appeal. So the only right you enjoy is to make a fresh application; fresh fees.

Frequent travelers list all their travels

If you are a first-time traveler, then the UK Visa application form is the simplest one. Completing the forms is a trouble for frequent travelers like myself. You have to list all the countries you have visited, date you visited and purpose of travel for each of them. Just imagine someone like myself who have visited South Africa, Kenya and Togo countless times. How do I recall all the purposes of each of the travels? If your passports are old and some stamps are fading away, it means getting to know the dates too would be problem. All these make it difficult for me to apply for a UK visa unless I really have something very important to do in the country.

And UK Visas are easiest to get

Upon all what seem to make UK Visas very difficult to obtain, it’s rather the easiest to get. While the US, Canada and even Schengen countries place priority on travel experiences, the UK rather grant people the travel experience. Though travel experiences may positively influence the outcome of your UK Visa application, it shouldn’t be a concern for first-time travelers. Just present your documents depending on your circumstance, explain why you don’t have certain documents, and be honest throughout with your answers on the visa application forms. It’s easier to obtain a UK visa by explaining why you don’t have a bank statement than including a fake bank statement.

How to apply for UK Visa to spend vacation in the UK as a student

Tertiary institutions will soon be breaking for a long vacation. Students who can afford usually choose to spend their vacation in the United Kingdom. It is advisable that you avoid middlemen, connection men or visa contractors at all cost when applying for visas as they may affect your travel plans negatively.

READ: Top Reasons Why You Should Avoid Visa Connection Men

Jetsanza.com, with the aim of making travel safe, easier and affordable for all, has put together how students can apply for UK visas for their holidays during their school’s long vacation.

Documentation

The GOV.UK website provides full guidance on documents needed to support visa application.

List of Documents required

Passport

Valid Passport. It recommended that it has at least two free leaves for visas and stamps. Using passports that’s full or without free pages for visa and stamps is likely to delay your application.

Proof of Studies

As a student, you should add documents to prove that you are in school. A letter of introductory from your school is a must-have document. Other additional documents that may support your status as a student are Academic Transcripts, Admission Letters and Student ID. If you have already paid the next semester’s fees, you can also add receipt.

Sponsorship

This is a very important aspect of visa applications as everything on travel is about money. Here, you demonstrate that you have enough funds to cover your trip. Almost all students are sponsored and as such students are not expected to have enough funds to pay for their trips themselves unless they are also working or have source of income. Your sponsor must demonstrate that he/she is capable of paying for your trip.

These are the documents you have to obtain from your sponsor:

Bank Statements (For the past 3 to 6 months)

Proof of income: If self-employed, business registration documents, Tax Certificate, invoices, receipts and documents relating to any other sources of income, if any. If your sponsor receives salary rather, add copies of his/her payslips, introductory letter from place of work, and Letter of Appointment.

ID: if sponsor has travel experience, include copies of his/her visas. Copy of sponsor’s ID should be included.

Letter of Sponsorship: A letter confirming his commitment to sponsor you. If your sponsor is anyone other than your parent, the reason for the sponsorship should be stated and must make sense (especially in this current economy where no one is expected to waste money). Remember to include your Birth Certificate if your parent is sponsoring your trip. This will confirm your relation.

Accommodation

If you have a host in the UK, he/she can send you a letter of invitation indicating that they have a place to host you. A letter of invitation must include the letter itself, proof of address, proof of employment and copy of ID. If your host is your sponsor, bank statement must be included.

If you don’t know anyone in the UK or do not have a host in the UK, it means you will be living in a hotel/hostel throughout your stay. Click HERE to book your hostel. Also READ how to make hotel reservations to support visa applications.

Print the hotel booking confirmation and include it in your application.

Flight Reservation

I have always argued why embassies require this as part of visa applications because one cannot confirm flights until visa is issued. Flight reservations also cancel within 2 days if payment is not made. This means that the embassies assess a cancelled reservation as part of the application. To the visa applicant, this gives you an idea of how much to spend on air ticket but fares are not guaranteed until purchased. May be this document helps the embassies to know the route you intend to use.

When making flight reservations make sure the date of arrival matches the check-in date of the hotel reservation.

Tour Itinerary

The Visa Officer may want to know how you intend to spend your days in the UK. You might have read or heard a lot about the UK that influenced your decision to visit the country. Write and indicate what you intend to do on each day of your stay in the UK. READ A sample itinerary of a two-week visit in the UK as a tourist.

Forms

Click HERE to register and complete the online application form. You are applying for a Standard Visitor Visa.

The video below by TLSContact can guide you further:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6QJTNKKme0

NOTE: You are not applying for a Study Visa, you are applying for a Standard Visitor Visa which is needed for your holiday.

After completing the online visa form, you will be redirected to the website of the Visa Application Center where you will book an appointment to submit your biometrics and supporting documents (That’s if you chose ASSISTED SERVICE). Remember to print all confirmations and documents checklist.

You can print the completed visa application but not required at the Visa Application Center.

After honouring your appointment, TLSContact will forward your documents and biometrics to UK Visas for a decision to be made.

NOTE: The decision to issue a visa is a sole responsibility of the Visa Officer. Do not make any travel plans until a visa is issued. Following these steps does not guarantee a successful application.

Where to apply

TLSContact, Movenpick Ambassador Hotel,
Emporium Building, 1st floor,
Accra

What to pack

  • Yellow Fever Vaccination Cards are checked at the Kotoka International Airport.
  • Hotel Confirmation/letter of invitation
  • Funds for your trip

READ: How and what to pack when traveling by air

Once you have been issued the visa, plan your stay ahead. Read a sample itinerary of how you can make the best out of your trip.

A sample itinerary of a two-week stay in the UK for tourists

When you find yourself in a country for the first time, you get confused and end up giving attention to what wasn’t part of your initial plans. It’s always good to plan your travel to get the best out of your trip. Some embassies even request that you include this plan in your visa application.

Jetsanza.com shares with you a sample itinerary on how to spend a two-week vacation in the United Kingdom.

Visiting a country like the UK where there are good number of Ghanaians, you may end up visiting friends and families without even seeing a single tourist site or taking any activity. Having a plan will help you organise your days so that you don’t wake up thinking of what to do.

A two-week travel itinerary for London

In planning this itinerary, references were made to the following websites lonelyplanet.com, Londonpass.org, Topsightseeing.com and Ukguide.org.

You are encouraged to take note of days that fall on weekends. Some tourist sites may be closed to the public on weekends.

 

DAY 1 – Arrival

Arrival at London Heathrow Airport. Take it easy at the airport so that you don’t end up in the most expensive trains. Look out for signs to the London Underground train, grab a map to identify how to get to your hotel. If money isn’t your problem, you can just pick a cab to your hotel. Alternatively, you can arrange for airport pick-up service with your hotel/hostel.

DAY 2 – Stadium tour

If you are a soccer fan, you definitely have to begin your tour by visiting the stadium of your football club, that’s if it’s in London.  Assuming you are a Chelsea fan, visit the Stamford Bridge. If you happen to visit at a time they’ve won some trophies, you will see them and take photos with them. If your team is not in London, you can take advantage to see  the newly built ‘White Hart lane’ in Tottenham which took over 7 years to build.

Akesse Sanza at Stamford Bridge

DAY 3 – River Thames

Head to River Thames in Central London. The river banks have the most popular attractions in London.  Tower of London, the London eye and London Bridge are all situated here.

 

DAY 4 – The Medieval Banquet

Time to dine like a King and have a feel of English cuisine at the Medieval Banquet by the tower. Medieval Banquet says you are a royal guest; King, Queen, Knight, Wench, etc and they treat you as such. The facility provides a dinner and theatre experience simultaneously. Go there and pretend to be a King/Queen as you dine and enjoy some English entertainment.

 

DAY 5 – Kensington

Set aside today for Kensington. Visit the Kensington Palace and then head to The orangery at the Kensington Gardens. After enjoying some food and drinks, you can relax at the park and then see the galleries, gardens and landscapes at the park.

 

DAY 6 – Buckingham Palace

Travel to London can’t be complete without visiting the Buckingham Palace,  London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom.  Changing of the Guard is an important feature for tourists to the Palace. You have to be at the palace in the morning in order not to miss it.  It takes place outside Buckingham Palace from 10:45am for 45 minutes while the actual handover takes place at 11am.

If you still have much time this day, you can see the Hyde Park.

 

DAY 7 – Nightlife

You love nightlife? If YES, then you may want to take some rest in the day to prepare yourself for the night. Some people can’t stay late in the night without having some sleep in the day. Get to Brixton and you will find bars with music all over the place. Brixton is easily accessible from anywhere by Train and Bus. Dog and Fox in Wimbledon also provides free live band music on Saturday nights.

 

DAY 8 – Rest

You should definitely have some sleep due to the previous night’s “chilling”. Have some walk around where you stay and do some window shopping if there are shops near you.

DAY 9 – Window Shopping

You may want to continue the window shopping proper at bigger shopping centers. London’s shops have items for every pocket size; from Primark, H&M up to all the top Italian designers.  It’s always advisable to first compare prices and decide on what you really want to buy before buying them. Tourists usually discover better deals after they are done shopping. You can consider Westfield, Toothing, Convent Gardens or West Croydon for your shopping.

DAY 10 – Bus Tour

Hop on one of the many buses that offer sightseeing tours in London. Get your ticket, grab a drink, climb to the top of the bus as you are being driven through the city of London.

DAY 11 – Benjamin Franklin House

If you are a religious person, interchange this day with the day that your religion worships. With the help of the internet, it’s easy to locate where your religious denominations meet and if they offer any tours to visitors. If you are not a religious person, then you may consider visiting the Benjamin Franklin House to witness one of their many scheduled events at the museum.

 

DAY 12 – 14 – Packing

For some reason if you were not able to visit certain places in your itinerary, this is the time to do them.

When done, pack and return to your home country.

VISA FORM: How to answer when asked if you know someone in the country you are visiting

Do you know someone in the United Kingdom? This question stands tall among the many travel-related questions readers send to Jetsanza.com.

As this may sound very simple with a YES or NO answer, it can really influence the outcome of your visa application as you may end up lying or giving out false information.

This question appears on almost all visa application forms but readers who sent in questions asked in relation to UK visa applications. The answer to this question applies to all countries.

Do you know someone in the UK?

Almost every Ghanaian knows someone in the UK. If even you don’t have a relative, you may have friends, school mates or even people who got to know through friends and social media. So the likelihood of you answering YES to this question is very high.

Do you really know someone in the UK?

You might have answered YES already but do you really know someone in the UK? If you know someone, you are expected to know much about he person or at least some basic information that you may be asked. Most of these Visa Forms go ahead to ask you names, addresses, telephone numbers and even more about the person you claim to know.

So now ask yourself again, do you really know someone in the UK or the country you are applying a visa for? If you don’t have any information about the person(s) you are claiming to know, you don’t know him. If you know someone, you should be able to know their marital status, children, and even their religious background.

How do you answer then?

If you actually know the person and have all information about him/her, go ahead and answer YES. If you don’t have the information but can obtain from them, go ahead and answer YES. As you answer YES, make sure you have notified all the persons you’ve mentioned since they may deny knowing you if the embassy happens to crosscheck from them. If you have been told by your parents that your grannies or aunties live in the UK but you have no information about them and their whereabouts, or you know someone in the UK but have little information about them and cannot obtain further details from them, answer NO. You don’t ‘know’ them.

But answering NO isn’t entirely true because you somehow know them. You see how tricky this could be? And remember it’s hard to defend lies throughout your many travels and as such it would be in your best interest to provide accurate information at the time of applying for visa.

What do you do then?

If you don’t really know anyone, then you can go ahead and answer NO and that’s all but if you know someone but have very little information about them or they play no role in your travel, take advantage of the additional information section to tell the visa consular about this. State that you know people in the UK but have very little or no information about them and that’s why you answered NO to that question.

Why is this question very important?

Like any other question on a visa application form, this is equally important. The status of the person you know could influence the outcome of your visa application. Knowing a wanted criminal or the Queen can affect the outcome of your application negatively and positively, respectively. It can also tell if you have people to count on for assistance when the need arises. It could also mean that such people would make it easy for you to remain in the country as an illegal immigrant should you decide not to return to your home country.

Disclaimer: This is just an answer to a question and adhering to this does not guarantee the issuance of a visa.

UK Visa Application In Ghana

Holders of Ghanaian passport require a visa when traveling to the United Kingdom. Ghanaians visiting the UK can stay for up to 6 months on each visit unless otherwise stated on the visa.

UK Visa Application Requirements For Standard Visa

UK Standard Visa permits the holder to stay in the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting family and friends, business, undertake a short course of study, take part in research or an exchange programme as an academic, or for medical reasons. The documents required to apply for the visa depends on the purpose of travel. For persons visiting for tourism purposes, below are the documents required:

  1. Passport (Should be valid throughout the whole of your stay in the UK)
  2. Old Passports (If any)
  3. Birth Certificate
  4. Flight Reservation
  5. Hotel Reservation
  6. Travel itinerary
  7. Proof of financial support (Bank Statements)
  8. Proof of employment/studies (Including Introductory Letter)
  9. Properties and investments (If any)
  10. Marriage Certificate (If married)
  11. Children’s Birth Certificate (If any)

UK Visa Application Process

  1. Make available all the needed documents
  2. Complete the visa application form online at Gov.UK
  3. Pay the visa application fee, upload documents, and book an appointment to submit your biometrics
  4. Appear at the Visa Application Center on the day of the appointment with your passport
  5. Processing of application begins after submission of biometrics
  6. Visa Application Center contacts you to pick up your passport once application processing is completed.

UK Visa Application Fees

  • Short-term (up to 6 months): $139
  • Longer-term (valid for up to 2 years): $530
  • Longer-term (valid for up to 5 years): $961
  • Longer-term (valid for up to 10 years): $1206

READ ASLO: Countries That Can Enter The UK Without A Visa

Which Countries Can Enter UK Without Visa?

Nationals of at least 87 countries and territories can travel and stay in the UK for no longer than 6 months (or 3 months if they enter from the Republic of Ireland) with a visa.

Countries That Do Not Need A Visa To Travel To The United Kingdom

Below is a list of countries whose nationals do not require a visa to enter the United Kingdom:

British Overseas Territories citizens
British Nationals (Overseas) Monaco
British Overseas citizens Namibia
British protected persons Nauru
British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom New Zealand
European Union citizens except Ireland Nicaragua
Andorra Norway
Antigua and Barbuda Palau
Argentina Panama
Australia Papua New Guinea
Bahamas Paraguay
Barbados Saint Kitts and Nevis
Belize Saint Lucia
Botswana Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Brazil Samoa
Brunei San Marino
Canada Seychelles
Chile Singapore
Costa Rica Solomon Islands
Dominica South Korea
East Timor Switzerland
El Salvador Taiwan
Grenada Tonga
Guatemala Trinidad and Tobago
Honduras Tuvalu
Hong Kong United States of America
Iceland Uruguay
Israel Vanuatu
Japan Vatican City
Kiribati
Liechtenstein
Macau
Malaysia
Maldives
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia

READ ALSO: Things to note before traveling to a visa-free country

Is UK Embassy Working?

The United Kingdom (UK), formed by England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is one of the countries that have suffered a great loss from coronavirus.

There are about 123 Foreign Embassies and 154 Consulates placed in the territory of the United Kingdom. United Kingdom itself in total counts near 84 Embassies and 49 Consulates spread all over the world.

The United Kingdom at this current time has not issued instructions for the closure of her embassies abroad and this only goes a long way to suggest that, UK’s embassies are still operational.

Attention coronavirus covid 19. A robotic research computer doctor holds a test tube with drugs and pills. Black chalkboard with the handwritten words warning of an epidemiological virus threat

However, there is actually a change in the activities of the embassies across the globe when it comes to the issuance of visas.

Visas are only granted but not limited to the following category of people;

  1. Citizens of the United Kingdom
  2. Travel and aviation workers
  3. Students with proper doucmentation
  4. Emergency and essential service officers

From May 17, the rules for people arriving in England from abroad would depend on where you are from.

What you need to do depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive. The on which you country is listed determined what you have to do:

  • Green list – you must take a COVID-19 test on day 2
  • Amber list – you must quarantine in the place you’re staying and take 2 COVID-19 tests
  • Red list – you must quarantine in a hotel and take 2 COVID-19 tests

Is UK Embassy Working in Ghana?

The UK has a British High Commission in Ghana to maintain and develop relations between the UK and Ghana. The British High Commission in Ghana is currently working but limited to the category of people listed.

Is UK Embassy in Nigeria Working?

UK’s British High Commission in Nigeria which is situated in Abuja is very operation as of now, except that its activities are limited for same purposes across the globe.

Heathrow Airport kicks against quarantine; proposes COVID-19 tests for arriving passengers

Due to the inconveniences that mandatory 14-day quarantine would cause travellers to the United Kingdom, Heathrow Airport has proposed plans for a new coronavirus testing facility which would allow travellers to leave quarantine early.

According to the airport’s proposal, arriving passengers would undertake COVID-19 tests and have results sent to them in seven hours. Arrivals will be required to undergo a second test at home, and if they pass both, will not need to follow quarantine rules. However, this scheme requires Government approval before it can begin.

“Testing will not only avoid the ‘quarantine roulette’ that so many passengers faced in Spain and France, but it will also open up flights to key trading partners such as the US,  Canada and Singapore,” the chief executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye has said.

“We urge Government to work with us to trial a solution which could help to provide more certainty,” said the Airport’s spokesman.

Until the government gives approval to the proposal presented by Heathrow Airport, travellers to the UK are to provide their contact and journey details before arriving in the country. Also, aside from persons exempted from border rules in the UK, all other persons arriving in the UK are to self-isolate for 14 days. According to the UK self-isolation guidelines, you are not to leave the place where you are staying for 14 days.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate advice on self-isolation.

In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can be fined £1,000. If your address changes within the self-isolation period and you do not update your contact detail form, you can be fined up to £3,200.

COVID-19: What to know before traveling to the UK

While many countries are trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic by welcoming tourists, measures are expected to be put in place to ensure that travels to the country do not jeopardise its efforts in fighting the virus.

The United Kingdom has reopened its Visa Application Centers in Ghana and other countries where local restrictions allow. Though the coronavirus pandemic did not cause a change in the process of obtaining a visa to the UK, only persons who have to travel at all cost would be in a position to travel due to certain restrictions that would either require travellers to spend more money, stay longer, or both.

Let’s have a look at some of the things to do and note before travelling to the UK.

Provide Journey and Contact Details

To avoid any inconveniences; delays or unforeseen events, travellers to the UK are to provide their contact and journey details before the arrival in the UK. These details are to be submitted within 48 hours before you are due to arrive in the UK.

The UK uses the details provided by travellers for contact tracing should a traveller who arrived in the country tests positive for coronavirus.

The following details are required to fill the form:

  1. your passport details
  2. the name of the airline, train or ferry company you’re travelling with
  3. the name of the company organising your tour group – if you’re travelling as part of a tour group
  4. your booking reference
  5. the name of the airport, port or station you’ll be arriving into
  6. the date you’ll be arriving
  7. your flight, train, bus or ferry number
  8. the address you’ll be staying at for your first 14 days in the UK
  9. details of someone who can be contacted if you get ill while you’re in the UK

The form must be completed online, and it’s free.

After submitting the journey and contact details, print a copy of the confirmation sent to your email, you will need to show it when you arrive at the UK Border.

More information on how to submit your journey and contact details can be found on the UK Government official website.

Prepare to self-isolate

Aside from persons exempted from border rules in the UK, all other persons arriving in the UK are to self-isolate for 14 days. According to the UK self-isolation guidelines, you are not to leave the place where you are staying for 14 days.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have separate advice on self-isolation.

In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can be fined £1,000. If your address changes within the self-isolation period and you do not update your contact detail form, you can be fined up to £3,200.

With all the above, it means tourists should prepare to spend more than two weeks in the UK. Most tourists spend a week abroad and spending two weeks just for self-isolation means you should be ready to let go more than two weeks for a vacation.

If you are staying at a hotel, it means your self-isolation is going to cost you more than your intended budget for the holiday. Travels would definitely be reserved for only persons who have to travel at all cost.

UK resumes visa services in Ghana

After shutting down its Visa Application Centres (VAC) due to the operational impact of COVID-19 for three months, the UK has resumed operations in Ghana and other countries where local restrictions allow.

TLSContact, the UK Application Centre in Accra, began accepting applications on August 5, 2020.

Application procedures remain the same except that applicants are required to provide a body temperature reading, wear a mask, and respect social distancing guidelines while at the centre.

“If you have already submitted a visa application and are awaiting a decision from UK Visas & Immigration, you will be contacted shortly by our staff regarding your application status and passport collection options”, TLSContact has said on its website.

Though one can put in an application to visit the UK, Ghana borders remain closed.

READ ALSO: Weird Facts About UK Visa Applications