Even though I hope the majority of you are more travellers rather than tourists, that’s what they call the visas. A tourist visa. I have written A LOT about my steps of getting a spouse visa, but I never properly wrote down how to get a simple (ha-ha) travel one. It took me years and a sudden decision to finally get my first British visa. I have always had an idea that it was complicated (it is). I have travelled most of Europe with the Schengen visas and residences but the British islands have been a mystery. A dream and something unreachable.
Ok, stop right here.
The visa to the UK is indeed a bit more complicated to get and MUCH more expensive. The latter you kind of have to except as it’s not likely to change any time soon:( When I was applying for mine from Berlin I decided to go full crazy and applied for a two year one. It cost me €470! Insane money for a sticker in the passport. But the visa itself was actually just €400, extra €70 is the commission by the visa centre (and there’s no way to get around it). It kind of made sense to apply for this one because half a year visa would have cost €120 (I think) and the same €70 extra, so… I didn’t want to rush and at the moment I did have some extra cash on hand. There are visas for five and ten years if you plan to travel regularly, their costs are about £650 and £900 (could be worth it if you can afford it and wish to travel to Britain a lot).
Anyway, to my dearest friends whom I miss deeply and who do need a visa to come to Scotland, the British embassy has nothing to do with the visas. They have a special agency for that matter – TLScontact.
On the Home Office (British Government) website you can get all the information about visas requirements, papers and costs.
But here’s a wee cheat-sheet for you <3
Documents: easy. Passport, bank statement or a letter from a sponsor (if somebody is writing an invitation and saying that they are going to take care of you, and then their bank statements and employment papers), proof of your employment/student status and a contract; if applying from the other country – proof of legal stay there. Expired passports, marriage certificates, name change, etc could also do. If any documents are not in English you’ll have to translate them into it. You can do it yourself! Just don’t forget to sign :) More details HERE
Step one: you have to register with an application centre. Pick up from the LIST.
Step two: fill in the questionnaire. You can save it and come back to it (up to three months I think), but as soon as you proceed to the payment, there can be no changes made. But! Don’t worry, it’s totally fine to add changes on a printed one with a pen :)
Step three: pay and make an appointment. You’ll get all the receipts and confirmations delivered to your email, just print them out.
Attend the appointment with all your documents, they will get your fingerprints and a picture taken. Depending on the country the passport will be either delivered to you by a courier or you pick it up there, this you’ll have to check! In some places there’s an extra service called “keep my passport”: then for €60 extra you can keep your passport and when you get an email about the visa you will have to bring it to the centre and they will put a sticker in your passport. WORTH IT!
I got mine first time with half the papers being in German, a very poor bank statement (all money were spent for that visa haha), shaky translations from bureaucratic German into bureaucratic English and a few pen corrections on the application paper. Two weeks later the passport arrived at my door with a visa granted for two years. Best decision of 2016, definitely. Less than in two years I moved to Edinburgh haha. Let life happen, folks!