Way back in 2016, I remembered there was a fake news circulating in the social media that Filipinos no longer need a visa when entering the UK. Some happy, some hesitant– that article caused confusion most especially to our “not-so-keen” Filipino travellers. Who wouldn’t jump out of happiness with this news? However, just like other countries, the UK also (and still) requires a visa for Filipino travellers whether we like it or not. So here’s our UK visa application guide to help you with your application.
UK visa vs Schengen visa
“I have a Schengen visa but why can’t I use it in the UK?”
I have heard stories of travellers not permitted to enter the UK even with a Schengen visa. This is also one of the misconceptions that some Filipinos need to know. UK visa and Schengen visa are two different visas. For starters, Schengen visa can only be used in countries that are members of the Schengen zone and the United Kingdom is not part of it. The same goes for the UK visa where it can only be used in the UK– England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Standard visitor visa
We are all aware that the UK has different types of visa and different terms and conditions apply to each of these visa types. The Standard Visitor visa is issued to applicants with the following purpose:
- For travellers who want to explore the UK for a holiday or to visit family members and/or friends.
- To attend business-related activities like conference, meeting, and training.
- To participate in sports or other creative events
- To conduct or accompany a student for a research or study abroad program.
- To receive medical treatment
- To take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
- To apply as an organ donor
How to apply for a UK Standard visitor visa
Applying for a visa to enter the UK is easy. So to give you an idea of the process, here’s a step by step guide on how to apply for a tourist visa in the Philippines.
- Apply for a visa online
- Book an appointment
- Pay the visa fee
- Appear personally and hand in your documents
- Enrol your biometrics information
Wait for your visa
After you have completed the steps above, you can select whether to have your passport delivered to your home address or pick up the passport from the application center. The processing time usually takes 3 weeks or earlier.
If you want to get your passport faster than 3 weeks, you can avail the priority processing service for a special fee of PHP 12,328. With it, you’ll only have to wait for 5 working days to get the result of your application.
There is also a special service that allows you to get your passport within the 15 days application processing period and hold on to it for a maximum of 10 days. This service is applicable for cases when you have an upcoming trip and you need to get your passport from the embassy. Within 10 days, you have to return it to the embassy to resume the processing of your visa. This service costs PHP 3417.
Status update via SMS
The Application center can also send you the status of your application through SMS with a fee of PHP 150.00. This can be availed on the day you submitted your documents.
This is another type of service offered. For PHP 500.00, your passports can be delivered straight to your chosen address using VFA’s trusted courier, 2GO Courier services. You can also easily track down your passport using 2Go’s online tracking service.
UK Visa fee cost
For a standard visitor visa, you’ll have to pay £87. With this visa, you can stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You can also apply for a longer validity of your standard visa:
- 2 years – £337
- 5 years – £612
- 10 years – £767
Primary and Supporting documents to prepare
To give you a smooth and hassle-free application, be sure to prepare the following documents. For the supporting documents, make sure to have the necessary documents based on your situation. This is a case to case basis.
Note: If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you have to provide a translated copy of it.
- Passport – must be unexpired and valid within the entire duration of your stay in the UK
- Other travel documents
- Old passport or travel documents
- Proof of financial capacity
- Bank statement
- Building society books
- Employment certificate
- Payslips for the last 6 months
- Proof of sponsorship
- Income Tax Return (ITR)
- Proof of rootedness
- Leave of absence signed by employer
- Letter from education provider confirming your enrolment and leave of absence
- Business registration
- Travel itinerary
- Flight reservation
- Hotel reservation/ Proof of accommodation from host
- Detailed day to day itinerary
The embassy might also ask for the following information so better yet prepare these too:
- Details of previous travel history for the past 10 years
- Details of current residency
- Details (name and date of birth) of parent’s
- Details (name, address, and passport number) of partner (if applicable)
- Details (name, address, and passport number) of a family member in UK
- Details of criminal record and immigration offenses
Where to apply
Luckily, there are two VFS offices in the Philippines so applicants from the far end regions of the country don’t have to fly to Manila to submit their applications.
VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
Mezzanine Floor Unit M01, Ecoplaza Building,
2305 Chino Roces Avenue Extension Makati City, Metro Manila 1231
VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
9th Floor, Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop
cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue,
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City 6000F
Do’s and don’ts when granted a Standard Visitor visa
- Do paid or unpaid work
- Get public funds
- Marry or register in civil partnership or give notice to marry or register in civil partnership
- Study for up to 30 days as long as it is not the main purpose of your trip
- Participate in an exchange program or educational visit
- Convert civil partnership to marriage
- Transit in the UK (If the UK is not your final destination)
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