Visa Applications

Learn How to Complete A UK Visa Application

By Amer Zaman

on May 22, 2022

Read Time: 10 Minutes

What steps are involved in making a successful UK visa application?

Here at Cranbrook Legal, we can understand that the process of gaining entry clearance into the UK may feel very complicated and overwhelming for you.

However, it is also true that great numbers of people each year do make successful applications through the various UK immigration routes. Indeed, according to the UK Government’s own statistics, some 830,969 visas were granted in the 12 months ending June 2021 – and that was a historically low figure, due to travel restrictions imposed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are you interested in immigrating to the UK during 2022? If your answer is “yes”, it is best to be prepared for the hoops you will need to jump through by getting advice from an experienced immigration specialist. This way, you will understand what types of visas there are to choose from, and what the application process is like in general.

This is where Cranbrook Legal can step in to help. Here is what you need to know about getting started with the visa process.

Do I need a visa to immigrate to the UK?

Ultimately, if you are not a British citizen (a.k.a. a permanent resident), a passenger with the “right of abode” or holding refugee travel documents, it is very unlikely that you are going to be allowed into the UK without a visa. It is only if you are from the USA, Commonwealth countries, oran EU member state, that you will be allowed to stay in the UK for six months without a visa.

But once this period expires, you will need a visa in order to be permitted to stay in the country. Brexit may also pose a problem to those who have not already lived in the country for over five years.

In order to avoid hassle and stress in the future, it is always wiser to start the visa application process sooner rather than later. The exact type of visa you can be approved for will depend on your current situation and what country you come from. You may also need to disclose:

  • Why you wish to live in the UK
  • Whether you desire indefinite leave, or to only live in the UK for a certain time period
  • Your skillset and personal circumstances

You will need to start your visa application process and have your visa approved before you are able to travel to the UK. Keep in mind that if you are from Ireland, then you will not need to have a visa.

What are the different types of UK visa?

It is crucial that you have a visa that suits your personal situation. Some people may need to spend more time in the UK than others. Here are some examples of the most common visas that are requested:

  • Standard visitor visa: If you wish to come to the UK for a holiday, or to see family and friends
  • Marriage visitor visa: This type of visa is used in order to get married or registered for a civil partnership in the UK
  • Student visa: If you wish to come to the UK to study on a course, you may have to apply for a student visa. Although the standard visa will let you take on a short course of around six months, if it is longer, you will need to go for the Student visa. There are also child student visas available for those between four and 17 years of age.
  • Family visa: If a family member has UK citizenship, this visa can be used to join them. Your family will need to prove that they can financially support you.
  • We should mention Business Visas

There are many other types of UK visas for you to consider. Keep in mind that you can also claim asylum if you are a refugee that has been persecuted in your own country. It is important that you share as much detail as possible about your life and why you wish to enter the UK. The more details you provide, the faster your application will be processed.

How do I get started with my UK visa application?

Before you begin your application, you may need to pay a fee to Cranbrook Legal so that our award-winning immigration solicitors can get started on your case. Our specialists pride themselves on providing you with the best advice possible. This way, you will always feel heard during the application process.

Once you have chosen the perfect visa for you, you will need to start preparing for your application. The type of application you are asked to fill out will depend on the type of visa you wish to select. If you want an example of the type of information these applications need, let’s use the standard visit/tourist visa to get started. Some examples of the information required for this visa include:

  • The purpose of your visit
  • How long you wish to visit for
  • Personal information (i.e., your name, place of birth, nationality, age and family details)
  • Your passport information
  • Your employment status
  • Your income/expenditures
  • Your travel history
  • Your criminal history
  • Any additional information your solicitor will need to know

Of course, you may be required to provide more information, depending on the type of visa you apply for. For instance, if you intend to travel on a Student visa, you may need to provide documents about your previous education and proof of acceptance into your latest school, college of university.

What documents do you need for a UK visa application?

Of course, no matter what type of visa application you fill out, there will be some documents that you will also be expected to provide, in order to maximise the chances of a successful application. Your solicitor will ask you to present:

  • Your birth certificates
  • Two photographs of yourself
  • Your passport
  • Evidence that you can financially support yourself
  • Evidence of UK accommodation
  • Proof of travel dates
  • Information about your biometrics
  • Proof of employment/school acceptance

You should also have evidence that you have already paid the full amount of your visa fees. This should be in the form of a receipt. You may also have a UK visa letter invitation if you are staying with friends or family.

When should I apply for my UK visa?

It is important that you apply for your UK visa with enough time before you start your travels. You can usually apply no earlier than:

  • Three months before the date your employment begins in the UK, if you are applying for a work visa
  • Three months before your planned date of travel to the UK, if you are applying for a visit visa
  • Six months before your school/university course begins, if you are applying for a Student or Child Student visa

Keep in mind that it can take up to six weeks or longer to get your visa approved or disapproved by the Home Office; the UK Government website provides information about typical visa waiting times. This is why it is crucial that you seek legal assistance about your UK visa application as soon as possible.

What happens after you fill in your UK visa application?

Your solicitor can help you fill out your visa application, and can even draft your visa application while you are searching for your supporting documents. Once the required documents have been collected, your immigration solicitor will set up the application online, because you can no longer send in your application to the Home Office by post. In the meantime, you should focus on proving your identity.

You will need to prove your identity.This way, you will be able to show that you are eligible to live in the UK. Your eligibility will depend on your nationality and the type of passport that you hold. There are two ways to prove your identity while your solicitor handles your application. These are:

  • Using the smartphone app: “UK Immigration: ID Check”
  • Visiting a visa application centre

If you choose to use the smartphone app, you will be asked to submit an identity document, as well as take a picture of your face to match it. You will then receive a checklist of the different documents you may need to upload. Should you decide to go to a visa application centre, you will have an appointment to have your biometrics recorded. This will include submitting a photograph and a fingerprint. You will also be asked to bring in additional documents to prove your eligibility

Your solicitor should have the submissions process of your application completed before you have your biometrics appointment. Depending on whether you choose priority or standard processing time, it should take around one working day to six weeks. A Home Office case worker will then take a look at your application and decide on whether or not you have been successful.

How much does it cost to apply for a UK visa?

In order to apply for a UK visa, you will need to pay a fee. The amount you owe to have your application processed will depend on the type of visa that you are seeking. Don’t forget that you will also need to pay a fee to your solicitor before the application is sent off. Here are some examples of fee amounts (Payable to the Home Office) from 2021:

  • Work visas: £232- £1,623
  • Standard visas: £30-£3,250
  • Study visas: £186-£348
  • Indefinite leave to remain: £2,389
  • Naturalisation: £1,000-£1,330

These fees are always subject to change so please check in with us to find out the up to date fee.

If you want to better your chances of having a successful visa application, you may also want to apply for a Life in the UK Test. These usually come in at around £50 per person. You will have to study about British culture and citizenship. You may also need to take English language lessons to make sure you are able to work comfortably while you are in the UK.

What happens if my UK visa application is successful?

Should you have a successful UK visa application, you will receive a vignette for your passport, and you will be able to access your immigration status online. This will include information about the type of visa you have, the conditions of your visa, and how long your visa is valid for. Make sure to stick to the terms of your visa to ensure it remains valid over your time in the UK.

What happens if my UK visa application is rejected?

If your visa is rejected, try not to take it too much to heart. You will receive a letter/email explaining why you were ultimately rejected. Some reasons for your rejection may include:

  • Mistakes on your application form
  • Unclear visa categories
  • Incomplete visa fund transfer
  • An undisclosed criminal record
  • Lack of evidence to prove you can sustain yourself in the UK
  • Lack of evidence concerning family/relations in the UK
  • Unorganised visa documents

You may have the right to appeal your rejection. This would be either through an Administrative Review or an immigration decision appeal. Your solicitor will be able to help with your appeal. After all, there is no time limit when it comes to resubmitting your visa application.

Indefinite Leave to Remain applications

Don’t forget that our immigration lawyers in central London can also help with applications to settle in the UK, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain. This is to help people live in the UK permanently after they have been in the country for a long time. To do this, the applicant must prove that they have a full knowledge of life in the UK and a complete understanding of the English language.

Cranbrook Legal can help with these applications, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out how we can assist.

Learn more about how we can help with your UK visa application

No matter what type of support and assistance you need in relation to your UK visa application or existing visa, our immigration specialists are ready to provide it. We understand that the application process for obtaining a UK visa can feel complicated, especially post-Brexit.

We will make sure to listen to everything that you say. Even if you do not get the outcome that you want with the immigration process, our immigration team will support you with reapplying for a UK visa, or considering your other options.

Our skilled and experienced immigration solicitors will always communicate with you effectively in relation to what you expect from this process. They can advise you on what documents and evidence you will need in order to maximise your likelihood of a successful application.

It’s time to get started on your UK visa application. Find out more about how Cranbrook Legal can help by calling our team on 0208 215 0053, emailing, or using our communication form on our contact page. We look forward to helping you with your visa soon.

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