I recently received my passport with a UK visa stamped on it and I must say that it was by far the most efficient and fastest visa processing I’ve ever done. So I’ll share the experience with you my dear readers or to whoever is planning to apply for one.
To start of, you have to have an itinerary in mind. How long you’ll be staying there, where you’ll be staying (specific address is required when you’re filling in the application form) and the dates of your travel. Since I’m a travel agent, it was one easy task for me to look for possible hotels and book flights which will then serve as my itinerary. For more drama, I also added some excursions along with it. 🙂
Once you have these information, you may now proceed to filling out the visa application form which you can find on their website. The visa application fee will also be paid on the same website right at the end of the application form. The visa fee is USD129.00 for a 6 months validity, you can see all the other fees on this link right here. After completing the form and paying the fees, you can now book your visa appointment online which is MANDATORY. I’ve seen a couple of applicants who did not have appointments and was denied to enter the visa center. You can book your appointment on this link. I actually did it the other way around, I booked an appointment first and then filled out the forms and paid for the fees. So you can do so as you wish.
After all those formalities, it’s now time to prepare all your documents to prove that you are capable of financing yourself while you’re in their country. Well, depending on the reason of your visit which for me was for tourism – I have prepared the following:
1. Flight itinerary
2. Hotel booking
3. Day tours itinerary
4. Payslip for the last 6 months
5. Bank statement for the last 6 months (stamped by the bank)
6. Employment certificate stating my monthly salary and approved leave dates
7. Passport copy
8. UAE residence visa page copy
9. Schengen visa page copies
If you have any other documents which you think might help you with acquiring the visa (specially pertaining to your monthly income or assets) then do add it on the list.
I was scheduled for 28May at 11am and their new office at Wafi Mall in Oud Metha was very well-coordinated. It seemed to me like the whole process was rehearsed by all of the employees.
1. The receptionist checks if you do have an appointment for the day.
2. The guard body checks you as well as your bag (for whatever reason, chewing gums are prohibited inside)
3. Another receptionist gives you your number.
4. An agent checks if you have the correct documents and asks you simple questions like: Have you ever been to any English countries? (UK or Australia).
5. The agent asks you if you want your passport to be delivered to you or you want to pick it up yourself from the same location. If you choose the former, make sure you have AED35 with you as an exact change.
6. Agent asks you to sit for awhile as you wait for number to be called to take your biometrics (fingerprints and photo).
7. After the biometrics, you can now go home. 🙂
The whole process was not more than 15 minutes. In fact, the steps 3 and 4 was a matter of a split second.
They have advised me that the visa processing normally takes 15 to 20 working days but I received my visa from Aramex last 09Jun which makes it a total of 8 working days only. So yep, the most efficient visa processing is the UK Visa. If only this visa will allow me to travel to any Schengen states then I’ll probably apply my visas from their office all the time. 😉
Note: If you are going to apply for your UK visa and someone else (a spouse or a friend) will sponsor your stay while there, you may want to visit Myla’s blogpost about it as to how she applied for hers. Visit her blog at FindMeABreak.Com.
Disclaimer: The above information is correct at the time of visa application. It is highly advisable to check with the embassy directly should there be any changes in their visa application procedure.
UPDATE: I now live in London and have created this London Guide for all of my readers. 🙂