I was very happy to know that I was able to get my UK Tourist Visa even though I didn’t apply for it in my home country (The Philippines), doesn’t have a “stable” job as I am backpacking and currently on a 3- month Business Visa in Vietnam which will expire in a month when I applied for my UK Tourist Visa and all applicants must be sent to Bangkok for processing and approval.
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So the question is how do I manage to do that? Before anything else, check this article to know about why I needed the visa to the UK.
I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and forums and read a lot of complaints that it’s really hard to get visa approval and I have to apply in my home country especially if I don’t have a work visa abroad. As you know, I’ve been backpacking since May 2013 (9 months), I’ve worked in the Middle East for 4 years before finally deciding to quit and travel. Then last May, I met my British partner in Luang Prabang, Laos who also has the same story as me (he has an architectural job in the UK but quit to travel).
Okay, the visa process…
The first thing I did was apply online, I had to fill up the form which served as my application form. In my case, I applied to The British Embassy in Hanoi (just tried my luck!) and this office requires that I should pay online ( 134usd) then I can schedule an appointment. I scheduled my appointment a week after the online application since my passport was at the Indian Embassy at that time.
At the embassy, I arrived late but since there’s other were people applying then it didn’t matter they took my bio-metrics and submitted the following documents:
- Printed copy of Visa Application
- Invitation Letter from my partner and his passport copy- since he’s not working in the UK anymore and doesn’t have bank statements, he asked his parents to provide us the proof that we can stay in their house and that they will cover the transportation and the food.
- My partner’s parents’ passport copy, council tax, bank certificate, pay slip, and Invitation letter addressed to the Embassy.
- My old passport and my valid passport
- My 6 months bank statement
- My old company’s salary certificate
I also added the fact that we will be flying from India to the UK to which we will only be staying for 3 weeks in the UK before moving to Peru. So, I’ve also added our Indian visa copy and flight bookings.
I thought I completed all the requirements but after 4 days the Embassy called me for a 30 minutes interview! Questions that were asked were like: “how did I meet Jonathan”, “why am I not working (I’ve told them that I’m teaching private classes in Hanoi and earning 25usd/class)”, “why am I in Vietnam and what am I going to do in Peru” and other stuff like that.
I was already hesitant that I will get my visa until they called me to submit more supporting documents, especially factual documents that I will leave the UK and go to Peru! As I don’t have any of those, my partner just wrote a personalized letter stating how we’ve met, why are we in Vietnam, what we will be doing in India, the UK, and Peru, and our plans. We went back to the UK embassy to submit the personalized letter, additional documents like the proof of my property in the Philippines (condominium unit in Manila), and a certificate of my previous income and job in the Middle East.
I thought that I wouldn’t get it so we’re already planning to book a direct flight from India to Peru and just visit the UK next time as the chance of getting it is getting slimmer. Yet after 13 days of waiting, I received an email that there’s a decision made on my application… It made me more anxious as I don’t have a rejection history with visa applications and I’ve read more negative discussions online regarding that email response. After 2 days we went to the UK embassy, and they said if your visa is rejected they will give you a letter stating the reason why they rejected your application. I didn’t open the envelope until I get out of the embassy… I felt that there was no other paper aside from my old passport and valid passport. Then voila!! 6 months, multiple entry visas!!!
Positive vibes indeed!!
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