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The latest immigration and visa news for the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and select European countries - straight from the leading immigrant advocates in the Philippines.

This is a dated article.

This article is dated, and may no longer be accurate at this time due to changes in immigration laws, programs, or procedures. Please contact us or check out our list of articles for updated information.

UK Visas: From Short Time Visits to Settlement

UK is a leader of the European Union but is not a signatory to the Schengen Agreement allowing mobility and free travel within member European countries. Here are the transient to settlement options.

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on May 31, 2018; updated December 1, 2015

UK Visas: From Short Time Visits to Settlement

Apply for a UK visa (May 2018)

You can apply online for a:

  • UK visa - to visit, work, study or join a family member or partner in the UK, or 
  • certificate of entitlement to prove your right of abode in the UK

You must be outside the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Before you apply

The new procedures require that you (1) first check what kind of visa to apply for (2) determine what documents you’ll need. and (3) Also check if you need to get a tuberculosis (TB) test.

When you apply online you need to:

You can save your application form and finish it later.

When applying for a tourist (short stay) visa: Standard Visitor, Marriage Visitor or Permitted Paid Engagement visa, you need to use the Access UK service

For other visas including study and work visas, you need to Create an account on Visa4UK to apply for the first time.

Sign in to Visa4UK to apply if you already have an account

Short Term Visits - Visiting a family member, taking up short courses, occupation or profession-based itinerary. Visa applications in the Philippines are coursed through VFS Global.

After completing and printing the application form, you then have to pay the visa fees and make an appointment online. - visa application centre

Start Here - Check if you need a UK visa

The interactive online prequalification would generate a series of questions to determine what kind of visa to the UK you may need such as to visit, study or work.

Start now

What’s your nationality as shown on your passport or travel document (e.g., Philippines)

If you’re a refugee or don’t have a passport or travel document, select ‘Stateless or refugee’.

After selecting the nationality, the set of choices come up as to what visa you intend to apply for:

  • What are you coming to the UK to do?
  • Tourism, including visiting friends or family
  • Work, academic visit or business
  • Study
  • Transit (on your way to somewhere else)
  • Join partner or family for a long stay
  • Get married or enter into a civil partnership
  • Stay with your child, if they’re at school
  • Get private medical treatment
  • For official diplomatic or government business (including transit through the UK)

 If you select “Join partner of family for a long stay” for example, you’ll be asked for the length of your visit (6 months or less) or visiting someone who is settled in the UK, working or studying in the UK or if your family member is from the European Economic Area (EEA).

Your previous answers will be displayed allowing you to edit or change answers to previous questions.

Pursuing the visit or intention to join family AND the person in the UK is a British citizen or is settled in the UK,  a list of choices as to what specific Family visa you need to apply for appears (see below) and whether you are applying, extending your visa or switching to the Family visa from another category.

Family visas: apply, extend or switch- Overview. (Depending on your choice, a set of instructions will appear including the list of documents you need to provide)

  1. Apply as a partner or spouse
  2. Apply as a parent
  3. Apply as a child
  4. Apply as an adult coming to be cared for by a relative
  5. Apply on the basis of your private life
  6. Knowledge of English
  7. Give proof of your income
  8. After you apply

Booking. After determining the type of UK visa you need (Visit, Study, Work or Settlement) and paying the visa fees, you must book and appear for an appointment at the visa application center (Manila or Cebu)  Walk in applicants shall not be entertained. Be sure you have the complete application packet (forms completed, correct fees enclosed before having your biometrics taken. Decision on your visa application will be made based on documents submitted with VFS.  Delivery to an address or Document collection at the Center must be specified.

Studying in the UK  International students may apply under the Tier 4 General Category.  Schools must be listed in UK's Tier 4 Registry of Sponsors.

Work in the UK- Different tiers for specific categories of work visas based on skill, talent, ability. business acumen, investment fund and experience. Most common for Filipinos is the Tier 2 General Worker category.

Permanent Residency - Indefinitely - How to obtain, maintain or resume settlement rights.

Switching Status

There are instances when a need to change category or switch status becomes necessary. Since normally, having worked in the UK for at least five years under the Tier 2 General allows a foreign national to apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement), it is important to know that you can switch status to Tier 2 only when you're in the UK in specific Tier 1, 2, 4 and 5 categories.  In addition you can also switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa if you are:

  • a dependent partner of someone with a Tier 4 visa
  • a Jewish agency employee
  • operational ground staff of an overseas-owned airline
  • a minister of religion, missionary or member of a religious order
  • an overseas qualified nurse or midwife
  • writing up a thesis
  • a postgraduate doctor or dentist
  • a representative of an overseas business
  • a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
  • a student union sabbatical officer

Visa Decision

Your visa would indicate the terms of your admission into the UK once issued. If your visa application outside the UK is refused, a written notice will inform you if you can file an administrative appeal

Leaving the UK, Voluntary, Assisted or Deported

Persons in the UK who have overstayed or otherwise in the UK unlawfully may contact a voluntary departure team to determine if he or she could leave voluntarily or need to be assisted.




Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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