Immigration Applications from Outside the UK
If you are resident outside of the UK and are making an initial visa application, you will be required to do so via the Entry Clearance process.
How does the Entry Clearance process work?
Step 1: Complete the Online Form
As part of the process, an online application form must be completed on the gov.uk website. If you're coming to the UK for more than 6 months you may need to provide a certificate showing you do not have tuberculosis (TB).
Step 2: Make Payment
On completion of the form, you will be asked to pay the relevant Home Office fees. You will also need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge. This is £470 per year for applicants under the age of 18 and for student and Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) applicants. For all other applicants it is £624 per person per year.
Once you have filled in your application form you will receive a unique GWF number.
Step 3: Book an Appointment
After submitting the online form, the next step is to prove your identity and provide documents to support your application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).
When you come to book your biometrics appointment you will be redirected to one of those two websites depending on the country you are applying from.
Whether you are directed to VFS Global or TLS Contact, you have two options when submitting your documents.
You can upload your documents yourself through the relevant website or, for an additional fee, you can book the scanning service when you book your appointment.
If you choose to upload the documents yourself you should refer to the document checklist which you received during the online application process.
Step 4: Attend your Appointment
Your appointment is where you will provide biometrics (e.g. photos and fingerprints) and present your passport.
Hard copies of your documents only need to be taken to the appointment if they haven't been uploaded beforehand.
Step 5: Receive a Decision
Usually after attending an appointment the Home Office takes between three to twelve weeks to make a decision, depending on the type of application.
You should therefore plan ahead and submit your application with plenty of time - do contact us for advice on individual situations.
The Home Office publishes current processing times for some applications on their website.
You may be able to pay for a faster decision to be made depending on which country you are applying from.
Check with the VAC you are applying through. You can find out more information about that service here.
Once your application has been decided you will receive a letter or email from the Home Office.
If your application has been approved you will be issued with a vignette (sticker) in your passport valid for 30 days, which allows you to travel to the UK.
If the VAC kept your passport at the appointment then they will either post it to you or will ask you to collect it.
If they didn't keep your passport then you will need to take it with you when you collect your vignette.
If you received a vignette and are staying in the UK for more than 6 months, after arriving in the UK, you will be able to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from the location arranged in the application process.
You need to pick your BRP up before your vignette expires or if that is not possible, within 10 days of arriving in the UK.
Please note that a different application process applies to applications from EU Nationals (plus nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) - details of this can be found here.
White Rose Visas: Entry Clearance service
White Rose Visas are able to advise on all Entry Clearance applications, including a visit visa for your relative, a settlement visa for a fiancé(e) or spouse, an Innovator Founder or Skilled Worker visa to allow you to come to the UK to work.
Our Entry Clearance service includes a complete document check, and the preparation of a supporting letter, which can make the difference between application success and refusal. We are happy to communicate by phone, video call, or email, depending on what is most convenient to you. If you have a question or would like help with your application, do get in touch.