How do I get a UK Tourist Visa?
I googled this question a couple of times for sure. Well, now I can proudly say that I can help you to get one!
Because, I got an amazing UK tourist visa and visited places I’ve dreamed about for such a long time. I really hope my experience can inspire and motivate you. So that soon you will be booking your plane tickets and counting days until you see this great country.
1. Get a good visa agency to help you
I’m happy for you if you applied by yourself – read instructions on gov.uk, prepared all documents accurately and was lucky in the end.
I’m not saying it’s not possible, it is!
But if you want to make sure you’ll definitely get a UK tourist visa – find a professional visa agency to guide you.
There are different kinds of services that provide visa support for different visas. The best UK visa agencies generally assist JUST with UK visas. They are able to guide you though the process because they know everything about UK visa rules. Especially pitfalls and hidden refusals.
Remember to ask them all questions that cross your mind and that are unique to your situation. You might have a well-paid job and a letter of invitation. But it’ll turn out there is not enough money in your bank. You might want to write in your application that you plan to go to the UK for 2 weeks. But it’ll turn out you should go just for 1 week depending on how much money you have at the moment in your bank.
Just be honest with your consultant. That way they can suggest the best options and advise you on additional documents.
Lastly, the biggest advantage of getting the agency services is having that feeling of confidence and belief that you will definitely get your UK tourist visa.
2. You must prove you are a genuine visitor
Quoting UK Home Office website:
“You must always show that: you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit”.
What a visa officer wants to see in you is a “genuine visitor” – a person who will leave the UK at the end of their visit. They want to see that you will not claim public funds and will not work illegally.
I would say this is a number one requirement, due to the fact that a bunch of people have snuck in the UK on this kind of visa and stayed there working in secret for 10 years until they got a chance to apply for a UK passport somehow.
So, the question is:
“How do you prove that you’re a genuine visitor?”
UK Visas & Immigration website advises you not to buy plane tickets or book your hotel before you get your visa.
Then the previous question still remains.
But what it really means is: “How will you prove you have a strong connection with your native country and you will definitely go back there?” This can be through ownership of or investment in real estate in your native country. Or through your long-term job with evidence of having enough money to support yourself. So they can see that your purpose isn’t to make money in England or claim benefits.
Just remember, a visa officer sees you through your documents, through the paper and just reads the cold facts.
They don’t know if you’re a good person or a bad one.
According to the research of European Truth (eurointegration.com.ua), the visa officer takes only 5 minutes to make a decision on your application (despite the fact that we have to wait up to 3 weeks for the result). You’ve got to prepare all documents you can, so these 5 minutes will turn positively for you.
3. Prepare all possible documents and more
I would just say that one of the most important things to keep in mind while getting your documents ready is getting a perfect letter from your employer.
It must show: you’ve worked in your job for more than 6 months and you have a stable income.
As well as the magic phrase that you’ve been given “a vacation from “day/month/year” until “day/month/year””, and your company “guarantees to keep your position throughout this time. This is crucial.
The lack of this was one of the reasons I got my first UK visa refusal.
So please, learn from my mistakes and get your UK tourist visa the first time you apply.
One more document you should prepare well is an invitation letter.
If you are going to visit your English boyfriend/girlfriend or friends, you should both work on a successful invitation letter.
Before I went to the visa agency for help I didn’t know that it is actually a must. An emotional invitation letter from your sponsor.
Yes, it is still a letter in a formal style, with formal phrases and specific structure. But the emotion your sponsor should show is something that defines his or her attitude to you.
It is okay for them to tell your story and how they feel about you in this letter.
For example, my boyfriend wrote the following: “I and Nataliia met in November 2015 when I arrived to China to begin my teaching position. Upon meeting her within this school I almost immediately fell in love with her and we began our relationship straight away.”
That was straight. It was honest and emotional and it was just one of the lines that made my invitation letter a winning one.
4. Your Motivation Letter
When I got my first refusal (which was in China), I visited a Chinese visa agency for a consultancy. They advised me to wait some time and try again later. But how long should you wait?
At the end of my refusal letter I read that my further visa applications would be considered on their individual merits.
However: “…you are likely to be refused unless: your personal circumstances change significantly between now and your next application.”
At that time I desperately wanted to get a visa because I and my boyfriend planned to go to England for Christmas.
So, I didn’t wait long. I applied again in a month and got one more refusal.
While applying for the third time, my visa agency in Ukraine prepared a motivation letter for me as part of my application. To counter my two refusals.
As it eventually turned out, this letter was extremely important. It was formal but emotional, short but informative. It is one of the only personalised things (along with the invitation letter) a visa officer can examine when looking at an application.
Even I was touched when I read it for the first time after my visa appointment. It was really special, as it kind of justified me and explained why I really deserved this UK tourist visa.
5. Your UK Tourist Visa Application
It seems we only think about filling a visa application at the very end of our visa application journey. We are so busy preparing all possible evidence, getting everything translated, re-done, delivered, that when the time comes to fill the actual application we get confused.
So many questions
“How much money do you plan to spend on your trip?” – Do I say how much I plan to spend in total or how much I’ve actually got in my bank at the time of application?
“Father’s place and country of birth” – Can I just write the name of the country as I never lived with my father and had no idea where exactly he was born?
“What is your total monthly income from all sources of employment after tax?” – I have a main job and earn this much, and I occasionally do some tutoring and earn this much, and I also get paid for the articles I write from time to time. Do I mention all these sources of income or just the one from my full-time employment?
Okay, maybe I’m over-exaggerating a bit and confusing you now. The thing is when I read the above questions now, I realise how easy they are to answer. However, when I filled my application for the first time by myself, I made mistakes which cost me the chance to get a UK tourist visa.
It is useful to read this guide on visa application forms created by gov.uk. Although, I recommend you to take your time: read the questions through a couple of times, think about possible answers and analyse the questions carefully, because there is no way back after you submit your form. So please be very careful during these final steps. This is the perfect time to use a Visa Agency, as they know exactly what the Visa officer is looking for.
To conclude, I want to say good luck to everyone with your attempts.
Yes, it‘s not easy, yes it can be frustrating when you try again and again. But it’s worth it.
No matter how hard it can be or how long it will take for you – simply believe in your dream.
Work on every little detail and stay confident and strong through every step of your visa process.
Go to your submission appointment knowing that you’ve done everything-everything and wait excitedly for your passport to be delivered to you with a new page in your life’s journey.
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– Nataliia Dubinetska