FAQS INDIVIDUAL APPLICANTS
Please select a heading to expand the full range of questions within that topic
Q. I am not in the UK. How do I apply for a visa?
A: You need to register for an account and then complete an online application form. Once completed, the application is submitted through the UKVI portal, and an appointment is booked to attend a visa identification appointment. This is where fingerprints and photos (your biometrics) are taken, and supporting documents are submitted. Please note you can only do this in a country that you have nationality or hold residency for. This link provides information to individuals on which application centre to attend.
Q. Why have I been granted an entry visa which is only valid for 28 days?
A. The visa is a form of entry clearance , only valid for a month solely for the purpose of crossing the border into the UK. Once you are in the UK you will need to collect a biometric residence permit with the 'full' visa.
Q. What if I cannot travel to the UK in the short 28 day window?
A. You must travel into the UK within the dates on your initial visa; if you cannot arrive before the expiry date the chances are the airline will not allow boarding the plane. The visa would need to be extended or replaced and the only way of doing this is to return to the visa application centre/ embassy. They may insist on a new application.
Q: Why do you advise using a windows system (pc, laptop or tablet) for our application?
A: The UKVI system for applying online is optimised for use with Windows, and some clients have experienced glitches when applying using Apple laptops – in particular when attempting to pay for Immigration Health Surcharge, and also in selecting options for refunds.
Q: When it comes to uploading document copies to support my application, regarding the “passport or travel document”.. is the photo and passport details page enough, or should all pages be scanned cover to cover?
A: Uploading of documents is not clear at all. For the passport, we recommend you scan the photo page; your UK visa and any other UK entry stamps. You do not need to upload copies of visas / stamps for other countries nor blank pages.
Q: Again with scanning supporting documentation, it asks for “documents showing you and your partner are living together (for example, a utility bill, council tax bill or bank statement)”. How many should I upload and for what time period?
A: We tend to look for a document per 6 months of residence in the UK to confirm living together. Ideally you should do this for the duration of the time you have both lived in the UK.
Q. Why should a visa extension typically be made within the last 28 days of validity?
A: If an application for an extension is submitted before this time, it is likely to be accepted (there can be good reasons for an early extension), however if someone applies too early they run the risk of losing their time at the end of the current visa. This creates a risk of being short of time resident in the UK, should the individual wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain. To put this into context, if I have a 2.5 year spouse visa, and I apply for an extension after 2 years 3 months and am granted another 2.5 years, then my residency will reach 4 years 8 months. I am only eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain once I reach five years residency, so I will have to apply for another visa extension.
Q: What is the difference between a family permit, which is free and application via paper form VAF5... compared with a applying for an extended family member residence certificate using form EFM, which costs £65?
A: They are the same "status" but applied for in different locations. The one using VAF5 is made outside of the UK and is for the initial permission valid for 6 months. This allows someone to enter the UK and become established. They will then need to apply for the other one valid for up to 5 years once in the UK
Q: I am a US citizen here on a Tier 2 visa. If I marry my British partner will I be able to switch into a spouse visa?
A: If you’re original entry clearance into the UK was on a Tier 2 visa, then wish to move to a spouse visa when you marry a British Citizen, it will restart your clock for your five years residency. This means it will be five years from the new visa before you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This will be the same case whatever type of visa an individual comes to the UK on, as it is mandatory to have entry clearance as a fiancé or proposed civil partner in order to
Q. Regarding savings – Can I include funds within an offshore account (RL360 registered), or do I need to transfer the funds to my normal Natwest account.
A. In general, you can use accounts held in any legal jurisdiction, as long as the funds are immediately available.
Q If evidence of the funds cannot be stamped by the banks (as no offices to visit) can I get a solicitor or similar to stamp?
A. Any documents to evidence the funds need to be originals, or if printed copies, signed and stamped - preferably by the issuing organisation, but a notary can certify them too.
Q. Regarding ‘cash savings’ – am I able to include my pension? Due to my age I am entitled to withdraw up to 25% of this as a PCLS (Pension Commencement Lump Sum). Will this be ok for my application?
A. The caseworker guidance states that savings may be held in any form of bank/savings account (whether a current, deposit or investment account, provided by a financial institution regulated by the appropriate regulatory body for the country in which that institution is operating), provided that the account allows the savings to be accessed immediately (with or without a penalty for withdrawing funds without notice. This can include savings held in a pension savings account which can be immediately withdrawn. (Para 7.4.16 of caseworker guidance dated Aug 2017). It can be concluded that a pension account does count. It would be wise to get the letter from the provider to confirm the value of the pension; the amount that can be withdrawn immediately and without penalty and the length of time of the investment. The letter also needs to confirm that this is a pension fund.
Q. My husband and I are looking to naturalise, along with our two children. How do we go about the application?
A. The easiest way is probably to use the online application form found here. Part way down the page there is a link to the MN1 forms for the children. You will need to complete an application form for each of you, but as long as they are all submitted on the same day, UKVI will connect the applications together. You could always add a covering letter to ask for this to happen. If you decide to use paper forms, you will also need the payment form found here. You can complete one for each application if you wish - fees are currently £1330 for each adult and £1012 each for the children.