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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Apply for UK Visa in the US




Starting point: https://www.gov.uk/general-visit-visa. If you already know that you need a UK Visa skip 1a and jump to 1b.

1a. Go to the website : https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa

or if you reside in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Fairfield County in Connecticut. try: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-consulate-general-new-york

The website above will ask you some question so it could tell you if you need a UK Visa or not. Then it will walk you thru the process.

Below are the steps:
click Visas for UK  -> click Start Now -> choose your country from the dropdown box -> click Next Step - next screen will ask you what you are coming to UK for, choose from the dropdown box (ie: Tourism) - click Next Step - click the link applicable to you (ie: general visit visa if you are touring the UK or visiting friends) - read through everything by clicking Next until you reached #4 item (4. Apply) - then click "apply online" - before you click the Start now, make sure you read the information below the "Start now" button because it tells you what documents to prepare and how to book your appointment:

(https://www.visainfoservices.com/Pages/dest_org.aspx)

Once  you're done reading all those you can click "Start now" - It would then re-direct you to:

https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/

1b. If you already know you have to apply a UK Visa and just want to go straight to the Online Application page below is the link:

https://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/

2. Once in the Online Application page it would ask you to register, so just click Register an Account.

3. Fill up all the boxes and remember you password.

4. I forgot what I did next but I'm guessing I logged in and started filling up the application form.To learn how to fill up the application go to:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-applying-for-any-uk-visit-visa-using-vaf1-forms

and click: Form VAF1 A to K: guidance notes


5. I forgot too if the confirmation page appears after you filled up everything or it gets sent on your email but just read all the pages on that application form carefully.

6. Make sure to print the appointment confirmation page (or email) because you need to bring that with you at the finger-printing site (in my case at a USCIS office, same office I went to when I was processing my permanent residency).

7.  Go to your application site for finger printing. Bring the appointment confirmation page and your passport.

8. At the application site they will take your photo and finger prints.

9. All your documents, including passport stays with you after the finger printing.

10. After finger printing you need to mail the documents (passport, proof of income, itinerary, etc) on the UK embassy where your state is under jurisdiction. To know what else you need to submit go to:

https://www.gov.uk/general-visit-visa/documents-you-must-provide (you might want to read all the other links on that page)

then go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visitor-visa-guide-to-supporting-documents

and click: Guide to supporting documents - visiting the UK which would open a Word document.



11.  You need to send a prepaid return shipping label from a recognized carrier (UPS, Fedex, USPS, DHL) with your document and an envelope to put your passport when they return it to you. This I didn't know because I didn't see this on their website and last time I applied for UK visa (year 2010) they didn't ask for this but they were still able to ship my passport with the UK visa stamp to my home address. I just thought the shipping is part of the visa application fee that's why they didn't list that on the list of requirements.

11a. If  you did forget to send them a prepaid return shipping label you have to purchase one, I used Fedex.com. Fed-ex sent me the printable prepaid return shipping label   in PDF format and I just forwarded that email to UKVINewYork.Shipping@fco.gov.uk. But do not quote me on this. I don't know what their process is going to be a week or months or years from now but as of this time (Mar 19, 2014) I received an email from them telling me they can't start processing my application until I send them via email the printable prepaid return shipping label and then they gave instructed me to send it to: UKVINewYork.Shipping@fco.gov.uk.

12. Make sure you mail it at the correct embassy. Like in my case, I'm from PA so my UK embassy is the one in New York. 

13. Then you cross your finger and wait.

Good luck!