How to Apply for a Tourist Visa to the UK

Published on April 25, 2024

How to apply for UK tourist visa

The United Kingdom comprises four countries – England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – all accessible with a UK visa. Depending on the purpose of your visit, various visa options are available, each with its own set of requirements. It is essential to consider the specific visa type that aligns with your travel plans to ensure a smooth application process. In this blog, we will take a deep dive into the nitty-gritty of obtaining a Standard Visitor Visa for Filipinos to help you unlock your gateway to tea, crumpets, and perhaps a royal sighting or two!

Primarily, for any Filipino setting their sights on international travel, a valid Philippine passport is the key prerequisite. It is advisable to ensure your passport has a minimum of six months’ validity before finalizing your travel plans. Specifically for the UK, tourists are mandated to possess passports valid for the entire duration of their stay.

Next thing you need to know is the type of visa you need to apply for. This is most accurately determined by checking this site. Simply key in your nationality, your purpose for visiting, and the system will determine what type of UK visa you need to apply for. For this blog, we will be presenting the details for Short Term Standard Visitor Visa.

How to apply:

  1. Determine the type of visa you need to apply for.

    As mentioned above, this blog will focus on how to apply for a Short-Term Standard Visitor Visa to the UK. This type of visa allows the holder to:

    1. Tour the UK countries
    2. Visit relatives, friends, acquaintances
    3. Take up a course up to 6 months or conduct an academic research
    4. Join a sports event or any type of creative event
    5. Consult with a medical specialist or receive treatment
    6. Stay in the UK countries for up to six months
  2. Fill-out the online application form

    After determining the type of visa needed for the trip to the UK, the applicant needs to register online by filling out the application form on this site. The timeline for registration and application is determined by how promptly the applicant can finish the online forms. A functional email address is necessary in this process, along with creating a username and setting a password.

    UK tourist visa application requirements

    The applicant has the option to finish the application in one go or save their answers and return later to complete the process.

  3. Book an appointment at a visa application center.

    The visa application center is where documents and biometrics for UK visa applicants in the Philippines are collected. Their services include transferring visa application documents and biometrics to the UK Embassy in the Philippines. There are two visa application centers in the Philippines dedicated to UK visa applications. Below are their addresses and office hours:

    1. Manila

      VFS Global Services Philippines Inc.
      Mezzanine Floor Unit MO1, Ecoplaza Building,
      2305 Chino Roces Avenue Extension
      Makati City, Metro Manila 1231
      Office hours: 7:00AM to 4:00PM, Monday to Friday

    2. Cebu

      VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
      9th Floor, Keppel Center, Unit 905, Samar Loop cor. Cardinal Rosales Ave.,
      Cebu Business Park
      Cebu City 6000F
      Office hours: 7:00AM to 4:00PM, Monday to Friday

    To confirm an appointment at the preferred center, the applicant must pay the necessary visa application fee.

  4. Prepare the necessary documents.

    Submit two sets of documents to the visa application center: one original and one photocopy. Here are the typical documents needed for UK visitor visa applicants, but this is not an exhaustive list. It is advisable to check the email address provided during the registration process for any updates on the documentary requirements of the UK embassy.

    1. Philippine passport that is valid six months from intended travel date and must have at least two pages available for the arrival and departure stamps.
    2. Previous passports for travel history (only if applicable)
    3. Front and back of current and previous visas (bring a photocopy) including bio page of current visa, as well as valid and expired visas.
    4. Bring photocopies of the following:

      1. Proof of income such as a bank certificate, pay slips from the last six months, Income Tax Return, and a valid certificate of employment with your employer’s complete address and contact information, an approved leave letter from your Human Resources or immediate supervisor.
      2. Sample travel itinerary including a list of your living accommodations, places you plan to visit, and the dates when you will be visiting.
      3. Plane tickets or ticket reservations as well as hotel reservations (if booked already)
      4. VFS Global Appointment Letter
    5. You will receive a confirmation email from VFS Global after your appointment is confirmed. Print the confirmation email and attach this to your application.
    6. Application Supporting Documents:

      1. Travel history details from the last 10 years
      2. Complete home address in the Philippines
      3. Complete information of your parents (names, addresses, birthdates, passport numbers)
      4. Legal spouse’s information (name, address, passport number)
      5. Names and contact details of your relatives and friends staying in the UK
      6. Provide criminal records and immigration offenses, if any.
  5. What to bring on your appointment day at the VFS Global Center

    1. All original copies of the documents listed above and one set of photocopies for each.
    2. Submit yourself for the collection of biometrics (photo and fingerprints)

    Applicants are kindly advised to dress suitably and arrive at the VFS Global Center ahead of their scheduled appointment. Each applicant will be assigned a personal locker for belongings, and it is mandatory to store all personal items in the locker before entering the center. Only necessary application documents will be allowed inside. Companions, unless required for senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), or minors, will not be permitted.

  6. Collecting your visa

    Typically, visa processing takes 5 to 15 business days to be released. If you wish to receive your visa right away, you can opt for a Priority Visa Service at a cost of Php10,000. The Priority Visa Service ensures that your visa will be processed within 3 to 5 business days.

    While completing your application, you will have the choice to enroll in an SMS service. This service notifies you via text message when your passport is ready for pickup at the VFS Global Center where you submitted your application. The SMS service fee, ranging from Php150 to Php200, is payable in cash during your application process. If you opt for this service, you will receive a text message once your passport is ready for collection.

Exploring the UK and visiting its historical landmarks is an amazing experience you should not pass up. When applying for a UK visa, make sure to submit accurate and valid documents and never give false information in your application.

Filipino travelers are often seen as among the happiest globally, always eager to explore, familiar with famous landmarks, and considerate of both locals and fellow tourists. Remember this when applying for a visa to visit a new country – it’s akin to asking to enter someone’s home and see their way of life: kindly, respectfully, and with integrity.

Have a wonderful trip to the UK!

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