Do you wanna see the London Bridge, Stonehenge, and One Direction? Not necessarily in that order. A Filipino National should first secure a United Kingdom Tourist visa. The United Kingdom includes Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Any travel in these areas for Filipino Citizens would require a visa. So this post is about How I got my UK Tourist Visa in the Philippines.
This link gives information on the types of visa, if you need one, the how and where to apply for any other nationality.
In the Philippines, there are 3 parts on how to apply for a UK Tourist Visa based on my own personal experience: Online Visa Application, Booking an appointment, personally submitting your documents and biometrics information.
ONLINE VISA APPLICATION
Once you have your information on hand like your passport, hotel bookings, information about friends or relatives (there’s a part where they ask for an address and phone number if you have a friend/relative in the UK), income and financial statements, you can click on this online visa application page. It will ask you to register and give you a unique reference number which you should take note since you’ll need this to book your appointment online. If you don’t have all your information available, no need to worry because you can always get back and fill out the application within 7 days. Application is only completed once you have paid the necessary fees through credit card which is the last part of the application. Then print the application and attach the required photo. If you don’t have a printer at home, you can always get back to it and log-in elsewhere to print it.
BOOKING AN APPOINTMENT AT THE VISA PROCESSING CENTER (VFS GLOBAL)
– Online Booking which is free and convenient, you can even reschedule or cancel an appointment.
– Call centre: You can contact the VFS call centre and make your appointment for PLDT / Smart Subscribers 1-909-885-VISA (8472); at PHP 32.00 for each minute for landline calls (excluding VAT and applicable NDD charges for calls made outside Metro Manila).
* I used the online booking option. I printed out the appointment page that they emailed to me. There’s a note that said “Please arrive at the Visa Application Centre not earlier than 15 minutes before the given time. We will not be able to accommodate late applicants. Please ensure to come on time.” There were also instructions on what to bring and what the process is like.
SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS AT THE VISA APPLICATION CENTER
I was actually there 30 minutes before my appointment but we weren’t allowed inside. They were strict with allowing you only 15 minutes before your appointment. Then, you would need to submit an ID at the front desk to get a guest pass before proceeding to the 6th Floor. This is the address by the way and hours of operation:
UK VFS Visa Application Centre
VFS Services Philippines Private Inc
6th Floor, Eco Plaza
Building Unit 606
Pasong Tamo Extension
Makati City, Metro Manila
Application submission – with a prior appointment:
08:00 – 14:00
Application submission – without a prior appointment
07:00 – 08:00
Enquiries at visa application centre
13:00 – 15:00
Here’s a more detailed information like maps and public holidays.
On the 6th floor, you line up to get through the guard. They ask for your passport so they can check you off the list and they give you a number on a paper you fill out. You leave your bags there since you’re only allowed to bring in your documents, a pen and your wallet. They give you another number for this just like at the supermarket. ^.^
Then, it’s a waiting game. I was there for 3 long hours. If you don’t want to wait like I did, you can avail of their VIP premium lounge service where you don’t have to wait in line. You are in an enclosed space with refreshments and snacks for a fee of 2,000 pesos. I saw Helen Gamboa and her daughter Ciara Sotto on that day and they were at the VIP lounge of course. Here is a list of their additional services.
When my number was finally called, I submitted the following to the lady.
- My passport with validity of at least 9 months.
- Previous passports.
- Completed and signed online visa application form with attached passport sized color photo. Photo guidelines can be found here. I even made a mistake of interchanging my first and last name and I told the lady and she told me to correct it there and sign it on the side.
- Supporting Documents for tourist visa application can be found here. As for me, for the Evidence of Current employment or studies, I submitted the original and photocopy of my DTI permit, Mayor’s Permit and my latest ITR.
- Bank Statements, Credit card statements, Bank Books and photocopies. The lady asked me if I don’t need my bank books and I asked her how long is the processing time. She said it’s 5-20 business days. I asked her if it’s okay to just take them with me and she said it’s okay. So I just submitted the copies.
- Details of Accommodation, I submitted my hotel booking, and my itinerary.
* I was asked if I wanted to get the Priority Visa service for 4,200 pesos since I qualify for it. They process your application in only 2-3 days but I’m not really in a hurry. I would like to save that money for my travel fund. I availed of the Courier service for 330 pesos since It would be more convenient that way. It saves me money too. I also availed of the SMS status Tracking service for 110 pesos just so I am updated on the process. After paying for this, I had to wait another 15 minutes before they called out my name for biometrics.
For the Biometrics, you actually go into the room. I think there were two operating at the time. Then, I was asked to look at a camera to take my photos. She was asking me my name and my birthday really fast probably to check if I really owned the documents. Then she took my fingerprints. After that, I was finally done.
Fast Forward to 19 days, I finally get all my documents back and my passport with my UK visa valid for 180 days via courier.
Now, I’m still waiting for my Schengen Visa. ^.^ More on that on another post.
MY RELATED LONDON EXPERIENCES BELOW:
MY LONDON ITINERARY
EUROSTAR TRAIN FROM PARIS TO LONDON
THE OYSTER CARD
LONDON BRIDGE, TOWER BRIDGE, AND THE TOWER OF LONDON
BIG BEN, DOWNING STREET, WESTMINSTER ABBEY AND THE LONDON EYE
LONDON’S CHINA TOWN
KENSINGTON GARDENS AND KENSINGTON PALACE