Are you making arrangements to travel to the United Kingdom from Nigeria for business, leisure, to study, or even to live and work, and you’re yet to know the full steps on how to get your visa?
Don’t worry much, as we’d be listing out all the required information on how to go through the whole processes without much stress.
The United Kingdom is made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is an island in northwestern Europe and home to London, a globally influential centre of finance and culture.
Why United Kingdom?
The United Kingdom has a high-income economy, and in fact is, the sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity according to Wikipedia. So travelling there for business would be a great idea, especially with the rate at which the Nigerian Naira is fluctuating on a daily basis.
When talking about academics, the higher institutions in the United Kingdom are among the best in the planet. According to TopUniversities.com, the University of Oxford was third, out of the 100 best universities in the world.
Other UK institutions that made the list include University of Cambridge (7th), UCL (University College London) (8th), University of Edinburgh (20th), University of Manchester (27th), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (44th), University of Bristol (49th) and University of Warwick (62nd).
Did I also tell you that international students are now allowed to work in the UK after study? I might have forgotten, but it’s also another great reason you should consider studying in the United Kingdom.
UK is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting upward of 20 million visitors annually from around the world. Going on a holiday trip to the United Kingdom is also something everyone should experience, at least once in a lifetime. You can make your travel experience fun by visiting any of the top-rated tourist attractions in London.
Types Of UK Visas
There is the Long Term Visa that is usually given to anyone intending to stay in the United Kingdom for a long period of time. You’d however be required to give tangible reasons to The Consulate on why you intend staying for long.
Other types of visa include:
• Transit Visa
This is a short term visa and usually issued when you’re just passing though UK en route to another country. A Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) is valid for only 24 hours and doesn’t allow you to pass through the UK Border Control (i.e. you must remain ‘airside’).
There is also a Visitor in Transit Visa which is valid for 48 hours and allows you to change terminals and pass through the UK Border Control.
• The Visitor Visa (also called Standard Visitor Visa)
The UK Standard Visitor Visa is the most common type of visa issued to visitors. It allows individuals to stay in the United Kingdom for up to 6 months.
The Standard Visitor Visa is established for those that wish to travel to the United Kingdom for purposes of:
– To visit family members.
– Medical treatment.
– For professional reasons.
Recently, the Standard Visitor visa has been replaced the following visas types:
– General Visitor visa
– Family Visitor visa
– Child Visitor visa
– Sports Visitor visa
– Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
– Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
– Prospective Entrepreneur visa
– Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa.
• Student Visa
The Student Visa is issued to students who intend studying in the United Kingdom. It is a long term visa and can last up to three years.
According to Gov.uk, you can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and have been offered admission into any institution in the UK. You should also be able to speak, read, write and understand English, and have enough money to cater for your education.
You can read up other basic information, including the application fees, when to apply and what you can/cannot do in the official website.
• Medical visa
The medical visa is issued for patients seeking medical treatment in reputed, specialised hospitals or treatment centres in the UK. It is usually long term and can last for up to 11 months depending on the duration of the treatment.
• Official Diplomatic Visas
The Official Diplomatic Visas is issued to diplomats and government officials travelling to the United Kingdom to engage in official duties or activities on behalf of their national government. It is usually a short-term Visa.
You need to meet the following requirements before applying for a UK visa. Please note that you should always get the updated information from the necessary bodies, as requirements may vary based on the type of visa.
• A valid international passport
• Birth certificate for children travelling with parents
• Utility bills
• A recent passport sized color photograph on white background (45mmx35mm wide)
• Application Form – The UK visa form has is filled online
• Evidence of permission to be in UK if you are not a national of the Nigeria. e.g visa, green card, residence permit etc.
• Visa Fee
• Original bank statement ( at least 6 months)
• Letter of Invitation
• Photocopy of passport data page
• Marriage certificate
• Applicant travelling on official business needs to attach a letter of invitation/confirmation of training/conference, with details of the Company’s Authorized representative including physical address and phone numbers.
• Letter from sponsor
• Hotel/flight bookings
How to Apply for UK Visa
Below are the steps you need to follow in applying for a UK visa:
• Find an Application Centre around you
If you’re living in Abuja or Lagos, you won’t need to travel out of your state as there are a number of application centres in the states.
See the addresses to the UK Visa Application Centres in Nigeria:
UK Visa Application Centre in Ikeja, Lagos
TLS Contact Processing Services Ltd.
Etiebets Place, 21 Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way
UK Visa Application Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos
1st Floor, Churchgate Tower 2
Plot PC31 Churchgate Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
United Kingdom British Consulate in Abuja
Dangote House, Aguiyi Ironsi Street Maitama District, Abuja
UK Visa Application Centre, Abuja.
TLS Contact Processing Services Ltd.
3rd floor El Yakub Plaza, Plot 1129
Zakariya Maimalari street, opp war college
Central Business Area, Abuja
British Deputy High Commission
11 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos
• Do you really need a UK visa?
If you’re a Nigerian, you’ll be needing a visa to travel to the UK. You’ll have to undergo through the normal visa application processes.
You may however, be exempted from the UK visa requirement to your trip to England if you are from Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland.
Citizens from European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are also exempted from the UK visa requirement.
• Find the Visa type that meets your requirements
The purpose of your trip will determine the type of visa you’d be applying for. Are you going for a medical treatment, To study, To visit a family member or to work?
It’ll also affect your application fees. For example, the fees for general visitor staying for a short period is 141 US Dollars. You can check out the application fees on the official websites. Appointments are booked at the UK Visa Application Centre.
• Complete the online application form
The application form will contain some questions that have to do with your personal information like;
– Your full name
– Country of residence
– Marital status
– Phone number
– Passport number
You’d also be required to state the reasons you wish to enter the United Kingdom, and other information as regards to your application.
NOTE: You should be extremely careful while filling the above details as any information that doesn’t synchronise with the information in the other required documents might likely lead to your application getting rejected.
• Collect the required documents
After completing the online form, you’d then be expected to submit the mandatory documents required for the visa application process. Some of them include:
– UK visa application form (fully completed and printed)
– Passport and travel document
– Two coloured passport-sized photographs in the format of 45mm high x 35mm wide (it should be taken in not less than 6 months)
– Biometric information for a visa for longer than six months
– Detailed travel itinerary (this involves some basic information about your travel plans, including plane tickets, meeting agendas, festival agenda, booked tour and places you will likely visit)
– Letter of invitation to UK Visa (The letter should be written by either a legal resident or citizen of the United Kingdom, with whom you have a relationship)
– Finally, you’d also be required to present a document to conform that you paid the UK visa fee
• Book a UK visa appointment
This stage involves making the application online. You’ll also be required to print the email confirming the details of the appointment. You’ll go to your choice UK visa application centre with the printed documents.
NOTE: The original documents must be submitted as original and will also be required. Any mistake can cost you a lot.
• Attend the UK visa interview
You’d be required to take the following along while going for the interview:
– Copies of your application form and confirmation of appointment
– Your passport and other documents that will be required
After paying your visa fees, your photo and finger prints (biometrics) will be taken at the application centre. The visa fees are nonrefundable, so endeavour to be on time at the time of the interview.
Other basic information
Submission of application requirements like passports should be done between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m on Mondays to Fridays (except on public holidays) in Lagos and Abuja UK application centres.
The processing of your visa application takes between four to six working days. Some visa applications that have special attention like refusal history or crimes might however take more time.
Your visa can be collected between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m on Mondays to Fridays (except on public holidays). Endeavour to come with your original ID, application checklist and a photocopy of the data page of your passport.
On the submission day, an SMS to confirm that your application has been sent to the UK embassy will be sent to your phone, and you’d be notified to come and retrieve your passport when it arrives back to the UK Application Centre.
NOTE: A third party can’t collect your documents on your behalf, except parents (collecting for your wards or collecting on behalf of your family) or Government representatives.
In conclusion, travelling abroad is fun, and something you should try at least once in your lifetime. If this article helped you, kindly drop us a comment, we also entertain questions and recommendations regarding the topic.
Before you leave, also check out our next article on Canadian visa | How to apply in Nigeria and everything you need to know.