Applying for UK Family Visitor Visa (Short term / 6 months)

We’ve been staying in Edinburgh for almost one year now. Kids are happily settled as are us, but not the case with the grandparents, living thousands of miles away. So, after being lucky to grab a very cheap return ticket to London on mid-July, they started their UK Visitor visa application on early June. My dad and mom were still living in Burma at the time of the application. They were actually contemplating, whether to apply in Jakarta or Rangoon, Burma. Giving their location, they decided to apply via Burma VFS office for an easier access.

We started to help gathering information about all the preparation needed and found some information here

The descriptions and guides are quite clear on what visa type we should apply, what document were needed, etc. Dad had given all documents according to the list of documents here

UK visa application started with creating application online here. You should be able to create your application and then choosing your appointment date to submit your document first, rather than waiting for your document to be completed first. Because usually the appointment dates are pretty busy, in the high traveling season such as July or December it might need 2-3 weeks until the earliest appointment date available.

For short visitor visa, you don’t need to pay for health insurance and it is not a visa requirement. you only need to pay for the visa processing service.

But, it turned out their experience was rather unpleasant but had a happy ending anyway. They had to apply twice because the first one was refused, luckily we got it right the second one. That’s why I thought it might be worth to share to others who might need it and face the same issue. UK Visa application centre was clear on what items failed the applications though, so we definitely know what to do for the next application.

It was stated that the first application refused because :

  • There is not enough financial proof that they could fund their travels.
  • There is not enough documentation stating the family connection between them and I as their daughter.

I wasn’t sure whether we missed something or something went wrong in the first application that we didn’t know, it was just failed. So, rather than blaming the system or the person or whatever it was, I think it is wiser to share the latter successful experience.

These were all the documents dad provided on their first and second applications :

  1. Valid passport – Just to make it save, ensure the passport still has 6 months from expiration date.
  1. One passport-sized photograph that meet the UK Visa requirement showed here
  2. Any previous passports in the last 10 years – I think they might want to see our travel history, in case we ever got rejected or something else. A blank passport will also might create a suspicion, but if you completed all the supporting documents, I guess it will be safe enough.
  1. Financial document – This is the tricky one. They got refused for the first application because of lack of the supporting financial document. Though they had provided as written here let me quote it down.
Financial documents, showing that you have sufficient funds available. These must clearly show that you have access to the funds, such as:
  • bank statements
  • building society book
  • proof of earnings such as a letter from employer confirming employment details (start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details)
  • where a third party (who is either in the UK or who will be legally in the UK at the time of your visit) is providing financial support to you e.g. a business, a friend or a relative, documents to show they have sufficient resources to support you in addition to themselves and any dependant family should be provided

 

Given my parent situation in Rangoon, they could not provide any bank statement, because their bank is in Indonesia and it required them to travel back to Indonesia to get the letter. So, they chose for the third option which was proof of earnings. My dad acquired the salary slip and letter from his employer confirming his employment details, signed and stamped by his employer. Since he was working for Indonesian government in Rangoon with a more than enough income to support the travel, we could say that this document would suit perfectly. Turned out, it wasn’t enough.

  1. Confirmation of legal residence – Since my parent are Indonesian living abroad in Rangoon, they need to provide the proof of legal residence. Since they lived in a housing provided by the employer, then my dad provided the letter of assignment of the housing facilities.

 

  1. Detail of employment or studies – My dad provided the letter of employment given from his employer on a company headed paper, detailing his role, salary and length of employment. If you’re a student or self-employed, please refer to the document list on above link.

 

  1. Marriage certificate and official translation – This document was needed for my mom’s application. If the marriage certificate wasn’t written in English, then you need to make an official translation, stamped and signed by an authorized sworn translator.

 

  1. Confirmed return ticket to UK – Since my parent already bought a return ticket, they also attached this to their application. It wasn’t mentioned in the document list actually, but I think it helps to show that the applicants are going to go back and not staying in the UK.

Those above were the 8 documents that previously submitted by my dad in their first visa application, which turned out later, failed. He had paid GBP 87 in USD notes equivalent for it and had waited for around 7 working days from submission to passport retrieval.

Since the departure date was nearing and they didn’t want to cancel the trip, they quickly preparing for the second attempt. This time they chose the express service, almost twice as much the normal fee, but it took only 2-3 working days to get the passport back. Being cautious, they prepared it well better than the first application. The additional documents they also submitted, apart from the 8 documents above were :

  1. Bank statement and bank reference – On the second application, they made extra effort to finally be able to obtain the bank statement from their bank in Indonesia. He stored around IDR 125,000,000 (around GBP 6,000) in his bank account and then on the next day requested the bank office to issue the bank reference and bank statement. We can easily inform the bank we need the bank reference for a visa application, because they usually already had this kind of letter template. The bank statement needed to print out all the statement for the last 3 months. In my dad’s case he didn’t need let the money to stay for 28 calendar days, which was the must for a student visa as in my previous post. So this minimized the complexity for a bit.

 

  1. Invitation letter from us – Since my parent is going to visit us, they need our documents as a proof. Since we stay in UK under my husband’s visa as a student, the invitation letter was written and signed by him. Letter template can be found here .

 

  1. Other supporting documents from us
  • My husband’s copy of passport ID and visa page and BRP card
  • Electricity bill to prove our address in UK
  • Copy of letter from university to confirm my husband’s course and study date
  • Copy of our marriage certificate and translation (if not in English), to prove connection with my husband
  • Our family card or my birth certificate (translated if not in English), to prove connection with my parent
  • Copy of my husband’s bank reference with last 3 months transaction

 

Having all the documents needed fulfilled, and the narrow timing they had before flying here, they applied for the express visa service which cost about doubled than the regular visa.

They got their passport back with the UK visa vignette on it in 5 working days. With 6 month visa validity, multiple entry. Not bad at all after all of the trouble at the beginning.

Now they are getting ready to go here and cannot wait to see their grandchildren, children, son and daughter in law. My mom, who has been living in 3 different countries in the last 15 years, even said, she was tired of always moving and having her kids living apart all over the world. Well, I won’t be promising on the latter, Mom. If we really are a big traveling family, then where’s the spirit? I just hope they won’t be surprised with the UK summer weather!

Edinburgh, 6 July 2016, 19.23 PM

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