The London Experiment – Visa Application Process

Samantha Mckenzie

International Resource Consultant From: Wagga Wagga, Lived in London for 2 years. Currently: Living in Sydney, Australia

This week’s post is all about the Visa application process, where to go for information, when you can apply, how much does it all cost and what exactly is the Healthcare Surcharge?

This particular post is centred on the Tier 5 youth mobility visa application but if you have any questions on the process for other visa’s get in touch with our team!

If you have thought to start this process and then given up because there is NEXT TO NOTHING concrete on where and how to complete this process then hopefully this will help you!

TIER 5 YOUTH MOBILITY VISA (Working Holiday Visa):

  1. Check your Eligibility: If you are aged between 18 and 30 and are from Australia, New Zealand or Canada you are eligible to apply for the Youth Mobility visa as long as this is your first time. Other eligibility requirements include but are not limited to a savings amount the equivalent of £1890.00.
  2. Pick a DATE: you need to be very sure when you are travelling, the application can only be submitted 6 months prior to your travel and arrival dates. Researching flight dates and travel costs for different times throughout the year will help you to make a better decision on when it is best for you to leave and then give you a time frame, websites to check out for some great travel deals include: Skyscanner, Student Flights, Cheap, Expedia and Flight Centre. You also need to keep in mind that you will be required to pick up your BRP within a certain time frame after your nominated date of entry.
  3. Research locations for initial accommodation: It is important to note that pre booking initial accommodation where possible or at least narrowing down a specific area or hostel will save you time and effort later during the visa application. This is also important for the move itself finding somewhere cheaper but central to where you need to go in those first few weeks will make your transition to London much smoother.
  4. Head to the website to complete the APPLICATION FORM but first read the guidance notes: Its important to make sure you read these and collect any of the supporting documents you need in advance of completing the application, these things include making sure you passport has a free page and that it has more than 6 months left on it – this saves you having to renew it while abroad, a bank letter with proof of savings (£1890.00) details of your parents full names and birth dates + cities etc. There is also the option of completing the application via the Gov.UK portal at the end of the Visa overview. A few things to keep in mind when completing the application: You do not require sponsorship for this visa no details are necessary for any questions relating to this. Picking a post code to pick up your BRP is important you do not want to be travelling half way across London to an obscure post office to get this, knowing where you will be staying initially or at least having an idea of this will help narrow down your preference for pick up. Know when you can book yourself in for interview dates ahead of time, the quicker you can finalise the Biometrics interview the less time you will have to spend on travelling (especially if you don’t live near a bigger city). Have your funds ready for payment!
  5. Pay your Application fee and Healthcare Surcharge: The application cost is an upfront payment for the processing of your application and currently costs £244.00 and is generally non refundable, you will then need pay your healthcare surcharge as part of the application. The cost for this has gone up in the past year to £300.00 per year of your visa, you must pay up front for the two years your Visa last bringing the total to £600.00 altogether. The healthcare surcharge entitles you to the use of the NHS and GP services in the UK and it works similar to Medicare and bulk billing in that you will not be charged for visits to them but will have to pay for scripts. The scripts however are capped in pricing so they are affordable. Should you wish to process your application quicker or have your passport returned directly to your residence once the application has been approved you can opt to pay for the premium and priority service at the end of your application as well.
  6. Book in for your Biometric Interview: This is when you will take the hard copy of your application along with supporting documents that are needed and will have your Biometrics taken for your BRP card, this will include fingerprints and photos.
  7. Send your application: Now it is a waiting game most decisions come back between 4-6 weeks sometimes earlier and sometimes a little slower unless you have previously paid for priority service.
  8. YOU’VE BEEN APPROVED: You will be notified via email and or letter of your approval, this letter will also confirm your visa number and the date your visa will commence, it should explain also which post office you need to pick up your BRP from along with the dates it will be available.
  9. Book your FLIGHTS: if you haven’t booked already this is the best time to get this underway, when booking flights it is important to make sure that you are arriving either on the date you put down as your entry date into the UK or within a 10 day period of that date. You have 10 days from your entry date in most cases to pick up your biometrics so it is very important that you are getting in to London within this time frame.
  10. ENTER THE UK: Your trip has begun make sure to pick up your BRP within 10 days of your entry date, one last thing to keep in mind treat your BRP card as precious this is your ACTUAL visa and is what will allow you to travel freely in and out of the country along with your right to work. Its is the size of  a licence but remember not to take it out with you while out on the town.

Check in again soon for our next installment on how to pack your life into a 27 KG suitcase.