Europe United Kingdom

How to Apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa (2024)

As someone who has successfully obtained a UK Standard Visitor Visa twice, I understand the challenges that come with the application process. Having gone through it in 2018 and again in 2022, I can offer some insights and tips to help make the process smoother for you. Both of my applications were approved, so read on to know what worked for me.

When did you apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa?

I applied for my UK visa in 2018, with a departure date just 15 business days away. Despite the tight timeline, I was able to secure an appointment for March 7th, the earliest slot available on the online application website of the UK Embassy. Fortunately, my application was approved in just 7 business days, allowing me to travel as planned. However, when I applied for my UK Standard Visitor Visa in 2022, the process took over two months to get the result. It was a nerve-wracking experience, and I really thought I would miss my flight.

*The earliest date you can apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa is 3 months from your intended travel date. 

The Standard Visitor visa is usually for multiple entries and is valid for up to 6 months. You may use this visa in the United Kingdom, which is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What documents did you submit for a UK Standard Visitor Visa?

  1. Cover Letter (sample cover letter)
  2. Completed online visa application form
  3. Valid passport (validity must be at least 6 months from the intended departure date)
  4. Previous passport + used/valid visas
  5. Proof of earnings (Certificate of Employment and latest ITR)
  6. Proof of funds (6 months bank statements and a bank certificate)
  7. Other financial documents (a copy of my VUL insurance policy and retirement savings plan statement)
  8. Trip itinerary (sample itinerary)
  9. Hotel reservation (details of where I will be staying during my visit)
  10. Travel History (details of my travel history for the past 5 years – sample travel history)
  11. Approved Leave Letter from my employer (sample letter)
  12. VFS Global Appointment letter (proof you’re submitting your documents on the right day).
my UK Visa woohoo!

How to Apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa?

Step 1 – Know your visa type

Check this link to know your visa type and if you need a visa. A Standard Visitor Visa is for those who want to visit the UK on holiday or to see family and friends, study (up to 30 days only), take part in sports or creative events, do academic research or receive private medical treatment. Please note this visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months.

Please also visit this link to learn more about the UK Tourist Visa Requirements.

Step 2 – Complete your Application Account online

This is the website to fill out your online visa application form. Once registered, check your email to verify your account.  

Summary of the information you need for online application:

  • Travel dates to the UK
  • Hotel address and telephone number in the UK
  • Annual income and other source of income (savings and investment)
  • Total estimated cost for the trip (airfare, accommodation and living expenses)
  • Present home address and how many years you’ve lived there
  • Parents’ names, birth place, and dates of birth
  • Family or friends in the UK
  • Travel history for the past 10 years
  • Employer details including the address and telephone number
  • Criminal, civil or immigration offences your might have committed

*Be honest with your application and always input complete and accurate information as there is no interview for a UK Tourist Visa. If you aren’t sure about something, you can skip them and continue. Make sure to go back to the item you skipped to iron out all the details. Also, always save your progress.

Step 3 – Schedule an appointment and pay application fee

At the end of the online application, choose your desired application date and pay the application fee. A Standard Visitor visa costs 129 USD, which is valid for up to 6 months (single or multiple entry). For Long-term Standard Visitor visa, the fee is 484 USD (2 years), 862 USD (5 years) and 1,077 USD (10 years).

Step 4 – Attend your appointment at the UK Visa Centre (VFS Global)

There is only one thing you need to accomplish on your appointment date – biometrics (fingerprints and photo). Original documents are no longer required since you have already submitted the scanned version online. There is no need to prepare a UK Visa Passport Photo as this is not required.

This is the address of VFS Global in the Philippines:
VFS Global Services Philippines Private Inc.,
Mezzanine Floor Unit M01, Ecoplaza Building,
2305 Chino Roces Avenue Extension Makati City, Metro Manila 1231

Step 5 – Wait for the visa application result

Since the standard TAT is 15 business days, I was tempted to avail the Priority Visa Service, which aims to process applications within 3-5 working days. Aside from the fact that I hate waiting, my flight was scheduled on March 28, 2018, which was exactly 15 business days from my appointment date. This service costs around 10,000 pesos and does not guarantee approval. So, I decided against it and just prayed that I will be granted a UK Tourist Visa! Thank God I was approved in just 7 business days!

On the application day, you have an option to avail the SMS service (150 pesos), which will provide the status of your application. I’ve read other blogs saying there is also an email service for free but i did not get any emails from VFS Global.

Step 6 – Collect your passport at the UK Visa Centre (VFS Global)

Once a decision is made, you will receive an email or text saying ‘The decision on your UK Visa Application has been made”. You may collect your passport personally at the VFS Global office or wait for your passport to arrive if you availed the courier service.

Please visit this link to know more about VFS Global Philippines‘ Premium Services for UK Visa.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much bank balance is required for a UK visitor visa?

There is no fixed amount required for a UK visitor visa application. However, you should show that you have enough funds to cover your trip. The amount can vary depending on your itinerary and length of stay. Make sure that your budget fits your itinerary.

For example, I indicated in my application that the cost of this trip is £1,000 (around 74,000 pesos) but I have £1,300 (around 96,000 pesos). The cost of airfare, accommodation and other living expenses in the application should total to £1,000. (create your own budget breakdown that matches your itinerary. Do not copy this blindly)

Is a flight ticket required for a UK visa?

You do not need to purchase a flight ticket before applying for a UK visitor visa. However, you should provide proof of your travel plans, such as a confirmed flight reservation, trip itinerary, and hotel reservation.

How early can I apply for a UK visitor visa?

You can apply for a UK visitor visa up to 3 months before your planned travel date. It is recommended to apply well in advance to allow for processing time.

Is there an interview for a UK tourist visa?

There is no standard interview for a UK tourist visa. However, you may be interviewed as part of the application process if the visa officer deems it necessary.

Is UK visitor visa difficult to get?

The difficulty of obtaining a UK visitor visa can vary depending on individual circumstances. Generally, if you meet the requirements and provide all the necessary documents, the process is straightforward.

Can US citizens travel to the UK without a visa?

Yes, US citizens can travel to the UK for short visits (up to 6 months) without a visa. However, you will need to obtain a visa if you plan to work, study, or live in the UK for an extended period.

Do we need a cover letter for a visitor visa in the UK?

Yes, it is advisable to include a cover letter with your UK visitor visa application. The cover letter should briefly introduce yourself, explain the purpose of your visit, outline your travel itinerary, and provide any additional information that may support your application. While not mandatory, a well-written cover letter can help to clarify your intentions and strengthen your application.

    Planning a trip to the UK? Check out London’s best hotels below!

    Pan Pacific London
    80 Houndsditch, The City, London, United Kingdom

    209 Earls Court Road, Chelsea, London, United Kingdom

    The Resident Covent Garden (formerly The Nadler Covent Garden)
    51 Bedford Street, West End Soho, London, United Kingdom

    Redchurch Townhouse
    25 Whitby Street Shoreditch, Tower Hamlets, London, United Kingdom

    The Lincoln Suites
    37-39 Kingsway, Bloomsbury, London, United Kingdom

    So, that’s about it! I don’t want this guide to look like a research paper so I hope this post will be easy to understand. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to comment down below! Good luck!

    By Project Gora

    Hey there! My name is Milet Miranda, and I'm a full-time corporate employee during weekdays and a traveler during weekends (and get the picture). I'm a foodie at heart and I love joining food tours. When I'm not traveling, you'll find me walking my dogs or biking around my neighborhood.

    15 replies on “How to Apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa (2024)”

    Hello! Did you submit a TB test result for your visa application? I also heard that NBI Clearance is also required, is it true? Thank you.

    hi! i am currently uploading my documents online and i was wondering, if i will be traveling with a parent, do i need to upload their bank statements? and would you know what other documents will be strong enough for the approval of my tourist visa? thanks!

    Hey Skye. Are your parents funding the trip? If yes, you have to upload their financial documents as well. You can explain this in your cover letter and that you have attached their bank statements /certificates as supporting documents.

    This is really helpful. Thanks! I was just wondering, during your visa application, did you immediately include flight and hotel tickets as part of the requirements, or will the itinerary suffice prior to visa approval? The GOV UK website doesn’t seem to mention any proof of flight and hotel tickets, but just the itinerary.

    Hello Kaya! Yes, I did. They are not mandatory but since I already have those available, I included them in my application.

    I appreciate your detailed and informative comment on the process of applying for a UK Standard Visitor Visa. Your personal experiences from 2018 and 2022 provide valuable insights into the timeline variations one might encounter. The step-by-step breakdown, along with tips like being honest in your application and preparing a realistic itinerary, is incredibly helpful for anyone planning to embark on this journey. It’s reassuring to hear that the process, while long and somewhat expensive, is manageable with careful preparation. Your advice to match your budget breakdown to your itinerary is especially practical. Thank you for sharing your wisdom; it’s sure to benefit many prospective UK visitors.

    Hello! Thank you for this. How many days did your £1k lasts? I’m planning to travel next year just for a week tour, to watch a football game. I wonder if my £2k worth of bank account will be enough. 😅

    Hello Angie. £1k was just an estimate. When I visited the UK for 9 days last November, I spent around 1,500 which already included flights and tours (Everything Harry Potter related). Hope this helps!

    Hi i just want to ask for the bank cert, what address did you put?
    Embassy of UK?
    Thank you so much

    Hello. Yes, it should be addressed to the UK Embassy in the Philippines.

    Hi, thanks for the informative guide for UK application. I have a concern on the documents, should i still bring all the hard copies if i already uploaded everything on the vfs website? Or is it only for applicants who availed the scanning service? If yes even if uploaded, how many more copies and should it be all in A4 size?

    Hello Joy. No need to bring the documents to VFS once uploaded in the website.

    Comments are closed.