Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Visa Application

A boring post about applying for the new visa.

We are now within the last 28 days of my current visa before it expires and I can now apply for the new visa which is ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’.  There are at least five options for applying and I’ll briefly explain each.

  1. Complete the application form myself and submit it along with all the required supporting documentation.  Pay the standard non refundable application fee of £1050.  The time for the application to be approved/rejected can be up to 10 months and during that time the UKBA will have my passport meaning I can’t travel overseas.  The risk with this option is if there is something wrong or incomplete with the application it will be rejected and the fee will be forfeited.
  2. Complete the application form myself and submit it along with all the required supporting documentation using the UKBA 24 hour processing service.  This must be done attending an appointment at one of a small number of locations.  The fee is approximately £1350.  These risks are the same as Option 1 but more money is at risk.  Moreover, it is difficult to obtain an appointment (they are booked online) because middlemen are booking them in bulk and then scalping them for a profit to the likes of me!  The only advantage over Option 1 is the application is processed within 24 hours.
  3. Use an immigration agent/service to manage the application.  No doubt they will get it right but it is the most expensive of all the options.
  4. Complete the application form and supporting documents myself and submit it using a Settlement Checking Service (fee £80-85) who will check the application before it is submitted to the UKBA.  This costs more than Option 1 but less than Option 2.  Moreover, if there is something wrong with the application it will be found before the £1050 fee is paid.
  5. Don’t bother to apply for the visa.  Save the money… Come and find me!  Wait for the amnesty or hand myself in for a free ticket back downunder if/when we decide to leave the UK.  Cheapest option but with a risk I might be found.

After considering all the options we’ve gone with Option 4.  It’s actually a late choice because I didn’t realise some local government authorities were accredited by the UKBA to offer such a service.  The advantages of using the service are that they will check the application for the £80-85 fee before we make the £1050 visa payment.  They will also make copies of all the documents returning the originals to us (including passports).  The processing of the application by the UKBA should also be faster because it will already have been checked by the accredited Settlement Service official.  We’ve booked an appointment with the Manchester Checking Service.

I approach officialdom on the basis that they are very busy and the last thing they want is an application which is poorly presented requiring them to “work their way through it”.  If the application is professionally presented then I believe it’s more likely to receive prompt approval.  So I’ve purchased an A4 plastic folder, some clear plastic A4 envelopes, and ten A4 cardboard partitions.

The visa application (35 pages!) and the supporting documents have gone into the plastic envelopes which are in the folder.  They are separated by the cardboard partitions which are alphabetically numbered in sequence.  The application has a front cover page which is an index to the documents.

Once the visa is granted (note how positive I am!) it will mean I will be eligible to apply for a UK passport after five years……

provided I am not reported for passing boats above tick-over or mooring on water points! Smile


Halfie said...

There can be few applicants more obviously suitable for acceptance. May it all go well for you.

Catherine VK4GH said...

Is this visa only for people with a British spouse? or for anyone who has some type of visa to stay longer than the usual tourist visa? Catherine

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Catherine, There are a number of visa options depending on the individual circumstances. Mine is Form M (British spouse).

Halfie, I do have the fallback option.... Find me! :-)

Clive said...

We Brits are so cheap! Our friend has just coughed up 60 grand to stay in Oz with his family: $50,000 for a permanent visa plus a $10,000 bond to be returned in ten years - when he is 91. So good luck with yours.

Tom and Jan said...

Unfortunately the UK isn't "cheap". The visa application requires financial evidence that we can support ourselves without recourse to public funds. Most developed countries appear to be doing a very similar thing!