Visa

Latin America

Peru (Tier 4 – Diego Mendez Quiroz)

As a Peruvian who received the confirmation of his scholarship Beca del Presidente de la República on September 8, I managed to get my visa, pack my luggage, book my flights, and successfully move to Glasgow by September 25. Yes, it was a true Crusade. And like most “medieval” expeditions, it was very expensive.

For Peruvians, who wish to apply for a UK visa, the only way to do so is by the VFS centre in Lima. The UK Embassy in Lima does not process visa applications. I chose the TIER4 because of the NHS coverage and because it allowed part time work. It is considerably more expensive than the short-term student visa.

The process is fairly simple: You must first fill in the online form, book an appointment at the visa application centre and pay the NHS and visa fees. You must then pay at the NHS website the priority service fee. After that, you may go the next day at 3pm and simply pay for the walk in without an appointment service. This needs to be in cash. You will then need to scan all the required documents necessary for the visa (i.e. CAS, acceptance letter, proof of funds, degree, etc.). They will be scanned and returned to you within a few minutes. All documents must be in A4 format. After that, you will need money to pay for your passport to be sent to your hometown and for the insurance (in case it gets lost). This also needs to be in cash. Finally, you will need to submit your biometrics and leave your passport.

The total amount for my visa was around 2000 USD. This includes the flight tickets from Arequipa to Lima, NHS surcharge, priority service, walk in without an appointment service, delivery of my passport via DHL, insurance for the passport in case it was lost, SMS notifications and finally the price of the visa itself. The whole process took about 7 working days. This is only if you need your visa within the next few days, like I did. Otherwise, I would not recommend following my steps.

Colombia (Tier 4 – Laura Murcia)

It’s important for you to know that in the case of Colombia, we don’t apply directly in the Embassy. The UK Government use an agency (VSF Global) for this procedure… so I’ll tell you my story by steps and I’ll give you some FAQs according to my experience

  1. Check our two options (Tier 4 or Short Term) I decided to go after Tier4 because I follow the information on my CAS and the dates, and also because it allow me to stay 2 years in the UK and work (20 hours)  Here is the info, general info, about the Tier 4 https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa
  2. After you decide you have to book and appointment, I follow the instructions in the VSF webpage, they’re really useful and you can found it in English and Spanish http://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/colombia/English/how_to_apply.html
  3. Documents to provide. I follow this check list (a friend share it to me) http://www.bbk.ac.uk/downloads/visa-documents/tier-4-application-checklist.pdf but in the process I found this one, which is quite useful too https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/international/immigration/tier4/applying/entryclearance/tier_4_ec_checklist_-_final.pdf
  4. In the VSF center they took you the photo and your fingerprints, the thing is to be punctual and have all the documents (TIP: I usually made 2 envelopes one with the original and another with the copies, that really help me when ask them separately)
  5. Appointment day: I arrive early, and one of the things that you should be aware is that you’re going to have a little interview with someone in UK, so I explain to this person why I choose the program, why the university and I told them than after my studies I want to come back to Colombia.

Document TIPS

  1. If you’re Colombian, you don’t have to do a tbt exam. However, take in account that ALL THE DOCUMENTS must be translated in English (use an official translator).
  2. BANK RECORDS: take your time to ask for them, but ALWAYS use the most recent ones (less than a month, or a month maximum).
  3. If you have the scholarship, it’s a great thing but I also use a letter from my parents saying that they’ll cover any cost or expenses during my stay in the UK if I need it. This letter has to be registered in a Notary and include banks certificates too.
  4. If you’re working include your job certificate.
  5. When you’re filling your application PUT THE EXACT INFORMATION that the university send in the CAS, use the direction of the university (in case you don’t have an accommodation settled).

Processing Time:

  1. My papers arrive in 2 and a half weeks after my appointment (really quick, but it usually takes a month)

Costs:

  1. I pay for the visa fee 343GBP and 384GBP for the health insurance, in total the visa cost me 727GBP (around 1.200USD) an amount that you can only pay by credit card (so watch for interest rates)

Tips:

  1. Be patient, you’ll have it, as a good friend says to me… “you’ll feel that you’re not going to make it, that’s too much paperwork but hey you manage to enter to the university that’s not easy and you’re a lucky person who has the opportunity to experience life beyond our borders, so be happy embrace this stress because at the end it always worth it”
  2. Collect all your documents before making the application (at least the 90% of them) you’ll avoid stress, trust me
  3. Follow the instructions their website is clear
  4. When you’re making your application ALWAYS use the info in your passport