Thursday, November 14, 2013

UK work visa: a couple of answers

St. Andrews Cathedral, Scotland

As we settle in her and begin to explore, there are many things I'd like to blog about. However, I think I'm going to start with a brief post about the thing I searched for when I first found out we would be moving to the UK, which was...VISAS. Getting a visa from the UK government was not exactly a transparent process. It worked out fine at the end, but the things I wish I'd known are the following:
  1. Yes, your visa might take up to 12 weeks to be issued and the "average" visa processing time might be 4 weeks. BUT it could happen much faster. Like approved for all four of us, 2 adults and 2 children, in 5 business days. 
  2. Related to that, if you are going on a limited-time work visa, you are allowed to be the UK for 4 weeks around your start/end dates. On your visa application, you have to specify the date you will travel.  Of course, they tell you NOT to book your plane tickets until you have the visa, so it's really just a guess of how long it'll take to process the visa application. Given our experience of getting visas almost immediately, and then being unable to travel for 3 weeks until the visa was valid, I recommend assuming the best and asking for a travel date (aka visa start date) that you would like - like 2 weeks in advance of your work start date - even if it doesn't seem feasible that the visa will come through that fast. You may be surprised.
  3. Also, after you put in your visa application, you have to make an appointment to have biometric data taken  - despite having to make appointments on two different days, the biometric folks were able to accommodate us and take our information all on the same day so we could submit our visa applications together. It never hurts to ask. 
Good luck!  

No comments: