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UK visa FAQ

Applying for your UK visa can be a complicated process, but we try to make it as easy as possible. We’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions we receive about getting a UK visa.

  1. General questions
  2. Spouse (family of a settled person) visa
  3. Ancestry visa
  4. Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa
 

General questions

  1. What is the Immigration Health Surcharge and how much does it cost?
  2. What is a BRP card?
  3. How long do I have to collect my BRP card and where from?
  4. When should I start applying for my visa?
  5. How long will it take for my visa to be granted?
  6. What is the visa priority service and should I use it?
  7. May I travel outside of the UK once I have entered the country on my visa?
  8. Can I use certified documents to apply for my visa?

A. What is the Immigration Health Surcharge and how much does it cost?

The Immigration Health Surcharge lets certain visa holders in the UK access the National Health Service as though they were UK residents. All non-EEA nationals, including Australian and New Zealand citizens must pay this fee.

The health surcharge is £200 per year and the total charge is set by the length of time you are permitted to stay in the UK. Tier 5 applicants are only required to pay £150 per year due to the nature of the working holiday visa.

B. What is a BRP card?

A biometric residence permit (BRP) shows a person’s immigration status in the UK, their biographic details, biometric information as well as whether they can access public funds. You will be required to have this card as proof of your right to stay, work or study in the UK.

C. Where do I collect my BRP card and how long do I have to do so?

You must collect your BRP card within 10 days of your arrival in the UK or before your 30-day vignette expires, whichever is the later. If you fail to collect your BRP within this time, you may be subject to a fine or even the cancellation of your visa. You will need to pick up your BRP at the UK Post Office branch nearest to your intended UK address, as stated on your application form.

D. When should I start my visa application process?

We recommend that you begin working on your application 90 days before your intended date of arrival in the UK.

E. How long will it take for my visa to be granted?

UK visas can take anything from 10 days to three months to be granted after you have lodged your application with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Here are the issuing times for some of the most common visas:

  • Spouse visa: Two to three months
  • Ancestry visa: Two to four weeks

F. What is the visa priority service and should I use it?

UKVI offer a fast-track service that ensures your application will be processed within five days to three weeks, excluding postage time.

If you require your passport or documents that you submitted for your visa, then you may want to think about using the priority service to have these returned to you as soon as possible.

This service is available for an additional fee.

G. May I travel outside of the UK once I have entered the country on my visa?

You should allow at least 10 days in the UK to collect your BRP card before leaving the UK to travel elsewhere.

H. Can I use certified documents to apply for my visa?

No. The UK government requires that you submit the original documents for your application. If you fail to do this, your application will be delayed until the original certificates are provided.

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Spouse (family of a settled person) visa

  1. How much does the spouse visa cost?
  2. For how long do I need to be in a relationship to qualify for a spouse visa?
  3. How long can I live and work in the UK on a spouse visa?
  4. How much money do I need in my bank account in order to qualify for the spouse visa?

A. How much does the spouse visa cost?

UKVI currently charges an application fee of £1,195 for the spouse visa. 1st Contact Visas charges an additional fee, which will be quoted when you lodge your application with us.

B. For how long do I need to be in a relationship to qualify for a spouse visa?

If you can prove that you are married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen or UK settled person, or have been in a de facto relationship for more than two years, then you may apply for a spouse visa.

C. How long can I live and work in the UK on a spouse visa?

The spouse visa allows you to stay in the UK for 18 months. During that time, you may work without restriction, whether you’re employed or self-employed. You may also exit and re-enter the UK multiple times.

D. How much money do I need in my bank account in order to qualify for the spouse visa?

We suggest a minimum closing balance of AU$5,000 if you have multiple dependants. This should be your own money, and large sum deposits within the last three months will likely be questioned. If the money in your account is the result of the sale of an investment or asset, then proof of this sale should be supplied.

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Ancestry visa

  1. Do I need to have a job offer in the UK before I apply?
  2. Can I take family members with me?

A. Do I need to have a job offer in the UK before I apply?

You don't need to show that you have a job in the UK when you apply for an Ancestry visa, but you will need to show that you're looking for one. If you use our Visa services, we can provide you with a list of recruitment agencies to help you with this.

B. Can I take family members with me?

You can include a partner as well as child dependants (under the age of 18) on you Ancestry visa and travel with them should they need a visa to enter the UK.

To include your partner on the application, you must either have been married or living together in a relationship for at least two years directly prior to the application. Unmarried partners will be required to provide evidence of their relationship, including: Lease agreements, utility bills and bank statements.

Please note: Further requirements and visa fees will apply for partner/dependant applications.

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Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa

  1. Do I need a set amount of money in my bank account to apply for a Tier 5 visa?
  2. Do I have any other visa options when my Tier 5 expires?

A. Do I need a set amount of money in my bank account to apply for a Tier 5 visa?

You must have £1,890 (roughly AU$4,000 or NZ$4,300) in a bank account bearing your name when you apply.

B. Do I have any other visa options when my Tier 5 expires?

There are various visa categories you may switch to when your Tier 5 visa expires, depending on your work situation, family ties and whether you would like to apply from within the UK or return to your home country. You can read more about switching for the Tier 5 visa here.

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