The costs and process of moving to the UK

The Tier 2 (General) visa appointment

In this chapter I’ll detail:

Note that the information here is:

  • Specific to our unique circumstances
  • Reflective of the rules, policies, and requirements, as of the time of our original application for a Tier 2 (General) visa back in 2015; if we are aware of any changes since, it will be called out

If you are planning to apply for, or currently are in the process of applying for a Tier 2 (General) visa then you must refer to the official guidance released by the UK Government at the page for Tier (2) General visas. If you are considering other immigration routes (such as coming to visit as a tourist, or to study, etc) then you can find the official guidance of the UK Government at this visas and immigrations page for all the routes.

Booking the appointment

After paying for and submitting the visa application, we selected a date and timeslot for our visa application appointment. The earliest date and time that was convenient for us was on 18 May 2015 at 0710H in the morning – two days after the application submission.

The appointment was at the VFS Global Visa Application Center Philippines. VFS Global is the local partner of UKVI handling visa appointments.

Appointment process

The process itself on the day of the appointment was smooth and straightforward. We arrived ten minutes before our timeslot with all of the required documents needed for the application. Our photo and biometrics were then taken digitally, and after that our appointment was over. It took less than 30 minutes in total.

Issues with biometrics

Fingerprint Biometrics Capture

On 22 May 2015 – a few days after the appointment – a representative from VFS contacted me via the phone informing me that they had issues with the capture of my biometrics and that I needed to do it again.

They mentioned that it was not as straightforward as just going back to the centre to get it reprocessed – I was told that I needed to resubmit my application (paying the £1,128.00 visa application fee once more) and to book for another visa appointment. The original fee I paid will be refunded to me a few days later.

On the same day I filed a complaint directly with the Home Office regarding the visa centre’s mishandling of my biometrics, requesting them to give higher priority to my application as the delay was due to the centre’s error. It was also not explained why I had to resubmit the application, but at the time we were already under great pressure to get the process completed, so I went straight ahead and resubmitted (and again paid) the application on 22 May 2015, for an appointment on 26 May 2015 (which was a Tuesday; it was the earliest date available at the time of booking). We knew this error by the centre could potentially cause significant delays so after escalating the concern with VFS, they’ve exceptionally moved our appointment to Monday 25 May 2015.

This mistake by the centre had real impacts on us, as by then we were already burning through the credit limits on our card. At the time the centre were unable to confirm when the refund of the original fees will be made, further adding to the uncertainty the entire visa application process brings. The complaint we made to the Home Office was eventually responded to by the centre, acknowledging the concerns raised, and expediting the release of the refund.

The refund for the original appointment was approved on 28 May 2015 and the money arrived back to my account shortly after.

A word of warning

Note that in the UK, only OISC-registered immigration advisers can legally give immigration advice. While I hope that I can give you an idea of what the process entails given the recounting here of my experiences, be mindful that this is specific to my case and may not necessarily apply to you or to anyone else.

Immigration law is exceedingly complex. As I am not an immigration adviser and that the strategy we’ve taken in our applications is bespoke to my and my partner’s route and unique state of affairs, the information here is not and should not be constituted as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding your particular circumstances, it is best that you reach out to a qualified immigration adviser who can assess your situation and provide open and honest guidance tailored to your case.

If you decide to do this and seek guidance and/or support from a solicitor (especially if you know that your scenario is a complex one), you must protect yourself from fraud1 by ensuring that you only go to an OISC-registered immigration adviser.

If there are any problems with this page, be it in terms of factual inaccuracies, mistakes in spelling or grammar, technical website issues — anything at all — I would truly appreciate it if you let me know here so that I can get it corrected.

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