Hello my friends!
I say that visas are a necessary evil because we need them in order to go to certain destinations. (If you are a person with a double citizenship, and may not require a visa, then you are a very lucky person.) For most people in South America, and in the Unites States, it is necessary to apply for a student visa. Today I will talk about the UK visa and the Schengen Visa. It is almost Christmas and I will go to Spain and France, but in order to do that I had to go through the whole application process in order to get my visas and travel to my dream destinations!
The process of getting your visa can be a long process, so make sure you have all of the necessary documents and that you are ready to attend the interview. It can be expensive as well, however, I can tell you that once you get the visa, and you travel, and see the people you have been waiting to see for months, then you know it is worth it.
By coming to the University of Surrey, I realized how easy it is to travel around the UK and Europe. In comparison to Latin American countries or the United States where there are very limited options of transportation, and it can be a lot more expensive to travel. In the U.S it is cheaper to travel by car, but it takes more time. In South America there are no trains between countries, and traveling by plane can be very expensive. In the UK and in Europe the distances are shorter, it is easier to travel around, and the transportation costs are less. I love being in Surrey because it gives me the opportunity to travel to my top destinations in Europe and in the UK.
I decided to go to Europe to spend this year’s Christmas and New Years with friends that live there. So I had to worry about getting the Schengen Visa and making sure everything with my UK visa was settled.
About UK Visa:
Make sure you pick up your BRP-British Residence Permit, because that becomes your permanent visa. You will need that, and the UK entry visa in your passport, in order to re-enter the UK after your holiday travels.
If there is a problem with your application or your documents, then do not worry. The University of Surrey has a student support centre where they go through the process with you. They guide you through the process, and make sure you have everything you need. The Student Support Centre is where you can get formal letters if you need them. (This is where you can get the formal letter to open a bank account, and a formal letter to get the Schengen Visa.)
You will most likely have the Tier 4 General Student Visa.
You can learn all about this visa at: https://www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/overview
You can learn all about the UK visa Application process at: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/currentstudents/visa/outside/
You can learn more about the Student Support Services at: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/international
About Schengen visa:
Since I will be spending most of my holiday vacation in France, then I applied for the Schengen visa in the French consulate in London.
In this case this is their website: https://fr.tlscontact.com/gb/lon/index.php
Start the application process by registering and filling out a questionnaire online.
After the questionnaire you select a date and time for the interview where you have to present the documents and pay for the application.
After you select a time and date for your interview, then you are able to see a full list of documents that you will need to show at the consulate. Make sure you have all of these documents, in order, and an original copy as well as a copy of each. Make sure that the hotel and plane tickets have your name on them.
- For your interview, pick a time in the afternoon, so you do not have to go to London by train during peak time. (I had to choose a Thursday at 10am. So I had to take the train from Guildford to London at 8:30am, which is considered peak time.) Only because it was during peak time, I had to pay a little more for my train ticket. You can avoid this extra cost by selecting a later time for your interview.
- There are a number of different fees that you will have to pay in order to get the visas. In my case I had to get a student health insurance in order to be able to get the UK Visa. And I had to buy my own travel health insurance in order to be covered in Europe. You will also have to take pictures, which in Guildford might cost around £7. My advice is to prepare around £80-£100 for the Schengen Visa, and around $400 for the UK visa. (These prices are an estimate. Might change based on location and time.)
- Do not forget to apply early, be patient, and have all of the necessary documents, and attend your interview with a positive mind!
Remember that even though it is a long process, it is one that is worth it!
I hope you find this information useful in order to go through your Visa application process.
Next week I will write about the wonderful cities I visited in the UK by doing day trips, and later on about my Holiday Vacations in Europe.
Thank you for reading, have a wonderful week my friends!