Monday, 26 September 2011

Visa application submitted 19th September

Hi All,

Just back home today after a busy couple of weeks in Thailand.  We finally submitted my wife's settlement visa application on 19th September.  The on-line submission and appointment is relatively straight forward so I'll keep this one (reasonably) short.

On-line Application Process

Basically the on-line visa applications are filled in by going to this website  Firstly I printed off a rough paper version of the settlement form from the UKBA website and went through it with my wife to make sure I had all the relevant answers.  I actually started the process about a week before I left the UK and filled in the form on behalf of my wife.  The on-line form is pretty much (if not identical to) the paper form.  It also allows you to save your application before submission and then go back to complete it but you must log-in within seven days or you'll have to start a fresh application.  I basically signed into the almost completed form on the first day when I arrived in LOS and printed it out when it was completed.  I did it this way because I needed to make an appointment for the second week of my trip but the system only allows you to book appointments so many days in advance (a week), hence the reason I couldn't simply complete it all and book an appointment from the UK.

Booking Appointments to Submit Supporting Documents and Payment

When you reach the point on the form where it is complete, you are then prompted to print a copy which must be signed and submitted with the supporting documents folder.  You are then also prompted to make an appointment to submit the supporting documents.  This is done by clicking on a link to the VFS website.  To book an appointment you need the spouse's passport number which you'll have anyway.  When we booked there were many appointments available for later the same week, but none available on a next day basis which may be worth considering if you have limited time.  When the appointment is booked you print out the confirmation which will show the VFS office address and contact details.
We booked an appointment for 10.00am and arrived at Regent House at around 09.30 because we had to arrange a bank draught for the payment.  VFS do not accept cash but there is a bank downstairs where we obtained our bankers draught made out to "British Embassy Bangkok" for the 40,500thb fee.  I believe you can pay by card too when you complete the form on-line but I won't comment on that because it's not the way we wanted to go.
So we made our way upstairs at 10.00am and although busy, it wasn't a scrum.  I had to wait outside whilst my wife went in and I nervously waited around for about 30mins.  Janny then came out looking stressed and said we had to reprint the form because something was missing.  I looked through it and couldn't see anything wrong but they mentioned something about the signature page.  I still don't know exactly what the issue was but I think the page had not printed correctly and also my wife signed it in English and she was told to print and sign again in Thai.  The staff let me inside for around 10mins to reprint the paper before I was basically told to get out lol.
Anyway a while later after Janny had her biometrics done and paid the courier fee to send back the original folder to Phuket (we submitted a separate folder of copies to be retained by the Embassy), she came out and had calmed down a little.  My wife was given a receipt with a reference number which is used for tracking the application through the VFS website and it also says the receipt must be given to the courier on receipt of her passport when the decision has been made.

That was pretty much it.  In total we were at the VFS building for almost two hours.  We then flew down to Phuket later that afternoon.  A few hours after submission Janny received a text to say the folder had gone to the Embassy.  Now it's just a waiting game and I'll keep checking the website every other day to check the status.  The lady at VFS told my wife "4 weeks if quickly, 60 days if slowly".  However I've seen a few quick responses recently of around two weeks but I'm not trying to think about it too much.

It's gonna be a long first day back at work tomorrow that's for sure.



  1. Thanks for the update Steve. I know it's hard coming home, but I'm sure it won't be long before you're welcoming your wife to England!

    Did you have a wedding ceremony in the end? I know the monks were in retreat for lent so they couldn't come out of the temple.

    All the best,


  2. Hi mate,

    No we didn't do the village ceremony in the end. Well not what we wanted to do anyway. We basically just had some drinks and food with the close family and they did the "white thread thing". After we were told the monks wouldn't come we decided it would be too much of a compromise to just have a party. Probs worked out better anyway because it meant the money we saved we could spend more on the studio photos, help Janny's mother out with a few things and just relax about cash a little more. I'm sure we'll do something the next time we're over and have the cash to do it properly.
    I'm going to do a separate post on the studio photos because there's not much else I can write about now until we receive the decision.


  3. Good luck, I hope all goes well.

    Late last month after suffering the loss of one of my parents at short notice and the problems of getting different visas for us both, in different countries at short notice for a rushed trip to Australia my wife and I decided to change our stance on her getting a spousal visa.

    Although our application was somewhat "different" to your own as my wife already had a specical dispensation multiple entry tourist visa that we received in December and has travelled to the UK 6 times in the past 4 years we still submitted the "basics", although as I am a non resident for tax purposes we required documentation and gaurantees from my employers and accountants and more fiscal details than standard bank statements and housing details (I work in India and Asia 3 weeks out of every 8 and live on a yacht so no fixed address). We submitted the application on Wednesday 8th September and received verification of the visa on the 15th, my wife arrived in the UK on the 18th and pretty much walked straight the immigration at Heathrow.

  4. Thanks Lloyd,

    Firstly sorry to hear of your loss.

    That's a quick turn around. I've heard of another recently that was accepted within 5 working days and at least three others of around 2 weeks. Based on that I'm hoping to hear something sooner rather than later.
    Just out of interest, as a non resident how did you address the accommodation requirement. Also which English test did your wife include? Each case is obviously different so it's interesting to see anothers approach.


  5. Steve

    I have a 20 mtr yacht in Portsmouth that is UK registered (VAT paid) and has been at the same marina for 5 years, I had also previously made an agreement with the UK Border agency through my solicitors on a financial undertaking in London in 2010 when we obtained the 5 year multiple entry tourist visa under an EEA dispensation (I work for Credit Suisse and required a shengen visa for my wife previously). Our intention is to get an apartment in London but we wanted to look for something together. My wife previously did a BULATS exam in 2008 and TOEIC in 2010, we submitted the TOEIC exam results as they looked better ;-)

    Looking at the visa itself it was granted on the 12th so it looks like the Embassy is working hard to get applications processed. My wife was also granted immediate leave to remain indefinitely based on her having holidayed and studied in the UK for more than 2 years which was kewl as it saved any issues with travelling for extended periods should I be transfered back to Asia again.

  6. Lloyd, sorry to hear about your loss

  7. Hi Steve,

    I am in the same situation that you were, although I am in the UK. I am planning to go over to Thailand on the 23rd of December to submit the prepared application and supporting documents, returning on the 3rd.

    From reading you blog, I think it will be OK, but is this enough time to get everything done?

    By the way, your blog is a fantastic resource for those in my situation; thanks.



  8. Hi Rob,

    So long as everything is put together and you are able to schedule a suitable appointment at VFS then you should be ok. To speed things up I started filling in my wifes online application at home before I left for Thailand and saved it before completion. I then just finished it off in Thailand and printed it out.

    I would also be aware of the Christmas holidays at VFS detailed in the following link:-

    Good luck

  9. Thanks Steve,

    I've just booked my flights, so no going back now!

    Despite my supporting evidence not yet being complete, I am thinking of completing the VFS application tomorrow, in order to secure a suitable appointment. It would be a nightmare to leave it too late, and find out that we cannot get one during the time that I am over there.

    Fingers crossed,


  10. Hi Rob,

    There may not be any advantage in completing the application so early. The reason being, when we completed my wifes online app, the VFS system would only allow appointments to be booked no more than a week in advance. If that is still the case, which I believe it is, you may have to wait until just before you leave for Thailand until you can book an appointment to submit your supporting documents.
    You can however start to fill in the application online and simply save it as you go without completing it. Each time you log in and save it, the application remains on the system for another 7 days. If you don't log-in and save again within that 7 days you will have to start a fresh application.