Monday, 26 September 2011
Visa application submitted 19th September
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 http://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/ 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.