Different policies have been put in place for every specific country that is applying for a visa to the United Kingdom. The Home Office very carefully considers the country of origin the applicant is applying for a visa from and it significantly effects the final decision made on the visa application. A visa application received by the Home Office from the United States, in reality, will be treated very differently than an application made from India. This is due to several factors irrespective of the character and intent of the applicant, such as the frequency of abuse of the visa by a specific country’s overall citizens in the past. The United Kingdom has recently adopted more strict measures because of the flow of illegal immigrants and visa holders who overstay and makes future decisions based on such incidents that have been happened in the past. Applicants from all countries are free to apply on any of the visa categories (such as London investor visa, UK startup visa, tier 1 business visa, tier one entrepreneur visa etc.) made available by the United Kingdom.
Below are the visa policies and procedures and regulations of specific countries that the applicant must keep in mind when applying from Nigeria.
Visa Procedure from Nigeria
The British Embassy that exists in Nigeria, where visa applications are submitted, is known as the British High Commission. The Consulate General that exists in Nigeria, which is responsible for maintaining relations with Nigeria, is known as British Deputy High Commission. This is due to Nigeria being a member of the commonwealth of countries, were embassies are referred to as High Commissions and the Consulates are referred to as Deputy High Commissions.
Changes that have been made to the Settlement Procedure for Nigeria based Applicants
The United Kingdom government, on the 5th of April in 2013, had made its intentions known to change the settlement procedure it had previously put in place in Nigeria. The Home Office, the department responsible for handling visa applications and immigration decisions in the United Kingdom announced that the following laws would be in effect in the following month:
The applicant must submit his biometric information, under the specifications of the United Kingdom, to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) at a time set in advance. The applicant must also bring the visa application form with him/her along with any annexes. The applicant is also required to provide the latest passport in his/her possession and a colored photograph. A certain amount of fee (that can be viewed online and is different for different categories) also has to be paid by the applicant.
After the applicant has submitted the biometric information as per requirement of the United Kingdom, the sponsor or the representative of the applicant must send the sponsor letter along with the rest of the application form which is now fully complete to the following address:
International Operations and Visas
United Kingdom Border Agency
PO BOX 3468
The sponsor is also required to submit a VFS reference along with a copy of the application form and a colored photograph. The sponsor is also required to provide any further documents that are believed to be submitted along with providing proof to the United Kingdom that proper accommodation arrangements have been made in advance. The sponsor should also specify a return address that has been stamped on the package containing the application form so if the application has to be returned, the Home Office has an address to send the package back to.
After the Home Office has come to a decision regarding the Nigeria-based visa application, it will send the passport or any relevant information depending on the decision to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) where the application for a visa was filed.
Why must the applicant submit visa application form and documents to VFS and what is the procedure when applying?
The VFS is the official partner of the British High Commission in Nigeria and operates as a separate and independent entity. It acts as a Visa Application Centre (VAC) requiring applicants to submit all relevant information and applications to its office. An applicant applying from Nigeria is not allowed to directly send the visa application form to the British High Commission and the Deputy High Commission as it will be refused for acceptance when received. This is to ensure applicants send the relevant documents to the entity that has been specifically assigned for this purpose.
Applicants applying from Nigeria are required to submit their documents in person at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) of his/her choosing. The Visa Application Center will require you to submit your fingerprints and take a photograph. This is required of all individuals applying and only a few categories of people are excluded from this procedure such as diplomats, United Nation (UN) officials and children who are under the age of 5. If you do not fall under any of these mentioned categories and you refuse to submit your biometric information to the Visa Application Center (VAC), your visa application will not be accepted.
Applicants applying from Nigeria must keep in mind that any related family members or partners also applying must make separate appointments to the Visa Application Center (VAC). They must also keep in mind that separate visa application forms will have to be separately submitted for each of the family partner or the partner applying.
When coming to the Visa Application Center (VAC), you must remember to bring along a filled and signed form including if it was printed online. You must also bring your current passport along and it must be valid at the time of applying and when entering the United Kingdom. The passport must have be valid for a further period of six months as a general requirement of the Home Office. It must also contain at least one page that is blank on each side so that the visa vignette might be placed in the form of a sticker if the visa application has been accepted.
If the applicant submitting his/her application to the Visa Application Center (VAC) is submitting the application under the points based system, then a filled out self-assessment form must be signed and the date mentioned.
Should I submit previous passports when applying for a United Kingdom visa?
Yes, you are required to submit any previous travel passports as evidence that you have travelled in the past. Also, it has a positive effect of on your visa application indicating to the Home Office that the applicant has travelled in the past and has not abused the conditions on previous travel.
Where should the visa application fee be paid?
The visa application fee can be paid at the Sterling Bank counter located at any Visa Application center (VAC) in Nigeria. The fee can also be paid at any branch of the Sterling Bank located in Nigeria.
What happens after my visa application has been submitted to VFS?
The VFS gives your visa application form further to the British High Commission that in Nigeria is situated in Abuja or forwards it the Deputy High Commission that is situated in Lagos. It is processed further there. The High Commission will process your application and make a decision as quick as it can and you will be asked to attend an interview, the time and date of which will be set in advance. But, a child under the age of ten will not be asked to take an interview alone. Children between the ages of ten to fourteen might be interviewed in the presence of their parent or guardian.
What happens if my visa application is successfully processed and my visa granted by the United Kingdom government?
After your UK Visa is granted by the United Kingdom government, the passport you showed will be supported along with a visa. The Visa Application Center will make sure our documents submitted for any clarification during the visa application process are returned.
What happens if my visa application is refused and my visa is not granted by the United Kingdom government?
If the Home Office refuses your request for a visa to the United Kingdom, a refusal notice will be issued that can be viewed by the applicant in the form of a document that he/she can receive from the Home Office. The Home Office will always provide a reason for refusing the applicant a visa to the United Kingdom and will make sure the applicant knows that he/she has the right to appeal the decision.
Applicants should know that the VFS does not have any authority to make a decision on the application process as it acts as an independent authority to assist the United Kingdom government to collect the applicant’s application. The VFS only forwards it to the relevant department of the government of the United Kingdom. The decision to refuse the applicant to enter the United Kingdom is made by Entry Clearance Officers who are government employees of the British High Commission.
How can I find about the fee structure of a United Kingdom visa application if I am an applicant from Nigeria?
Visa fee varies from category to category that the applicant is applying under, and to the British High Commission or the Deputy High Commission of the United Kingdom. The current fee in the local currency that the Nigerian national might be seeing is representative of the current exchange rate of the time the applicant is applying at.
Will my dependants pay the same fee as the main applicant for a United Kingdom visa application?
The dependants of the main applicant are also required to pay the same fee that would be paid otherwise unless the relevant department of the United Kingdom government specifies otherwise.
Applicants applying from Nigeria for a United Kingdom visa of any category can do so online through the following website:
If the United Kingdom has refused the visa application of an applicant, he/she can make an appeal against the decision made through the following website;
Are there any further places I can look to find out the procedure and laws of the Immigration procedures and rules for the visa process in the United Kingdom?
Yes, further information regarding immigration laws and procedures can be found out through the Immigration Rules of the United Kingdom. The Immigration Rules serve as a composition of all acts regarding immigration in the United Kingdom in the past and cover all categories of visas (such as London investor visa, tier 1 business visa, UK startup visa etc.). So, a complete guide of all procedures, regulations and different questions can be easily be understand from Immigration Rules of UK.