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Sunday 16 February 2020

How to get visa for your parent to come visit you in the UK

Recently, I applied and got visa for my mom to visit me in the UK. Before I did, I had lots of questions that visa websites were not very helpful to answer. I relied on advice from friends who had done the same. I discovered I could apply for her online and all she needed to do was to attend her Biometrics appointment and wait. During the application process, I also learnt certain things which I think would have made my application easier if I had gotten a heads-up about them. I shall now take you through the process of obtaining a UK visitor visa for your parent. This also applies to obtaining visitor visa for any family member or friend. There are 6 basic steps which we will discus in detail. Stay tuned.

1. Apply online
2. Book biometrics appointment
3. Submit documents
4. Parent attends biometrics appointment
5. Wait
6. Visa ready for collection

I will be using Nigeria as a case study.

1. Apply online
This involves going to the gov.uk website, choosing the visitor visa category and creating an account with your email address. Then follow the link in your email to access the application any time. So basically, if you are applying for your parent, you need to fill the form as though they were the one filling it out. But remember to put your own contact details if you want to be the primary contact for the visa. Don't worry, at the end stage when submitting the application, you will be asked if you are completing the application on behalf of someone for which you will then answer Yes. You can always save your application and return to it using the link in your email.

2. Book biometrics appointment
After filling the application form, paying for it and submitting the form, you will be directed to the Visa Application Centre (VAC) website to book an appointment for your parent to go to provide  their biometrics and facial photograph. Nigeria uses a company called TLScontact. You will have to choose what location you want your parent to go to.

In Nigeria, there are centers in Lagos - Ikeja, Lagos - Victoria Island, and Abuja. Note: Victoria Island centre has a default user fee of £55. So if you don't want to pay that fee, you should choose the Ikeja centre that has no fees. If I had known about this, I would not have chosen VI. Once I chose VI, I could no longer change it to Ikeja. I don't know if there are fees for the Abuja centre.

There are certain tricks to be aware of when booking your appointment. Please read the legends well and understand what appointment you are to book. Appointments at 9am and 12noon are for those opting for Super Priority service (explained below). If you mistakenly choose either of those times, your shopping basket will be automatically updated and by the time you pay, the charge for Super Priority service will be withdrawn from your account. So beware. I know someone who almost got charged the equivalent of £956 for choosing the wrong appointment time. 

I don't know if this next point is a trick to get people to spend more than they are willing or a mistake, but for some reason as at the time I applied in January 2020, all the prices on the site were displayed in Naira. For example, the user fee was showing as N55 rather than £55. Priority service was showing as N220 rather than £220. Only after you've chosen it and are about to pay that it changes to £220. At that time, you may not be paying attention, and if you had chosen it with the mindset that you were to be charged N220, you will be shocked when the equivalent of £220 is withdrawn from your account. So shine your eyes.

3. Submit documents
After you've booked your appointment, you have from then till the day of appointment to submit your accompanying documents if you chose Self Service. If you cannot scan and upload the documents yourself, then do not choose Self Service, choose and pay for Assisted service. But I will advocate Self Service. It will save you lots of money and save your parent the stress of carrying many documents to the biometrics appointment.

The rule for submitting documents is the more documents, the better their chance of getting the visa. Even though on the gov.uk site, it says do not submit family pictures, etc; please submit. They require financial evidence (to show they can afford the trip and their stay), sponsor evidence (if someone else is paying for them), family evidence (to show relationship to the person they are visiting and ties to their home country), employment evidence (proves work ties to their home country and financial status), accommodation evidence (where they will stay while in the UK).

Click here to see a list of documents I submitted to accompany my mom's visa application. She was to be sponsored by my dad, me and my husband.

4. Parent attends the biometrics appointment 
Your parent is to attend the appointment with their original International Passport, a copy of their checklist of attached documents, proof of appointment date and 2 passport photographs. They should write out the name of whatever document you have attached if not on the checklist. 

5. Wait
Standard visitor visa service takes 15 working days from the day biometrics are taken. Priority service means they would put your application at the front of the queue. It should take about 5-7 working days. Super Priority is a same day service. My mom got back her Passport with the visa granted in 10 working days even though we chose the Standard service. Make sure you pick any calls as you might be contacted to confirm length of stay. I was not contacted but I know friends that were. You can track your application on the TLS website. 

6. Visa ready for collection
So in certain countries, the Passport can be collected by proxy. Not anymore in Nigeria. My mom was told not if she's below 65yrs of age. You can choose to have it delivered by courier. Even though my mom paid for text message service to notify her when her passport was ready for collection, she did not get any SMS. I got an email saying the Passport was back to the VAC and another saying it had been collected by the courier service. So don't waste your 300 Naira if you have a functioning email address.

In conclusion, you can apply for your parent, sibling or friend to visit you in the UK and all they have to do is show up for Biometrics appointment. Just follow the above steps and remember the more evidence you show, the better their chance. Good luck.

Radiant ~ February 2020

Documents to submit - UK visitor visa for your parent

I have written a step by step guide on how to apply and obtain visa for your parent to come visit you in the UK. You can read it here

Below are documents I submitted to support my mom's visa. Rule of thumb - the more evidence you provide, the better the chance of being granted the visa. I have written the headings as you will see them on the TLScontact website (the Visa Application Centre for Nigeria).

Accommodation temp or permanent
- Daughter's and Son-in-law's council tax
- Daughter's driver's licence (You can upload a utility bill instead)

Employment evidence
- Letter from her employer

Family evidence
This is to show relationship to the person they are visiting and ties to their home country. I uploaded Passports for those that had them and for those that did not have, I uploaded their driver's licence or birth certificates.
- Daughter's wedding certificate (this is because I had some documents in my maiden name and some in my married name)
- Daughter's birth certificate 
- Daughter 2's passport
- Son 1's passport
- Family picture
- Husband's driver's licence
- Son 1's birth certificate 
- Son 1's driver's licence
- Daughter 3's birth certificate 

Financial evidence
As my mom has 2 bank accounts, I uploaded 2 bank statements. If they are retired and are being sponsored fully, it is not necessary to show their own bank statements. 
- Bank statement 1
- Bank statement 2

Old passports and visa
List of attached documents

Sponsor evidence
Letter from husband 
Husband's bank statement 
Letter of invitation
Daughter's bank statement 
Daughter's employment letter
Daughter's payslip
Daughter's passport
Daughter's residence permit
Son-in-law's bank statement
Son-in-law's employment letter
Son-in-law's payslip
Son-in-law's passport
Son-in-law's residence permit

Travel document

- Current passport 

My mom received her visa on the 10th working day even though we had applied for Standard visa service which should take 15 working days.

Click here to read my step by step guide on how to obtain UK visitor visa for your parent.

Radiant ~ February 2020

Friday 14 February 2020

WAFBEC 2020 Day 2 morning session - Bishop Wale Oke

Prophecies before sermon
- If you are not dead, the glory will crush you. Let God take you through your own funeral and resurrect you, then you can carry the glory.

- When God establishes a church, he gives it a piece of the land.

- The blessing you're looking for is beside you. You only need for your eyes to be open. Hagar, Gehazi.

- Pastors, God is giving you land. Receive your land. The place where you will blossom, from where you will fulfill your destiny.

Sermon Topic - Fasting

Fasting is one of the principal weapons of our warfare

- Engaging in fasting grows you in godliness. 1 Tim 4:8
- It humbles your soul. Ps 69:10
- It is an access to grace. God gives grace to the humble.
- It teaches us discipline. It is a spiritual discipline that feeds your spirit. Kenneth Hagin said that whatever feeds your spirit starves your flesh and whatever feeds your flesh, starves your spirit.
- It is an exercise in godliness.
- It is engagement in spiritual warfare if used correctly.
- Patriarchs of old used it to drive their prayer life, to seek God diligently. 
- Fasting is a means by which we tap into divine help.
- It is a means by which we get heaven's attention when done correctly. Isa 58:3, Esther 4:16
- It gets God into the array to deal with your enemies. A means of securing divine intervention.

Fasting does not atone for sin. If you're living in sin and fasting, you're wasting your time.
Proudful fast (wanting everyone to know you're spiritual) is a waste of time 

How to fast properly
1.  Your fasting must be unto the Lord. The devil should not be your focus. Zech. 7:5
2.  Must be done in humility. Ps 35:18. Devoid of boasting, arrogance, showmanship.
3.  Have a clearly defined purpose.
4.  Feast on the Word
5.  Engage in ernest prayer. 
6.  If you break by mistake, don't beat yourself down, don't go a guilt trip. Get up and continue
7.  Add an act of charity or benevolence. Isa 58

Practice fasting. Even if very weak, God can hear you. The thoughts of men's hearts speak louder before the throne of God than their words. You cannot seek God too much. Be sincere. God sees your heart. 

Radiant ~ February 2020