This article will guide you on the step-by-step method of how to apply for a UK visa in Nigeria. The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the most visited countries by Nigerian every year. At least we all know someone that has visited the UK or resides in the United Kingdom.
Also, the UK is one of the best “Japa” pathways for most Nigerians, whether for study, work, holiday, tourism, residency and even citizenship. Nigerians love better opportunities, right?
Where is the United Kingdom located?
The United Kingdom is also known as the UK. The United Kingdom is located in Europe. It consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Also, the capital of the UK is London, which is famous for its historic, cultural and well-developed regions.
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Why do Nigerians need to apply for a UK Visa?
Undoubtedly, as a citizen of Nigeria, you need a visa to visit or tour the United Kingdom for whatever reason. Besides, Nigeria is not on the list of countries exempted from visiting the UK without a visa. Therefore, before you can visit the UK you must apply for a UK visa in Nigeria.
Reasons to travel to the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is one of the most developed countries in the world. It offers a lot of opportunities to Nigerians from health to study, work etc. These are some of the reasons why Nigerians travel to the United Kingdom:
Safety and Security
The UK is among the safest countries to visit in the world. Plus, this is because of the reduced crime rates and street violence in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, efforts are constantly made by law enforcement officials to reprimand offenders and deport illegal immigrants and thugs.
The UK economy is well recognised for proper diversification to improve the quality of life of its citizens. This is made possible by improving manufacturing, tourism and travel, healthcare, education, construction and other services provided by various sectors of the UK economy.
Also, the economy of the UK improved yearly compared to previous years. This is one of the best offers you can get in the world and the United Kingdom is a great choice.
World-class educational system
With continuous ongoing research and development conducted by professors and students in a wide range of areas, UK’s education is considered to be of the highest quality. Also, a degree from the UK is held in high regard by employers all over the world.
Besides, the UK education system offers you plenty of choices in the courses you can study in a shorter time frame.
Popular institutions in the United Kingdom
- University College, London
- University of Oxford
- Cambridge University
- Imperial College, London
- Kings College, London
- University of Manchester
- University of Birmingham
- The University of Edinburgh amongst others
Standard medical system accessible to all
The United Kingdom has a structured universal healthcare system called the National Health Service or the NHS. The NHS system has been in operation since 1948. Similarly, it was established under the principles of universality, free delivery, equity, and central funding. The NHS is responsible for all aspects of the UK healthcare system.
Also, the UK has one of the best health systems in the developed world. The UK’s healthcare system is the best out of the eleven world’s most developed countries, despite having one of the lowest levels of funding.
Furthermore, the United Kingdom offers a structured hospital, physician, paediatrics, geriatrics, obstetrics and child health care for citizens and residents at all levels.
Amazing destinations for holidays and vacations
The UK has mind-blowing resorts and ancient destinations for tourists, either for family or individual tourism. These are some of the tourist destinations in the UK:
- Scottish Highlands
- The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
- Lake Windermere, Cumbria
- Stonehenge, Wiltshire
- Durdle Door, Dorset
- Tresco Abbey Gardens
- The Isle Of Scilly, Cornwall
- Peak District National Park
- Yorkshire Dales
- Pentle Bay, Tresco, Isles of Scilly
- Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall
- Holkham Beach, Norfolk
- Woolacombe Sands, Devon
- Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland
- Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales
A peaceful and serene atmosphere
The UK provides a peaceful, serene and loving atmosphere. As a Nigerian in the UK, you will meet other friendly and welcoming citizens who are ready to accept you.
Furthermore, the climate in the UK is quite moist, temperate and not too extreme that can pose danger or threats to you.
Sports and recreation
Football is the major sporting activity in the United Kingdom. Over the years, the country has hosted world-recognized football competitions in major stadiums in Manchester, Wimbledon and National stadiums in London. A very common one is the English Premier League.
Also, for lovers of sports and athletics, the UK is a great option that seeks to develop its economy by hosting and sponsoring internationally renowned sporting events.
Other sports and recreation such as rugby, horse racing, swimming, cycling and many more are available to UK travellers for an amazing travel experience.
Entertainment is top-notch in the UK. Music concerts are held annually in the country and a lot of people visit to appreciate the beauty of the music industry in the UK.
Also, carnivals are held in regions across the United Kingdom where culture and traditions are celebrated.
Availability of jobs and career prospects
The UK has a very low unemployment rate. This is because jobs are readily available in all sectors of the economy. Agile and working-class individuals between the ages of 16-64 are open to job opportunities available in the United Kingdom.
Also, millions of individuals migrate to the UK for employment opportunities in health care, education, administrative and other sectors in the country.
Quality of life
The quality of life in the UK is standard and top-rated. This covers income, jobs, education, health, purchasing power, cost of living, and safety amongst others. Also, the country provides amazing opportunities for growth, investment and utilisation of resources.
Thus, people in the UK have a high life expectancy because of access to quality healthcare services, peaceful terrains, aged support and care on all levels.
Categories of the UK Visa
Before you apply for a UK visa in Nigeria, you need to know the type of visa you are applying for. To apply for a UK visa in Nigeria, you need to apply on the country’s immigration website. You must identify the category of visa you need.
Also, your UK visa type determines what you can do in the country and the duration of your visit. For example, a tourist visa allows you to tour the country alone in the space of 6 months.
The types of UK visas available are:
- Visitor visa
- Student visa
- Work visa
- Family visa
- Residency visa
- Transit visa
If you are planning to visit the UK for tourism or to see a family member. You need to apply for a UK visitor visa in Nigeria. The UK visitor visa applies to you as a tourist or visitor to the United Kingdom. This means that;
- You intend to visit family members in the UK for a specified period
- You are travelling for a holiday or vacation in the UK
- You need to travel for tourism
- You will be staying in the UK for 6 months or less
Cost of the UK visitors visa
The United Kingdom visitor visa costs $139, although prices change depending on the exchange rate.
Marriage Visitor visa
A marriage visitor visa is accessible to travellers who intend to:
- Get married or register a civil partnership in the UK
- Give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in the UK
- Do not have plans to stay or settle in the UK after marriage or civil partnership
Eligibility for the UK marriage visitor visa
To qualify for the UK marriage visitor visa, the following should be noted;
- You should be 18 years old or over
- You are free to give notice of marriage
- You intend to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival
- Evidence of your relationship with your fiancée or fiance
- You are visiting the UK for less than 6 months
- Intentions to leave the UK at the end of your visit
Cost of the UK marriage visitor visa
The UK marriage visitor visa costs £100. It is a sub-category under the visitor’s visa option.
Furthermore, after getting this visa, you are allowed to choose a venue within the UK for your wedding ceremony and also transit to the United Kingdom.
Please be informed that this visa category does not qualify you to study or work in the United Kingdom.
Student or Study Visa
If you are a student planning to pursue a degree in the United Kingdom, you can apply for a UK student visa in Nigeria. The UK student visa is available to you, if;
- You have applied for a scholarship to study in higher institutions in the UK and it has been approved
- You intend to study in the UK and have the required funds for your education
- Above 16 years of age as at the time of application
- Have the consent of your parents as a minor
Duration of stay: The UK student visa affords the chance to remain in the country for as long as your course will last. This is usually between six months to five years.
Can I extend my student visa after I am done studying?
Yes, the student visa can be extended with a fee of £475. This implies that you want to further remain in the UK for other reasons after your studies.
Processing time: The UK student visa is decided on and processed within 15-21 days.
Cost of the UK student visa
The UK student visa is £363 for individuals applying for a UK visa in Nigeria. You can pay online on the UK immigration website with a dollar card, debit or credit card.
Subcategories of the UK student visa
Child student visa
This visa sub-category is open to you if you are below 16 years and you intend to study on your own in the UK.
Short-term study visa
This visa subcategory costs £200
In cases where you need to briefly run a short course of 6 – 11 months in the UK, you can apply for a short-term study visa to this effect.
For Nigerians willing to work in the Uk and have gotten employment for a company in the UK. You will have to apply for the UK work visa in Nigeria. The UK Work Visa application to the following set of people, depending on a short or long-term basis;
Health Care Workers
As health care workers such as doctors and nurses have a UK visa category that you can apply for. This is specific to this profession alone.
This is another type of work visa that is open to people with some sets of skills. This visa option is available to these set of people;
- You work for an approved and recognized UK employer
- You have a contract with sponsorship details from your employer with evidence about the position you’ve been assigned in the UK
- You have a job or career that’s on the list of qualified jobs in the UK
- You have at least a salary which comes in monthly, this amount depends on your work type
Sports person visa
Sports coaches who have been sponsored by an employer in the UK can apply for a sports person visa.
The UK sports person visa costs £259 for less than or up to 12 months stay or £625 for more than 12 months’ stay excluding a health tax or other fees.
Also, if you are applying for a visa with your family, they will need to be qualified to go through the application process, plus paying the visa fee.
Youth mobility scheme visa
This visa category is available to you if you want to work and study in the UK for 2 years. You are expected to:
- Be between the ages of 18-30
- Indicate interest to work and reside in the UK for 2 years
- Meet all other requirements expected of you
- Have a minimum of £2, 530 in your savings.
Cost of the UK work visa
The UK work visa costs about £625- £1423, depending on the category you are applying for.
UK work visa processing duration
It takes about 3 – 6 weeks to process a UK work visa in Nigeria from the time of application.
Business Visa- Cost and Eligibility
The UK business visa costs £378 and it is also referred to as the Start-up visa or innovator visa. Plus, the visa is available to individuals who have great and new, creative and prospective business ideas that they intend to implement in the UK.
Furthermore, this visa gives you the chance to stay in the UK for two years and also come with family members who will apply for the visa separately.
To qualify for the start-up or innovation visa, you must be approved by a higher institution of learning in the UK and also entrepreneurial bodies in the UK.
Family Visa- Cost and Eligibility
The UK family visa is £1538 and it is available when you want to travel to join your family members in the UK, either as a spouse, parent, older relative or child.
However, your family member must not be people who are studying on a short-term basis or have a temporary work visa. Otherwise, you have the option to apply to join your family as a dependent.
Besides, there is room for a family visa extension if you are already living in the UK and you wish to stay for longer periods.
The transit visa category is accessible to you if you will be travelling through the UK on your tour to another country. The following subcategories are available for the UK transit visa when:
– You do not need to travel through the UK border
This is in situations where you will be arriving at a destination in the UK before boarding another flight to your main destination in another country.
– You need to travel through the UK boundaries
Well, for cases of brief stops on your tour to the UK and departure from the UK in 48 hours or less, you need to apply for a transit visa.
Kindly note that due information is always available based on the destination of the airline you have chosen. Arrival and departure points will be stated.
Costs of the UK transit visa
The UK transit visa costs £35- £64 depending on the section to which you are applying.
How to identify your UK visa type
Highlight your travel intentions
identify your duration of stay
Identify your skill sets
Take note of your visa type or sub-sections based on the specificity of your travel
Majorly, your UK travel visa is determined based on your travel intentions.
After you have stayed in the UK for 3- 10 years, depending on the visa you have at hand, you are eligible in most cases to apply for a residency or citizenship visa in the UK.
UK Visa fees for Nigerian applicants
The UK visa costs between $132 – $ 1145. The cost of the UK visa depends on the type of visa, number of people applying for the visa and duration of stay in the UK.
Where to apply for the UK Visa in Nigeria
You can apply for a UK visa at any of the following visa application centres in Nigeria;
UK Visa Application Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos
First Floor, Churchgate Building, Tower 2, Churchgate Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
UK Visa Application Centre in Ikeja, Lagos
Ground & First Floors, Etiebets Place, 21 Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos
UK Visa Application Centre, Abuja
Third floor, El-Yakub Building (beside Metro Plaza), Plot 1129
Zakariya Maimalari Street, Central Business District
British Deputy High Commission, Lagos
11 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island Lagos
British High Commission, Abuja
Plot 1137, Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, Abuja.
Best time to apply for the UK Visa
The earliest you can apply for a UK visa is usually:
3 months before your planned travel date for visit visas
3 months before your employment start date for most work visas
6 months before your course start date for study visas
At least 6 months before your passport expires
How to pay for the UK Visa in Nigeria
You can pay for the UK visa in dollars with a foreign credit or debit card on the UK immigration website.
Also, there are options available for you to pay through a dollar account created for you at the bank.
General Qualifications for the UK visa in Nigeria
To be eligible for a UK visa, there are certain conditions you need to be aware of:
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit, in case you get a tourist l, student or visitors visa
- You can finance yourself and your dependents during your journey and stay in the UK (or have a grant from someone else to assist you)
- You can pay for your return independently or with the support of a sponsor.
- You will abide by the rules stated in your visa application based on the duration of stay, good conduct and evidence of funds.
Documents needed to apply for the UK Visa
The following documents are needed for your visa application in Nigeria;
- A valid passport with enough pages where the visa can be stamped on.
- Online filling and submission of the visa application form
- Recent passport photographs with the appropriate background and picture size
- Visa fee payment receipt
- Evidence of at least a 3-6 month bank statement
- Hotel/ accommodation bookings and reservations
- Invitation letter of sponsorship from an employer, institution, friend or relative
- English Language proficiency tests such as IELTS and other similar evidence of knowledge of the English Language amongst others are required for certain visa applications. This should reveal that you can speak, write, read and listen to the English Language without any difficulty
- Evidence that you have a job, for persons applying for a work visa
- In some cases, you need to provide a leave approval from your company that indicates that you are either coming to the UK for specific training. Plus, all evidence should indicate that you will return to your job in your home country after the visit.
- A travel plan or itinerary which lists out all the activities you intend to carry out in the United States.
- The letter that shows your statement of purpose, in other words, detailed reasons why you want to travel to the UK.
- Marriage documents for family (spouse) visa. If otherwise, provide divorce or separation documents.
- Your children’s birth certificates indicate family relationships.
- Recent utility bills from your host, to show that they are legal occupants of the UK and can take care of you during your stay.
- For business moguls who intend to attend conferences or job training in the UK, an invitation letter with the details of the event, sponsoring UK representatives or organizations and contact information is required.
- Tuberculosis test reports from an approved physician.
- Health surcharge payment fee, to guarantee your health care service in the UK
- Resident permits for UK residents in Nigeria who need to return to their country.
- A consent form, duly authorized by parents or guardians of underaged children applying to study in the UK
- Admission letter showing full sponsorship by a higher institution in the UK
- Police report or criminal record as demanded
Importantly, all documents are to be submitted in the English Language. This indicates that if you have any travel documents that are not in English. You are to convert to the English Language before uploading it to the website.
Moreover, all documents should be properly scanned before uploading to the UK immigration website. Ensure to straighten out rough edges, and check for visibility of the information on such documents before scanning images. Hence, if you do not have the means of uploading documents yourself, you can request assistance online at the TLS contact support or a travel agency.
Steps to apply for the UK Visa in Nigeria
Step 1: Select your visa category carefully on the official website of the UK immigration service ‘ www.gov.uk’
Step 2: Read all instructions carefully and begin to prepare the essential documents
Step 3: Pay the visa application fee online with a dollar card, credit or debit card
Step 4: Fill out the visa application form online
Step 5: Book an appointment with a visa application centre in Nigeria
Step 6: When this is done, you will be instructed to pay for the visa appointment online on the TLS contact.com website
Step 7: Attend your visa interview or appointment on the day and time
Step 8: Present A-4 paper-sized photocopies of all documents required from you
Step 9: Capture your biometrics and other means of identification at the visa application centre
Step 10: After your interview, await the decision of the embassy
Documents to be submitted at the visa application centres in Nigeria
The documents you are expected to bring might differ, based on your application or travel needs. However, the following are essential to be submitted at the visa application centres in Nigeria;
- A printed copy of the appointment email you received
- Valid passport
- If you applied online for assistance at the visa application centre, print out the receipt of payment.
- The first page of your visa application form
Kindly note that parents or guardians are allowed to come with their children who are minors.
How long does it take to get a UK Visa after application?
Depending on the category of visa you apply for, it takes 3 weeks to 24 weeks to process the UK visa.
Most times, public holidays don’t count from the available days.
Factors that determine early UK visa approval
- Early application
- Accurate data submission
- Qualifying through the point-based system option
- Successful interview and biometrics appointment
- Choosing the right visa
- The process by which you apply and where you apply
- Proving your identity
- Evidence of good health shown by tuberculosis or COVID-19 vaccination cards
- The number of petitions the UK consulate/visa processing office is accepting at the time.
Reasons why the UK embassy can deny you a visa
- Inaccurate data submission
- Insufficient travel funds or account statement
- History of criminal record or inability to clear yourself from criminal charges
- Application for the UK visa with a torn, incomplete, expired or damaged passport
- Inability to provide documents required of you at the UK visa office or embassy
- Failure to attend an interview or biometric appointment
- Previous deportation or evidence of ongoing jail term
- Failure to adhere to all instructions given on the UK immigration website
- False or unreasonable travel intentions
- Lack of travel plan or itinerary
- Failure to tender return flight tickets reservation or hotel bookings as requested
The above-mentioned reasons and many more are why you might not be able to get a UK visa on your application.
Can individuals with a history of criminal offence apply for a UK Visa?
Yes, you can apply for a UK visa even though you have a history of a criminal offence. However, you need to take note of the following;
The duration of your trial sentence and how long it has been since you served a jail term is quite important here. This is because safety and security are a priority in the UK. The immigration officials are working so hard to keep up with high demands. Thus, your application will be outrightly denied if you have been imprisoned for:
One to four years within the time-space of 10 years since your last jail term
4 years or more
12 months or less within the space of 5 years
Then, your application will also be rejected on the spot if, within 12 months before the application is decided you have been convicted of or admitted to an offence for which you received a jail sentence or out-of-court disposal that is recorded on your criminal record.
What to do when UK Visa is denied
In case your UK visa is denied, here is what you can do;
Apply for the visa again:
Once you reapply, make sure that you do not repeat the errors you made the last time on your application. Also, get the right documents to enable you to meet up with the application procedures.
An appeal based on Human Rights:
In this case, you should have a strong backup claim to appeal a visa denial decision. You can apply for an appeal on the UK immigration website with the requested documents to back up your claim. Often, people also employ the service of a lawyer to solicit on their behalf.
Request for a judicial review of your visa application
You can do this if you have a substantial reason to believe that your application has been rejected unjustly or irrationally or if there has been unfair processing during the submission of your visa application file.
Kindly note that you cannot submit an appeal more than once else, they won’t accept it.
Airlines that travel from Nigeria to the UK
The airlines that offer direct flights and stopovers from Nigeria to the United Kingdom can be found in major airports in the country. Airports such as Muritala Mohammed Airport Lagos, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Enugu and so on.
UK airline operators include;
- British Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Egypt Air
- Virgin Atlantic
- Turkish Airways
- Etihad Airways
- Emirates Airlines
- Air France
- Med-View Airlines
- Royal Air Maroc
- Ethiopian Airlines
In conclusion, your
UK visa application from start to finish can be tasking. This is why travel agencies seek to offer you prompt, reliable and accurate services that you need from start to finish. You can seek assistance in case you cannot go through the process alone.