Whether you want to study at an English university, find a job or just enjoy British pub culture for a while, you will need a visa for a long-term stay in the United Kingdom. Fortunately, applying from Australia is a straightforward process. The U.K. Border Agency breaks down the steps to obtaining a U.K. visa, with frequent updates that include the latest visa types and eligibility requirements.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Biometric data
- Visa application
- One recent passport-sized photograph
- Tuberculosis test results
Visit your nearest biometrics data centre for fingerprint scanning and an official photograph. The U.K. requires this of every visa applicant, as they check fingerprints at the border. This only takes a few minutes.
Visit the U.K. Border Agency website to find the appropriate application (see Resources). If you have plans to study in the U.K., download the "Student visitor" application. If you intend to work, you must apply under the Points Based System as a general migrant, investor, entrepreneur, skilled worker or temporary worker, depending on your situation.
Print your application and attach all supporting documents. These include one passport-sized photograph of yourself that is fewer than six months old, your original passport--not a copy--and your biometric information. If you have a criminal record or a spouse, include official records of these as well. Don't forget to pay the application fee.
Send your application to the nearest U.K. embassy in Australia. These are located in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney (see Resources).
Arrange an appointment for a tuberculosis screening by contacting the International Organization for Migration in Canberra (see Resources). The organisation will guide you to an accredited medical institute for a chest x-ray. The U.K. Border Agency dictates that you carry your negative results in your handbag to show U.K. authorities upon arrival in the country.
Tips and warnings
- Apply several months in advance. Though embassies process most applications within two weeks, the U.K. Border Agency warns that it can take up to four months.
- If your passport will expire soon, apply for a new one before applying for a visa. Passports must be valid for six months beyond the duration of your stay in the U.K.
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