So the last time that I really discussed the visa process to get the UK, I had talked about signing up with SWAP, which was back in July. From there I got all my paperwork and basically had to wait until the new year due to having out of the country vacation plans. After my trip to Mexico, I contacted my travel counselor and discovered that I could hand in my application at any point and just book my VAC appointment for after my Florida trip. I have since completed all the steps necessary and am now simply playing the waiting game to hear back from the consulate!
Here are all the steps that I went through to get to this point:
1) Register with SWAP – completed July 2014.
2) Save, save save to ensure that I had the support funds in place – (technically from March 2014)-February 2015.
I technically had the funds in place before I even decided to go on this adventure, but I wanted to take way more then they tell you,with me. I will detail this in a later post.
3) Renew my passport to ensure it was valid for over the entire two year period – January 2015
4) Fill out the visa application with the help of SWAP – January 2015
For the most part, pretty straight forward. Just one lengthy section which was a section that requires you to list the past five most recent visits you have made to the UK with dates, and as well list ALL of the out of country travels you have had in the past 10 years, with dates. For me, this was not too difficult as I keep journals on a regular basis so I had all the dates listed out anyway, I also used Facebook timeline for this as well. For any of the trickier questions (which there were only a few) I used SWAP’s outline that they give you and as well emailed my travel adviser.
5) Get my passport pictures taken. – January 2015
The measurements are different then the typical Canadian passport so ENSURE the photo place gives you the right ones, I had to get mine re done (at time of pick up) because as soon as I saw them I knew they were the wrong size
6) Send in my application form, photo copies of all my passport pictures pages, my visa pictures and pay the VAC Fee – January 26th 2015
8) Wait for SWAP to lodge my application and book my VAC appointment. – February 5th 2015
This took about 5 business days after I emailed my stuff to my travel counselor. Once this part is done, SWAP emails all the information about your VAC appointment and what is required for the bank letter.
9) Get my bank letter – February 7th 2015
This was a lot easier then I thought. From what I had heard from others, I really thought I was would have to fight with my bank to get this done but it was super easy and took all of 15 minutes. I just made an appointment ahead of time, and then gave the person the sample letter from SWAP and then we went over it a couple times to get everything perfect and that was that! I really recommend bringing the sample letter with you to the bank, I think that is what made it so easy.
10) Attend my VAC Appointment – March 9th 2015
Attended the VAC Appointment in Edmonton. My dad and I went up for a weekend to have a mini vacation, while attending my appointment on Monday. The process was pretty easy, I just took my paperwork, went into the office, a security guard went over my documents, handed me a courier sheet to fill in a return address, and then escorted me to the bio-metrics office. Once there the finger printing and photo took about 10 minutes. It is here you submit your paperwork and passport, and then it gets couriered to New York. You are also given a tracking number to use when the consulate emails you with their decision/for when they are sending you the passport back. Pretty nifty!
Now that is as far as I have gotten in this process. It is basically a waiting game now. Once I know that my visa is approved, I will book my flight, hostel and get my insurance set up and then all the other fun stuff right before departure.
I highly recommend going through SWAP. This whole process has been really easy and not at all stressful because they have taken care of all the hard stuff. It was so worth every penny!
– xoxo Veronica