How to Apply UK Standard Visitor’s Visa from Saudi Arabia

How To Get Here!.jpg

Please note that this post is good only after you’ve evaluated the visa types and finally knowing that it’s a Standard Visitor’s Visa you need.

For your information, the Standard Visitor visa has replaced the following visa types:

  • Family Visitor visa
  • General Visitor visa
  • Child Visitor visa
  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
  • Sports Visitor visa
  • Entertainer Visitor visa
  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa
  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa

Say you want to visit the UK on business: You can also apply for a Standard Visitor visa for business related activities such as the following:

  • you’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
  • you want to take part in a specific sports-related event
  • you’re an artist, entertainer or musician and coming to the UK to perform
  • are an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
  • you’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post
  • you want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  • you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK

Check the Visitor Rules to find the full list of business-related activities you can do with a Standard Visitor visa.

For those who want to visit the UK for a short period of time, like for tourism purposes, it is important that you show that:

  • You’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • You’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip
  • You’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit
  • You have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • for leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
  • for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • for another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment

Check if you need this visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Your application will not be accepted and you will not get a refund if you have the right of abode in the UK (for example you’re a British citizen). You need to apply for a certificate of entitlement instead.

So there are some restrictions. There are some things you can do such as:

And there are things that unfortunately, you cannot do:

  • do paid or unpaid work
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • get public funds
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership

How long does the application take? The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel. For example, you can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

Timeframe.jpg

How long can you stay in the UK? You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You might be able to stay for longer if:

  • you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment – up to 11 months (£186 fee)
  • you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research – you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months (£186 fee)

If you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a biometric residence permit. You might be able to get a visit visa for up to 30 days if you’re a visitor under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement.

What if you need to visit the UK on a regular basis?  If you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit. If you’re under 18 years old when you apply, your long-term Standard Visitor visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18.

What are the Fees?  A Standard Visitor visa costs £93. The fee for a long-term Standard Visitor visa depends on its length:

  • 2 years – £350
  • 5 years – £636
  • 10 years – £798

VisaWhat are the requirements?

  • Valid travel document (national passport or other document that allows the holder to travel internationally)
  • Previous travel documents/passports, which show previous travel.
  • Financial documents showing that you have sufficient funds available. These must clearly show that you have access to the funds, such as:
    • bank statements
    • building society book
    • proof of earnings such as a letter from employer confirming employment details (start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details)
    • where a third party (who is either in the UK or who will be legally in the UK at the time of your visit) is providing financial support to you e.g. a business, a friend or a relative, documents to show they have sufficient resources to support you in addition to themselves and any dependent family should be provided
  • Confirmation of legal residence, if you are not a national of the country in which you are applying or your right to reside there is not included in your passport.
  • Details of employment or studies where you have stated in your application that you are either employed or in full-time studies. This could include a letter from your employer on company headed paper, detailing your role, salary and length of employment, a letter from your education provider, on headed paper, confirming your enrollment and leave of absence
    • If self employed: business registration documents confirming the business owner’s name and the date the business started trading.
    • Business activities – where you are coming to the UK in order to undertake activities relating to your occupation/employment outside the UK you should submit documents showing what you will be doing in the UK, including any letters from inviting organisations. For example:
      • any business activities, e.g. letter from your employer outlining the reason for your visit, who you will be meeting and details of any payment/expenses
      • for performances and entertainment visitors, whether you work in this area as a professional or amateur, and what and where you will be performing
  • Under 18s – we strongly recommend you submit the following information otherwise it may delay consideration of your application.
    • a Birth Certificate or legal document (such as adoption papers) showing the relationship between you and your parent or guardian
    • If travelling unaccompanied or with someone other than your parent(s) you should provide:
      • a signed letter from your parent(s) confirming details of anyone accompanying you, and details of care and accommodation arranged in the UK
      • a copy of your parent(s) or legal guardian’s biographical page of their passport, which includes their signature and passport number if your parent(s) do not have a passport then you must provide another official document which bears their signature

Ok, so I know you guys are excited to fly to the UK, but wait, please do not overwork our friendly VFS / Embassy Officials by sorting through unnecessary documents. Please see the below list of documents that you SHOULD NOT present unless specifically required:

  • if you are applying as a family/group you do not need to provide multiple copies of the same documents
  • bank statements or letters issued more than 1 year before the date of application
  • driver’s licence
  • photographs (other than passport photographs)
  • notarial certificates
  • business cards
  • hotel bookings (This is tricky because there is a portion on the application form about this, so I would suggest to have a printout ready)
  • flight bookings (Tempting, right? For me, it is better keep a printout of your temporary itinerary ready just in case) – NOTE: the Embassy, as far as I know discourages potential visitors to buy tickets unless they have confirmed visas at hand
  • photocopies of bank cards
  • credit card statements
  • certificates relating to leisure activities
  • evidence of car ownership
  • travel insurance (This is not required unlike when applying for a Schengen visa. Additionally, there’s no portion in the application form that will confuse you about this unlike the portion on flight details and hotel.) But even this isn’t a requirement, it is always better to have a security policy when travelling. I mean, I think you gotta have one after you’ve received your visa – just in case!
  • sponsor’s utility bills
  • sponsor’s council tax bills
  • educational certificates (unless specifically listed for some types of application)

CLICK ME if you want the exact thing from gov.uk.

OK, so you know the requirements and the process, you even know the timetable. I think you may want to know where the form is. This is where you start, please click on the link to see the application form.

Where do I submit my application packet? Where are the offices in Saudi Arabia? For Riyadh applicants, their Office has been relocated to: VFS Global, Joint Visa Application Centre. Makkah Road, Al Hada, 8380, Riyadh 12913 8380 – this is beside the rear entrance of Courtyard Marriott Diplomatic Quarter. Google Map Coordinates: 24.666674, 46.622435

As for the location for the other offices within KSA, please CLICK ME. 

Anyhoo, the process takes a while unless you paid for the expedited service, if you’re not rushing, better keep it normal and relaxed, otherwise, be ready to PAY UP! Always remember to plan your travels and apply your visa ahead of time. Rushing is never good.

This is just a play-by-play process based on experience. Note that I have referred to the gov.uk site 100% of the time. If you want to be sure about the info I have written in here, please feel free to visit the actual application site because you know, THINGS GET UPDATED and I have to reiterate to always read the guidance for more information about what you can and cannot do with a Standard Visitor visa, you know, just to be sure.

Again, this is the UK Standard Visitor’s Visa application form for your reference.

Thank you and travel safe!

 

Advertisements

My Journey to Essential Oils: Becoming a Member

Lavander Flower and Leaves Rustic Wedding Ideas Blog Graphic.jpgBACKGROUND: I have been seeing posts from friends about essential oils from Young Living (click the link to check it out). I have no idea about it albeit, I have been a fan of the good ol’ humidifiers, but it is just different, apparently.

WHEN DID I DECIDE I WAS INTERESTED: I have finally realized I was interested when my health condition doesn’t seem to get eased up. I mean, the chronic pain I have been feeling is intensified. I am on constant medications and supplements but somehow, I felt that I need healing from something else. I have researched about it. Significant research I might say. I felt interested.

FRIENDS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Some friends IRL and acquaintances from the Social Media have been quite vocal about their experience with essential oils. They never claimed to have miraculously healed. All are just based on their experiences, I mean, the wellness and alleviation they’ve experienced health and pain wise. No one claimed to have been treated fully but they all claimed that when they started using these oils, it somehow delayed the progress of the disease and they have been relieved from pain. I said, “I got to try that.”

NOT TRYING SIMPLY BECAUSE: I have seen several people who testified about these oils but I have three people whom I know who are credible enough to not fool me just for the sake of engaging in business talks with me. For those who know of me, they know that sales talk do not work on me. Instead, “I COME TO YOU” and yes, I did approach a friend about this. She and two other contacts are part of a group in Saudi Arabia and I believe that these credible ladies did really convince me about the use of essential oils. I mean, if it doesn’t work effectively, I don’t think I’d order again, but I trust that I can get the same health benefits that they did plus of course, the monetary implications as well. That should make more sense right.

SO WHAT IS THE PROCESS: Here’s the play-by-play process in registering from Saudi Arabia. Keep in mind that not all goods can be shipped to us so we have to be a little critical and mindful about our orders.

FIRST, please go to the virtual office of https://www.youngliving.com (you will see the button, “become a member” and it will lead you to this page (click me)

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 10.56.50 PM

Of course, to avail of the discounts, you got to be a member or you can also opt being a retail customer, but it doesn’t give you any perks you know.

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 11.02.05 PM

If you’re from Saudi Arabia, just click on the country and voila, you’re good to go. But wait, if you’re from the US or Philippines or UK, just change the country and yes, you too are good to go. You may register either as a referred member or like no one referred you. I mean, it’s the same, but might as well help me earn some points you know, it would not do us any harm, it will even earn me a referral. Just kindly insert my membership ID on both the sponsorship and enroller IDs15588830, kindly see the above photo for your reference.

You will be directed to the order process. For KSA applicants, you may choose the Premium Starter Kit – International 220v worth 160 USD just like I did, but yes, feel free to browse on. There is a thing called PV (their points system) and you got to purchase a collection of at least 150 PV to qualify for the minute shipping fee – as in 14 USD. Better watch out for some flash sales too, I mean like they have something from 14-16 July 2018 – I totally missed that chance because I just ordered! Let me show you my first order’s invoice to have an idea what is PV. By the way, as you fill in your cart, you will see how much PV you’ve already carted and how much is left to be filled to reach 200 PV, hence to become a member. See below:

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 11.15.38 PM.png

By the way, there are two main membership types:

Customer & Independent Distributor (though the latter can be broken down into 2).

  • Customer (buy at retail pricing) – customers join for free: there’s no membership fees, no yearly dues, no obligations and no selling (yeah, no selling!)
  • Independent Distributor
    • as customer (buy at wholesale pricing – no fees, but there is a $50/year purchase requirement). This type of membership is signed up as “Independent Distributor” and requires the purchase of a starter kit, which you can choose for yourself (I chose the international 220v) – this comes with a diffuser. There are great kits that will cost you from $45 to $260. You only have to purchase a start up kit once, at sign up – and they are useful. If a diffuser isn’t something you’re interested in, or you already know what things you’d like to order, the Basic Starter Kit ($45) is a great way to do it, and then you can start ordering the items you have in mind at wholesale, at once.
      • Save 24% off of retail pricing
      • No membership fees
      • No obligation
      • No yearly dues
      • No selling required

If you wish to keep wholesale pricing, the only requirement is that you purchase about $50 worth of products per year (50 PV) – which is hello, done and done from the first ever order. If you do not purchase 50 PV (their point system) worth of products in a year, you can still buy oils, it will just be at retail pricing until you meet their requirement.

    • as business (buy at wholesale pricing – no fees, but there is a purchase requirement). This type of membership is for those who are leaning towards the businessy side of EOs. It is similar to the info above only with small differences. If you love essential oils, it is for sure that you will be sharing the knowledge to your family and friends and because you are a distributor, you will be able to earn a commission when they sign up under your name. Just like being a wholesale customer, you are required to purchase a starter kit, which range in price from $45 to $260 – usually varies due to your choice of diffuser. You only have to purchase a start up kit once (just like the independent distributor – customer). If you wish to earn a commission check, you must also be enrolled in the “Essential Rewards” program and to be eligible for payment, your monthly Essential Rewards order should be at or over $100/month (100 PV)—which is surprisingly easy to do – because essential oils are yes, something you’d really want to buy. Young Living also has a so-called monthly specials that can earn you free exclusives. By the way,  there are now some commissions that you are eligible for at the $50 level, however, $100 level opens you up to certain bonuses that will enable you to eventually cover your ER orders. In addition to making commissions and being eligible for payment, you also earn Essential Rewards points that can be redeemed for free products. These points are great for buying gifts, stocking up, or just getting something awesome for yourself!

Shipping to a PO BOX is a no-no! Give a physical address as the delivery would be either through DHL or FedEx. The fee should not cost you more than 20 USD (see? mine’s 14 USD).

PAYMENT: Major credit cards are accepted. This is by the way not like other memberships where the order goes to me instead of you. The order is delivered to you.

AFTER ORDERING: You will be receiving an order summary through email as well as an emailed confirmation of your membership including the membership info.

Easy steps right? Just please don’t forget that there are some prohibited items that the couriers do not ship to Saudi Arabia (so those potential members who are from other countries may avail of them, OR better yet, kindly speak with their live support online to check what applies to your shipping country, I mean, of course, to check what also does not apply). This can delay your order and enrollment process. Well not just delay, it won’t process your order at all. So please be mindful of the list below:

Singles:

  • Angelica
  • Blue Tansy
  • Cistus
  • Cypress
  • Dorado Azul
  • Eucalyptus Blue
  • Frankincense
  • Frankincense Vitality™
  • Goldenrod
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapefruit Vitality
  • Hinoki
  • Idaho Blue Spruce Essential Oil
  • Idaho Balsam Fir Essential Oil
  • Jade Lemon
  • Jade Lemon Vitality™
  • Juniper
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
  • Myrtle
  • Northern Lights Black Spruce
  • Ocotea
  • Palo Santo
  • Petitigrain
  • Pine
  • Sacred Frankincense
  • Tsuga
  • Valerian

Blends:

  • Abundance™
  • Common Sense™
  • Egyptian Gold™
  • Gratitude™
  • Grounding™
  • Light the Fire™
  • Red Shot™
  • Shutran™
  • Stress Away™
  • Stress Away™ Roll-on
  • The Gift™
  • Treasure of the Season™

Collections:

  • Oils of Ancient Scripture™
  • Premier Aroma Collection™
  • Premium Starter Kit with Aria™ Diffuser
  • Premium Starter Kit with Dewdrop™ Diffuser
  • Premium Starter Kit with Home Diffuser
  • Premium Starter Kit with Rainstone® Diffuser
  • Premium Starter Kit with Thieves®
  • Bon Voyage Travel Kit
  • Essence of the Season™
  • Northern Lights Black Spruce Kit
  • Everyday Oils™
  • Raindrop Technique®
  • Thieves® Essential Rewards
  • 2015 Oil Collection-Replacement Only- #5461R

Personal Care:

  • ART® Crème Masque

ADVICE: My advice is do not enroll if you do not trust the person who speaks about it. Better find a solid testimony before becoming a member or if you’re kind of like me “who likes to see it for myself regardless of what people say”, then please, “GO FOR IT!” Your initial investment won’t go to waste because these oils are good regardless, hello, we all use humidifier oils so since this one has a reputation of an “upgrade,”  we don’t have anything to lose really.

By the way, there are essential oils groups already getting established in Riyadh, if you need to order like a bottle (5 ml or something), you can ride your order with a groupmate. I heard they don’t mind (as long as you pay of course!).

I will be blogging about my journey with these oils so please, stay tuned. This could be a solid start to our wellness.

How to Travel to UAE from Saudi Arabia by Land

I will be detailing the process of traveling to UAE from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by land. This will include all the preps and advice I can give based on our successes and failures during those hours.

First, you got to set a budget. This will depend on how much you are willing to spend and how much you are willing to stretch to maximize the budget. Our trip cost me a fortune. We were 10 altogether, so there are 10 brains functioning; each wanting to go to a place after another — that means more spending. My suggestion – plan your itinerary. The “come what may attitude” only works if traveling as a couple, heck, it doesn’t even work when traveling with my husband!

Note to self: For long travels, better travel with family because no matter how bad the road rage is due to heat and exhaustion – you’re family. There’s no further harm you can inflict to one another except for stern looks and silly hand gestures!

Now about the paperwork:

You must have a valid UAE Visitor’s Visa. This can be secured from the website costing you around 250 AED per visa (I think) but since I was lazy (because I am sure they will be asking me to apply for them (9 people), I thought seeking help from an agency would be better), I secured our visa from a friend who works in a traveling agency. They charge way less than the regular travel agencies and it’s uber fast! If you want to know their information: please message me here. The agency processing in KSA costs around 500 SAR (I did ask around) and theirs is way less. I mean, definitely not 250 AED (because hello?), but way cheaper than local agencies. Theirs is based in Abu Dhabi. Note: I am not a broker, so you need to directly communicate with the agency.

Exit Re-entry Visa. This is important not only because you cannot travel without it, but also because it’s required by the bank for car authorization.

If you’re leasing your car, say like us; since we haven’t paid it in full (poor us), we had to go and get authorization from Alrajhi Bank, Alrawdha Branch (super far). That document costs around 36 SAR. Other banks charge more I think. They will only accept debit card payments, so you must have some money on your account. Note: If your wife owns the car, there’s a female section at the back side of the building where you will need to sign some documents; you must prepare the car registration (estimara), your iqamas (if she’s authorizing you) as well as your marriage contract, with Arabic translation.

More on the car: Even if your car is new, it is still good to have it checked. We discovered that the battery of our car corroded few hrs before our travel. It was crazy because we cannot run it for hours esp. with the threat that our new battery can get discharged again. Better to do the checking earlier than the 11th hour. You must also check your tyres. Have they been with you long enough that it could fail you while on a non-stop long drive? If you are unsure about your tyres, please, do buy a set (noting that spare is as important). Check your batteries, tyres, tools, and other emergency safety kits. If they’re all checked, you are good to go.

Gas: Going to UAE required us 2 full tanks of gas to reach the border (for a big car). Perhaps sedans and smaller SUVs would require 3 refills for the trip. But you know, the drivers know these things.  

Distance: As far as we can recall, we reached the border in 5 hours. We thought we’ve seen the Promised Land only to find out that we still have 6 more long hours to drive to reach Dubai city center. All in all, going there took us 11 long hours until we’re home sweet home — to our hotel. We’ll talk about that later. The trip homeward bound though is excruciating. We have used Waze all the freakin time so like the usual, it is so reliable except for the times that you didn’t solely rely on it and took a glance at Google Maps. We were taking Al Ahsa Road going back but it was a series of closed roads which Waze didn’t indicate albeit, driving us away (there must be a reason right?) but Google Maps encouraged our going there — on those closed roads! Why Google, why? We should have stayed with Waze but we wondered why it didn’t give us a reason for the detour. It’s a mistake on our part. It took us 2-3 extra hours going home due to the mishaps encountered along the way. We should have relied on Waze because it is live routing. Anyhoo, next time, we’d do better. 

Food: Of course, traveling long distance requires food. Make sure you’re all stocked up. There are several convenient stores along the way but it’s always better to have something packed before you go.

Hotels: Since my boss always asks me to look for hotels in downtown Dubai, I thought I’d check that out. Ohmigosh, the hotels there are pretty expensive! Like 6000AED above – per night!  So I compromised, looked elsewhere… but since I was booking the hotel super late, I missed the apartment type hotels that we liked! The practical suggestion is to book early on to get the best deals on hotels plus, with more choices. We stayed in Holiday Inn Al Rigga. It’s not bad. It’s a 4-star hotel as per Booking.com, but I tell you it’s not. The carpeting is old and there’s a funky smell on the corridors but considering our good experience including the facilities and service (not to mention the super comfy sheets), it’s worth considering again. It has an awesome location too especially for Filipinos who miss the Philippines and all its perks. If you’re like us, then this location is for you. The hotel is reasonably priced, from 14-19 June, we only paid 4300-4400 AED for the four rooms all together, excluding room service of course. They too have an interesting spa. I feel I must mention that, just go there and find out, if you dare.

So the thing is, hotels charge an extra 25% for the taxes (miscellaneous but it will be broken down accordingly) – according to my friend, the one who issued our visas from their agencies, they can get you a deal charging you with only 10% out of the 25% being taxed via Booking.com. If you’re interested, message me here and I’d hook you up.

UAE Tourist Spots: There are several places to visit in UAE. We have visited the Lego Land and the malls and my favorite Souq Madinat Jumeirah. I love it! That place satisfied the hipster in me and I think, that’s one of the best places ever. I loved Dubai Mall too, at least the Cyber Section (or whatever it’s called). I cannot wait to see the Warner Bros. theme park when it opens. By the way, we tried to go to Lamesa because it served Filipino food and pork of course, but it was closed, we came in too late. We also missed Regine Velasquez’s concert. Like I can make them watch that!  I mean given that it’s expensive plus, I think, I am the only fantard out there! All in all, I can say that we have maximized the time we’re there and we’ve gone to so many places, but since I am not a travel blogger, I would let others do the honors of detailing.

Fees / Immigration: Getting there, we paid 210 SAR at the border. My husband said that the fee was for GCC Car Insurance although I am kind of puzzled about the need since our insurance covers traveling GCC with exception of some countries but not UAE. We were asked to pay like it’s a standard procedure so I think it’s really necessary, of course, we paid.

Our iqamas served a vital role, you should have it ready at all times alongside the passports. Also, when you’re being scanned (retina, I think) at the immigration, open your eyes real wide especially if you’ve got the typical Southeast Asian eyes.

Returning to Riyadh has some fees too, we were charged 33 AED per person, but that’s it. They inspected us thoroughly for contraband (can you blame them?) otherwise, everything went with flying colors.

Again, I can hook you up with stress-free visa application and hotel accommodation with less tax (15% is significant!) but again, I am not a broker, you will be communicating with the agent directly.

Hope this helps.