EATANDTREATS Guide to UK Visa Application (for Indonesians)

As you guys probably know, I just came back from The United Kingdom (UK) for food bloggers trip organized by Chowzter in partnership with Coca Cola, as well as attending the annual Chowzter Tastiest Fast Feast Award (more on that on another post, soon!)... One word: AMAZING! It has been one week full of fun and awesomeness and UK was just so breathtaking, I literally catch my breath everytime I went to the new corners like in Buckingham Palace or the super packed Oxford Street. One week was just not enough because apparently, there are so many things to explore in London. Gotta tell you more about my experience on different posts, this time I am going to talk about...actually more like sharing on how Indonesians apply for UK visa, this post is going to be really honest and expressive!

When I received the invitation via email I was just so exicted I literally screamed “Holy Fuck” in Starbucks Plaza Indonesia, but that was just a complete sincere and honest experession, usually when I got very happy I curse hahaha! Anyway, but then, not long after I remember one thing...

“Hold on Stanislaus Hans, you're Indonesian, you need a freaking visa!” *thunder storm*

For once, the thought of organizing visa kind of turned me down a lil’ bit, just this thought that I might fail the visa application or going to London was just too good to be true, but hey, you never know until you try right? It took me around 2-3 days to prepare every single thing because let me tell you upfront: UK visa application is probably one of the hardest and most demanding, demanding means all the things that you mentioned need to have credible sources or proof! So much different than the one I used to take care when I went to China.

As a first timer, I searched online and actually typed “UK visa application blog” or “Aplikasi visa UK blog”, I always type my searches with ‘blog’ because I love reading the not-so-stuctured writing because I found it more to the point and easier to ‘digest’, I didn’t even read anything from the official website.

So what’s actually the purpose of visa and why do we need it?
Personally, I think Visa is needed not only as another 'ticket' to enter certain countries, but also to make sure that you're going to come back to your origin, or not going to take advantage in certain countries, for example living for years unofficially, illegal workers and that's why there are few kinds of visa offered depending on your purpose.

First and the most essential:  You do have to know what kind of visa you want! This I couldn’t help much because you know what kind of visa you want, is it for visiting (holiday), work purpose or study purpose, this post is going to be talking about the visiting (holiday) purpose. For the information about visa click HERE!

So the first thing that you need to do is go to this link to apply HERE!. You need to make an account and fill out the UK visa application form ONLINE, there will be around 10-12 pages (forgot), it’s just some basic questions like your personal identity, your purpose of going to the UK, how long will you be staying, where will you be staying until your budgeting, now the budgeting was a little intimidating. If the system think you’ve done a decent job in filling everything, then the indicator will turn ‘green’ and your form is ready to be PRINTED!

Just so you know, I didn’t find any valid information about the amount of money you need to have if you want to go to UK, but I heard from some (wouldn’t say credible) sources that if you go alone, you need to have at least IDR 250mil ($25k) or even IDR 450mil ($45k) on your bank account, but since this trip is fully sponsored, I was kinda more guaranteed that I’ll be arriving and leaving UK on the time noted, and maybe because I have a credible trusting sponsor right from UK, I think one of many factors that I succeed.

After you fill the form, you need to book an appointment at the current VFS, but before that, for Indonesian applicators, we need to pay online, I was charged $132 or IDR 1,55 mil that time. Yes, apparently UK visa was also expensive -.-“, after the payment was successfully made, you’ll be directed to the “book an appointment” page and you could book an appointment on your desired date, you can even change your appointment, trust me, this one was not that official typical appointment you have in mind right now, it was actually when you collect all the supporting files, but do remember that arriving ON TIME is ESSENTIAL and DO NOT FORGET TO PRINT YOUR APPOINTMENT LETTER.

Talking about supporting files, what are you going to need to prepare?
-         Current and old passports (original, not copy), you could attach your old passports to maximum of 10 years of the current year (it’s 2014, so you could attach your passport from 2004). If you lost your passport like I did (LOL), you need to make a letter signed and sealed with materai stamp stating that you lost your old passport.
-         Copy of your ID, this was actually not needed because all your identity needed was stated at your passport already, but that’s very okay if you still want to attach it.
-         Two (2) ID photos, UK size, 3,5 cm x 4,5 cm. Please remember that you need to have the photo with CREAM WHITE or GREY background.
-         The last three months of your personal bank account financial report. This could be a copy.
-         If you’re a student, an official netter from your school/college is needed to prove that you are a student in that particular school.
-         If you’re a working profile (entrepreneur, working in the office), you need to include your NPWP number + your salary cheque from the last three until six months, but I guess three months should be okay.
-         I am very sorry to say this, but I am just going to say it what it is, if you think your parents do not have enough money (as mentioned before about the amount) and you have other family members that’s willing to sponsor you. People mistaken A LOT here, sponsoring doesn’t mean that the person's paying for every single thing, it’s actually a legal guarantee that if anything happening to you or if you’re doing any criminal activity, this person will be financially responsible, so it's simple, JUST BE NICE!
-         If one of your family members agree to sponsor you, then they have to prepare one sponsor letter (signed) by your family member, the last three months bank financial report (copy), copies of their passport (current and past) but make sure you copy TWICE on the page with the ID photo and identity, Copy of their ID, copy of NPWP number, copy of birth certificate to determine blood relationship between this person with your parents (copying your grandmother’s birth certificate is even better)

If you’ve prepared everything and they’re pretty much complete, then you’re pretty much done! Just wait until the appointment date came and gave all the files needed.

      THE DAY!
      Sharing you a little story about my appointment date, it was not a date date but it was totally an eye-opener and kinda changed my perspective a bit. So my appointment’s at 9AM but it’s stated that I need to come at 8:30AM so I came 8:30 sharp (earlier even better!). ALL of my electronic gadgets should be turned off, they have strict NO PHONE policy and they’ll do a security check on you. My impression was like “how anymore strict this could be?”.

      VFS has just moved to its new crib in Kuningan City 2nd floor and since I couldn’t capture anything, I would describe it in words. The reason why you should NOT forget to bring your printed appointment letter is because the letter will be your identity number. Both concept and venue were actually pretty much like a hospital, all white and you need to wait for your name to be called to the counters. The VFS in Kuningan City is where the UK and Australia UK applicants submit their files, so it’s a little packed even in the morning, but surprisingly, after sitting on the counter, IT WAS NOT STRICT OR INTIMIDATING... AT ALL! After my name was called, the server was actually very polite, very humble and was smiling a lot, far from what I have pictured in mind before, after submitting your files you would have to wait a little more until you’re being called for finger print scans and iris (eye) scan, and after that , you’re pretty much done! The visa processing took around 2 weeks because all the files should be sent over to Bangkok for further checks and legalization, but I got mine for only 9 days. The day I pick up my visa was also kind of heartstopping, because I got notified only by email on the 7th day (without informing whether I pass or fail the visa application) and it was Friday, so I have to wait until Monday to see the result! That’s probably the first time I wished weekends didn’t exist.

      Monday, April 20th 2014 I would NEVER forget, I opened the last page of my passport and found the UK visa sticker! Very berry happy!

-         Now this post is dedicated for those who prepare the visa by themselves, hiring an agent to do everything might be easier, but seriously, the experience you just can’t buy, it’s almost like pursuing some kind of happiness HAHAHA!!!
-         If you want to be notified with SMS, you need to pay IDR 40k extra charge
-         If you want the express visa processing (took 4 days), an additional IDR 2mil will be charged to your account, this might be for those with very urgent needs.

   THANK YOU FOR READING! Hoping this would help you! Whoever is applying for a UK visa right now, GOOD LUCK!!! Stay tuned for my London diaries! And if you want to see my London photo feed on Instagram, you could search for the #eatandtreatsLONDON. Pretty diligent right now so I am going to post it QUICK!!!

In a nutshell, applying UK visa is NOT intimidating! Make sure your documents are ready and you're on board!

If you have anything to ask about this, kindly comment below and I WILL reply (special for this one) or email me personally on the email below.