UK visa question
June 1, 2008 5:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm applying for a UK working holiday visa. I'm Australian. The rules on the britaus website state that I must be in the UK within three months of my application. The website also says I should apply in my own country. Hm. I was planning on travelling for around 5 months BEFORE landing in the UK.

I called the expensive helpline and asked if I could apply in another country if I had to, and they said there were no guarantees and that it was at the discretion of whichever consulate I went to.

I've never applied for a visa before. Does anyone know if my chances are good with applying in a country other than my own? A friend of mine got one when he was in Holland, but that was a few years ago and I'm not sure if the UK has changed things to make it harder. I could do it in either Canada or Berlin. I'd be a bit nervous about sending away my passport while in a foreign country but if I knew there were others who did it recently I might feel a little more confident.

My other choice is to cut down my travelling in Nth America considerably and going to activate the visa in the UK before going again to Berlin which was where I was planning on going first. It ain't ideal...
posted by mooza to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's my understanding (as someone who's applied for a bunch of UK student visas) that you can only apply for a visa from a country that you are currently resident in. From my dealings with UK High Commissions, you're not likely to get a visa in a country where you're a visitor - it's likely they'd assume that there's something you're trying to hide or that you're trying to play the system. I was strongly discouraged from applying for a visa from a country where I was not resident. I think the thing to remember here (and this is hard for those of us who are used to being freely mobile) is that you really don't have the right to be anywhere but Australia; the United Kingdom is entirely within its rights to make its own rules, even when they don't seem to make a lot of sense, and you have to follow these rules whether you like it or not.

Could you perhaps travel in North America after your time in the UK? Or, there are often very very very cheap seat sales from London to various North American cities - perhaps you could take advantage of one of these and travel in North America during your time in the UK?
posted by lumiere at 9:20 AM on June 1, 2008

You should follow the rules of the Home Office. Apply in your country of residence and change your plans so that you enter the UK and start your visa period within three months of receiving you visa.

I can think of two longshot options for you to do what you want. You could apply for the visa in Australia, and then somehow get your passport back so you can go on a trip while your application is being considered. See if this is a possibility. Presumably considering the application will take the UK immigration officials in Australia some time, during which you could be doing some of your 5 months of travel. However, if you manage this, you will most likely have to return to Australia when your visa application is approved to give them your passport and get the visa inserted in it.

Another unlikely option you might look into is getting a second passport. The U.S. will issue a second passport for citizens traveling to countries where one doesn't like another's entry stamps, like Egypt with Israel's for example. You could then send one passport in to the UK officials, and travel on the other one while your paperwork is processed.

Not sure if any of the above will work, but hope it helps.
posted by yoz420 at 3:45 PM on June 1, 2008

FWIW, my Working Holiday Visa application, lodged in Canberra last year, took ten days to process. I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'activate' but my visa is dated from the day I picked up my passport, and good for two years from then. When I applied, I'm pretty sure the Britaus site said to apply 'about' three months ahead; it's evidently become more strict on that since then. I would be inclined to follow the advice on that page and plan accordingly.

I wouldn't risk being separated from my passport in another country personally. YMMV.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:13 PM on June 1, 2008

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