The number of Nigerian immigrants to the United Kingdom is one of the highest immigration to the United Kingdom. Other African countries with significant immigration to the United Kingdom include South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya. There are currently a significant number of Nigerians in the United Kingdom that the UK Government has granted permanent residence and British citizenship.
If you want to travel to the UK to study, work, visit or join your family from Nigeria, you will need to apply for a UK Visa. There are different types of UK Visa based on where the applicant is coming from, why the applicant wants to come to the UK, how long the applicant wants to stay for, and the applicant’s circumstances and skills.
Are you planning to apply for a UK visa? If you are, this article is for you. You can follow the steps outlined in this guide to apply for a UK visa in Nigeria.
Applying for UK visa in Nigeria
Step 1: Choose the type of UK visa based on the traveling purpose
You can begin by going to the “visas and immigration” portal on the Gov.UK website to choose the type of UK visa that applies to your traveling purpose. The choice of the type of UK visa you will need to apply for in Nigeria is dependent on what you are traveling to the UK for. Below are the traveling purposes and the visa types:
1. For Tourism
As a Nigerian, you will always need a UK visa to enter the United Kingdom for tourism. Most times, the type of visa you will need to apply for is a Standard Visitor Visa.
2. For work, academic research, or business
To work, or do business, or engage in academic research in the UK from Nigeria, you will need to apply for a UK visa. The type of UK visa you will need to apply for in this category depends on your circumstance.
- Skilled Worker Visa: You can apply for this if you have been offered a skilled job in the UK, a job in the public sector health or social care, a role in your employer’s UK branch, etc.
- Temporary Worker Visa: This is suitable when you want to work in the UK for a short time, maybe for sports, arts, and entertainment, etc.
- International Agreement Visa: if you are doing a work covered by International law while in the UK, then, this is suitable for you.
- Startup Visa: This is suitable if you’re starting a business for the first time in the UK.
- Innovator visa: Suitable if you’re an experienced businessperson with funds to invest
- Global Talent visa: This is to work as a leader in academia, research, arts, culture, or digital technology.
- Investor visa: Suitable if you want to invest £2 million or more in the UK.
- UK Ancestry visa: if one of your grandparents was born in the UK.
You can also apply as a domestic worker in a private household or representative of an overseas business.
As a Nigerian, you will need a visa to study in the UK, and the type of visa depends on your circumstance.
- Short-term study visa: If you’re studying on an English language course for up to 11 months.
- Student visa: If you’re traveling to the UK to study on a further or higher education course.
- Child Student visa: If you’re aged 4 to 17 and going to the UK to study at an independent school.
4. Transit (on your way to somewhere else)
Most times, you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa.
5. Join partner or family for a long stay
You will need to apply for a UK visa to be able to join your partner or family in the UK for a long stay. The type of visa you must apply for is a “Family visa”.
However, if your close family member or partner is a citizen of an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, and have been living in the UK before 1 January 2021, you will apply for a free family permit instead of a visa.
6. Get married or enter into a civil partnership
To get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK, you will need to get a Marriage Visitor Visa. To stay permanently in the UK, you will need to apply for a Family visa if your partner has British citizenship or permanent residence.
7. Stay with your child, if they are at school
You can apply for a Parent of a Child Student visa if your child is under 12 and at an independent day school. If they’re 12 or over, you can apply for a visa to visit them for up to 6 months.
8. Get private medical treatment
You will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa to get private medical treatment in the UK.
Note that if you are traveling to the UK for official diplomatic or government business (including transit through the UK) purposes, you will not need to apply for a UK visa in Nigeria. Also, you will find the documents required for each type of UK visa on the website.
Step 2: Prepare your visa application
Most UK visas are applied and paid for online on the Gov.UK website. Also, there is no joint visa application and payment. That is, each person seeking to travel to the UK will apply and pay for a visa individually on the Gov.UK website. Ensure that you fill the application form with accurate and precise details.
When can you apply on the Gov.UK website?
- 3 months before your planned travel date for visit visas
- 3 months before your employment start date for most work visas
- 6 months before your course start date for Student and Child Student visas
Settlement applications take up to 6 months and must be approved before you travel to the UK from Nigeria. If you’re permitted to settle in the UK, you must travel before your permission ends.
After you have filled out the application fee on the website, you will need to pay for the Visa application. There is a fee for each visa. The fee depends on which visa you apply for. You can choose to pay more to get a faster decision for some visas. You will pay the same fees for each of your family members you want to travel to the UK with.
Pay for healthcare
You’ll also need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your UK visa application, if you’re applying for a visa to work, study, or join your family, applying to stay for more than 6 months, and not applying to live permanently in the UK.
Proving you do not have tuberculosis (TB)
If you want to travel to the UK for more than 6 months from Nigeria, you will also need to have a TB test. You must provide a certificate showing you do not have TB with your visa application.
Step 3: Proving your identity
When you apply for UK visa from Nigeria, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide documents to show your eligibility. To do this, you will either go to an appointment at a visa application centre or use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ smartphone app. You will find out if you need to go to an appointment or use the smartphone app when you start your application.
If you need to go to an appointment at a visa application centre, you will be asked to make an appointment at the visa application centre in Nigeria to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photograph). To book an appointment you will be redirected to the TLSContact website. You will then choose the Visa application centre in Nigeria where you will submit your documents.
The Visa application centers are in Abuja, Lagos Ikeja, and Lagos Victoria Island. Then, you also book a date and time for an appointment. Note that the same Visa application centre you choose for your document submission will be the same location for your appointment.
Upon booking an appointment, you will receive a unique reference number. At the appointment, you will submit the documents which show your eligibility. The document checklist in your application will explain what to provide.
If you need to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ smartphone app, you will be asked to use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document and submit a digital photo of your face. You will need to scan and upload documents that show your eligibility as part of your online application. The document checklist in your application will explain what to provide.
Step 4: Getting a decision on your application
When you have applied for a UK visa and attended the scheduled appointment at the Visa application centre of your choice in Nigeria, the result of your application will be sent to you via a letter or an email. The result will explain to you what you need to do next.
If your visa application is successful, you will be given a sticker(also known as a vignette) if you gave your biometric information at a visa application centre, or access to view your immigration status information online if you used the smartphone app to prove your identity.
The sticker(vignette) or online immigration status information contains information like the type of visa you have been granted (for example, a student visa), the visa’s issuance and expiry dates, and the visa conditions.
In the case where your application is refused, you will be sent a letter or an email stating why your application was not accepted. Your passport will be returned if it was kept as part of your application.