Friday, December 19, 2008

Stories of a Visa Application - Context

Fast forward to Part I:
This story mainly takes place in the countries of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and Turkey. It is the story of Omer Cavusoglu's (born 03.08.1985, Istanbul) application for the UK Post-Study Work Visa and spans through the period of October 2008 and onwards.

The Visa: The Points Based System Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) (INF 25); in short, the Post-Study Work Visa, was introduced in the UK in 2008. It is somewhat the updated version of a previously similar scheme, that was called the International Graduate Scheme (IGS). It allows for non-British and non-EU immigrants who have completed a University Degree (Undergraduate, Master's, PhD.) in the UK to earn a 2-year long work and residence permit. As far as I know, this is one of the greatest advantages of studying in the UK as in many other countries your chances of extending your stay depends solely on finding a sponsor through finding a job, whereas the Post-Study Work Visa is intended to give you up to 2-years of permission to find this job after completing studies

The application process: There are two ways to apply for this visa:

1. Apply within the UK: You can apply for this visa whilst you are still in the UK, before your current visa runs out. In my case, this means I can apply for this visa within the UK before 05.01.2009.

2. Apply from outside the UK: You can apply for this visa from the country of your home residence. In my case this means I can apply for this visa from Turkey.

In either case, the applicants are eligible to apply for the Post-Study Work visa within 1-year from when they receive their UK-University Degree.

I have received this degree on 21 November 2008. Therefore, regardless of where I apply, I have until 21 November 2009 to do so, in order to obtain this type of Visa.

The application pack: This consist mainly of the following:

1. The Application Form: For applicants within the UK, this is a 47-page document, a lot of which consists of answering 'No' to questions like 'Have you ever tried to assault the Queen of the UK?', 'Have you ever thought about becoming a terrorist?' which the British formalise as 'any deeds that would suggest that you are not a decent citizen'. Apart from these funny bits and all other regular visa application information, the Form is quite straightforward and easy.

2. The UK-Degree: This is the Degree you obtaion from your University or Institution that states What you studied from When till When, in Which city and country and How were you awarded this qualification. Obviously, the Who question is also answered as your name proudly stands scattered around this Degree paper:

Omer Cavusoglu obtained his MSc. in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science on 21 November 2008. He has completed his course requirements, commencing on 1 October 2007 and ending on 1 October 2008. Bla bla bla bla....

3. Proof of evidence for your funds (Maintenance): The most tricky, cruel, blasphemical, troublemaking part of the application. The qualities of this Sub-Heading is directly related or affected by the decisions you make (or you are forced to make) for where you make your applicaton. The procedure is as follows:

You have to prove you have (and have had) sufficient funds in a bank account that clearly states your name. The general rule is that, on the day of application, you have to prove you have had the sufficient funds for at least 3 months. This means that if you are applying on 15 December 2008, your proof of evidence must consist of a Bank Letter OR your Account Movements OR Account Pass Books stating you have had sufficient funds on every single day between 15 September 2008 and 15 December 2008.

!! However, because Post-Study Work Visa was only introduced recently, the Home Office allowed until 31 October 2008, that those apply before 31 October had to show only a 1-month of sufficient funds. This was a special clause but a very important one. Keep this small note in your minds as it is essential for the story and I will refer back to this quite often. !!

The Amount of the Funds: Depending on where you apply, the amount of funds you have to prove for this 3-month period varies:

A. If you apply within the UK, you are obliged to show you have had £800 in your bank account for 3 months.

B. If you apply from outside the UK, you are obliged to show you have had £2,800 in your bank account for 3 months.

This section B is also extremely vital and I will refer back to it quite a lot of times, too.

4. Rest of the Documents: The generic documents you have to include for almost all applications such as Photos

5. Application Fee: Yet another very essential element of the story. This will be discussed in detail within the story. The basic information you have to bear in mind is that this is just one of those regular Application Fees you have to submit with your application and is non-refundable whatever the result of your application is.

From here on, I may pass on to the Story.

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