In this post you’ll find out how to apply for a UK visa from Nigeria in 6 easy steps:
- STEP 1: how to get started with your UK visa application
- STEP 2: how to make an online UK visa application
- STEP 3: how to calculate the UK visa fees
- STEP 4: how to book an appointment at a visa application centre to enrol your biometric data
- STEP 5: how to find out UK visa processing time information
- STEP 6: how to book your travel and accommodation in the UK
This information is provided by the Founder & CEO of Help with my visa! Gareth Richards, who has set up and ran UK visa application centres in 89 different countries and was personally responsible for setting up the UK visa application centres in Abuja and Lagos.
STEP 1: How to get started with your UK visa application
You’ll need to do a number of things before you even start making your UK visa application.
The first thing may seem obvious but it’s surprising how often it’s overlooked, and that’s to define your travel purpose.
Why are you applying for a UK visa?
This dictates everything you do from now on, so it’s extremely important to define why you’re planning to travel to the UK.
After you’ve defined your purpose, you need to decide which UK visa is best for you.
And here you might have several options.
We have 3 resources you can use to help you decide which UK visa you need:
> Check out our What UK visa do I need? blog post to get a detailed view of every type of UK visa
> Use the Help with my visa! Signposting Tool to find out exactly how to get the right help preparing your UK visa application
> Book a Visa Consultation with a professional immigration adviser, who will answer all your questions and tell you exactly how to proceed (we even have a Nigerian expat who runs one of the immigration law firms we work with if you’re like to speak with a compatriot)
You’ll also need to check whether you need to take a Tuberculosis (TB) test for the type of visa you’re applying for.
Once you have all your supporting documents prepared and in order, you can start your online UK visa application.
Want somebody to help prepare your supporting documents for you?
You can appoint a professional immigration adviser to handle your UK visa application for you.
They’ll also answer all your questions, complete your UK visa application form and book an appointment at your chosen visa application centre in Abuja or Lagos.
And if you need to follow-up with UK Visas & Immigration, your immigration adviser will do this for you.
We partner with a number of UK-based professionals who help people applying for UK visas from Nigeria, including Nigerian expats who run immigration law firms.
So if you have questions about your UK visa application or just don’t want the hassle of preparing it yourself you can use an immigration adviser to do it for you.
You can find out more about why people like you use immigration advisers in this post.
STEP 2: How to make an online UK visa application
Virtually all UK visa applications are now made online.
You should only start filling your UK online visa application form once you’ve gathered all your supporting documents and have checked that you passport is valid for travel, otherwise you could waste a lot of time having to re-do the online application.
The UK online visa application form isn’t a ‘form’ as such, but rather a series of questions that you’ll be asked to complete.
It’s super important you know which type of UK visa you need as the information requested during the online application process differs depending upon which type of UK visa you’re apply for.
And if you apply for the wrong UK visa type, you significantly increase the risk of a visa refusal.
So before you begin, make sure you’ve completed Step 1 above, then find a quiet space with a good internet connection to get started on your online UK visa application form.
Even with all your supporting documents and passport prepared in front of you it typically takes 1 hour or more to complete the UK visa application form.
When you start the form you’ll be asked to create an account – make sure you enter an email address that you have access to as you’ll need to verify your account before you can begin.
Filling out the online UK visa application form is relatively straightforward, but it just takes time.
At the end of the form you’ll be given one last chance to review and amend any of the information you’ve entered.
DO NOT click the button to confirm unless you’re sure everything is correct as after this point you won’t be able to make any more changes. When you confirm your online UK visa application form is sent directly to UKVI and the only way to change anything is to start a completely new visa application form.
STEP 3: How to calculate the UK visa fees
You’ll pay a number of different fees when making a UK visa application depending upon the choices you make and the type of visa you’re applying for.
All fees are paid online so as part of your preparations it’s worth checking with your bank or card issuer that your account is set up to make international payments and payments in GBP. Not all bank accounts and credit cards have this capability as standard so it’s good to check as this is a frequent issue for people applying for a UK visa from Nigeria and other African countries.
Unfortunately you can’t pay the UK visa fees any other way than online, so if you don’t have a suitable payment card you should see what other options may be available to you, such as:
> asking a trusted friend or family member to make the online UK visa fee payment for you
> buying a pre-payment credit card that has international and foreign currency payment authorised
> using a UK-based immigration adviser to prepare your entire UK visa application who will accept a bank transfer from you and then make the online UK visa fee payment on your behalf
Here’s more details on the fees you’ll be asked to pay.
UK Visa Fees
UK visa fees are mandatory fees and differ depending upon:
> the type of UK visa application you’re making
> the duration of the visa
> whether you’re a lead applicant or a dependent
> other factors
It’s therefore not always easy to understand what the UK visa fees will be.
UKVI publishes all UK visa fees online and updates them frequently.
Here’s a quick overview of the current UK visa fees for the most common visa types:
UK Visitor Visa
UK Visitor visa < 6 months: £95
UK Visitor visa <2 years: £361
UK Visitor visa <5 years: £655
UK Visitor visa <10 years: £822
UK Settlement Visa
UK Settlement visa: £1,523
UK Settlement visa (other dependent relative): £3,250
UK Settlement visa (refugee dependent relative): £388
UK Work Visa
UK Tier 2 visa: £610
UK Health and Care visa: £232
UK Tier 5 visa: £244
UK Study Visa
UK Student visa: £348
UK Child Student visa: £348
Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
If you apply for a UK visa from Nigeria that’s >6 months in duration and you intend to reside in the UK you may also be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
This charge is levied against visa nationals residing in the UK and goes towards healthcare provision on the NHS.
The IHS charge is £620 per year and is applied pro rata for the duration of your visa.
For example, if you’re issued with a 30-month Tier 2 General Work visa your IHS charge will be £620 x 2.5 years = £1,550.
You don’t need to pay the IHS charge if you’re applying for a UK Visitor visa or if you meet other criteria, such as if you’re applying for a UK Health and care visa.
Priority Visa and Super Priority Visa Fees
UKVI offers two fast-track services to speed up the decision time when you apply for a UK visa from Nigeria.
The Priority Visa service reduces the UK Visitor visa processing time to 5 working days, and also reduces the processing times for many residency-type visas from several months to 3 weeks.
The Super Priority Visa service is only available for a limited number of UK visa types and offers a next working day decision.
Priority Visa and Super Priority Visa fees aren’t cheap and the service standard is only guaranteed if there are no irregularities with your visa application.
UK Priority Visa Fees
UK Visitor visa: £212
UK Settlement visa: £573
UK Super Priority Visa Fees
UK Super Priority visa: £956
You’ll be asked to select the Priority Visa or Super Priority Visa (if it’s available in your location) during your online application process. You’ll also pay the fees online at the same time you pay your visa fees.
Mandatory User-pay Visa Application Centre Fees
There are 3 visa application centres in Nigeria; one in Abuja and two in Lagos (Victoria Island and Ikeja).
The visa application centres in Abuja and Victoria Island are free to use, but the Ikeja visa application centre – which is the biggest – has an additional fee for using it.
This ‘mandatory user-pays’ visa application centre fee is currently set at £55 per person and is paid along with all other fees on the UKVI website during the online application process.
STEP 4: How to book an appointment at a visa application centre
After you’ve submitted your online UK visa application form and paid the required fees, you’ll need to book an appointment at one of the 3 UK visa application centres in Nigeria to enrol your biometric data.
Your UK visa application isn’t complete until you do this.
The UK visa application centres in Nigeria are operated by a UKVI commercial partner, TLScontact, and are located in Abuja and Lagos (one in Victoria Island, the other in Ikeja).
Ikeja is the largest UK visa application centre in Nigeria but is also a mandatory user-pays site so there’s an additional fee for using it.
Abuja and Victoria Island are free to use.
To book an appointment, click the link on the UKVI website after you’ve submitted your UK visa application form and you’ll be taken to the TLScontact website.
Here you need to create an account and book an appointment at your chosen UK visa application centre.
TLScontact also offers a number of other added value services to enhance your visa application experience, and you can select them as you go through the appointment booking process. Before you can confirm your appointment you’ll need to make another online payment for any of the added value services you’ve chosen.
When you’e finished, you’ll be sent an email confirmation (and receipt for any added value services purchased) to the email address you used to register the account.
Keep this email confirmation safe and print a copy to take to the visa application centre with you.
STEP 5: How to find out UK visa processing time information
UK visa processing times depend on many factors so should only ever be taken as guidelines.
UKVI publishes its UK visa processing time service standards so you can see how long it can take for you to receive a decision.
UK visa processing times start from the day you enrol your biometrics at the visa application centre and work on the basis that 1 week = 5 working days. Therefore if you’re applying for a UK visa from Nigeria around Nigerian or UK public holidays it may take a day or two longer than the published service standard.
Here’s an overview of the UK visa processing time service standards for the most common types of UK visa.
UK Visitor Visa Processing Time
UK Study Visa Processing Time
UK Work Visa Processing Time
UK Settlement Visa Processing Time
If you need your UK visa faster, you may be able to use the Priority Visa or Super Priority Visa services to reduce the processing time.
You must select and pay for these services during the online visa application process as they can’t be added to your application afterwards.
Service standards for the Priority Visa and Super Priority Visa are given below.
UK Priority Visa Processing Time
5 working days
UK Super Priority Visa Processing Time
Next working day
When your UK visa application has been processed you’ll receive emails from UKVI and TLScontact informing you that your passport is being returned and when you can pick it up from the UK visa application centre.
You can only pickup your passport from the UK visa application centre at which you originally applied and enrolled your biometric data.
If you purchased the courier return service from TLScontact, they’ll mail your passport back to you at the address you provided.
STEP 6: How to book your travel and accommodation in the UK
Unlike many other countries, you don’t need to book your travel and accommodation before you make your UK visa application.
In fact, UKVI actively discourages it.
So when you’ve got your UK visa from Nigeria you can look at making your travel arrangement and organising everything else you need for your trip.
Here are just a few affiliates and partners we work with whom we’d highly recommend.
Travel to the UK on your terms on a private aircraft operated by Jetseta. With bases in Abuja and Lagos, Jetseta provides affordable flights to London Stansted on a range of private jets. You can book a seat on a chartered flight or hire a private jet for your entire party.
Find out more and give them a call to discuss your needs. Prices are comparable to flying British Airways Business but with the added flexibility of operating to your schedule.
Trainline is the largest independent train ticket booking service in the UK. If you need to travel by rail during your stay, you can book your train tickets in advance on Trainline.
Flexible tickets are available so you can take a different service if you need to change your schedule.
Booking.com has millions of hotels, homes, apartments and other places to stay around the world, includes thousands of fantastic properties throughout the UK.
Use the booking tool to search for accommodation availability where you’re staying and Booking.com will price match to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Smart Currency Exchange
If you need to exchange a lot of Naira to GBP then you want to be absolutely sure you’re getting the best currency deal.
Smart Currency Exchange specialises in large foreign currency transactions, having helped people exchange more than £5bn since 2007.
They provide a personal service that’s perfect for students, investors and people moving permanently to the UK.
Smart Currency Exchange is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and you can get a free, no obligation quote by clicking the button below to find out more.