Applying for a UK tourist visa

Are you planning to visit family or friends in the UK? Here are steps you need to take when applying for your visa.

STEP ONE: Check if you need a visa

You may be required to have a visa before travelling to the U.K.. Ghanaian citizens need a visa.

STEP TWO: Gather your supporting documents

The visa officers want to know you intend to return to your country after your visit. They also want to see that you have ties in the country you are applying from. This could be proof of ongoing education, proof of employment with regular income, property or family.

STEP THREE: Apply online

You must apply online for your visa.


Online application page

It is a 5 step process which requires you to provide your personal details, parents information and travel history.

In the final step, you make payment and choose your appointment date. UK visa fees are ridiculous! The amount you pay is dependent on the length of stay (July, 2018).

A Standard Visitor visa costs £93 (< 6 months)  = 100EUR/110USD

Long term standard visitor fees:

  • 2 years – £350 – 415EUR/489USD
  • 5 years – £636 = 754EUR/888USD
  • 10 years – £798 = 946EUR/1114USD

STEP FOUR: Attend your appointment

The UK embassy accepts visa applications through a third-party called TLScontact. They are responsible for taking your biometrics and transporting your passport and supporting documents to the UK for your visa.

On the day of your appointment, they will collect all the documents you want to submit, take your biometrics – fingerprints, photo and a signature. You will also be asked to say your name and date of birth whilst looking at the camera.

Their services are not free. In addition to the visa fees, you also have to pay a fee to TLScontact. Depending on how fast you want your documents shipped, you can pay for their ‘added value service’.

After your appointment

Track your application using your GWF number (number generated after completing the online application) on the TLScontact website. It looks like this:


They claim it’s real time but does not look real-time. See how they skipped ‘decision made’ and ‘ready for courier return’? Someone most likely forgot to update the status.

When your passport is ready to be despatched, you will receive an email and within 1-3 days, your passport will be returned to you.

STEP FIVE: Book your flight to the UK

Assuming your visa application is approved, you will receive the visa sticker with  your specified duration. Check that the information is correct. Especially how your name is spelt.

If your visa is refused, they will include a document stating their reason for the visa refusal.



16.07.18 – Submitted online application
18.07.18 – Supporting documents submitted to TLScontact
20.07.18 – Documents received by UKVI
07.08.18 – Email from UKVI that my passport has been despatched
08.08.18 – Passport received
–> 3 weeks just like they mentioned on their website

More information about the application process can be found here.

3 thoughts on “Applying for a UK tourist visa

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