re – How to avoid UK visa application mistakes

I read the following in Yesterday’s paper with much Zest.

Published: Sunday, 24 Aug 2008
EARLY last year, the former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Richard Gozney, made a statement that corroborated what many Nigerians already knew. He said, ”The UK Visa operation in Nigeria is one of UK‘s biggest and busiest in the world.”

Gozney added that within a space of 10 months (March to December 2006), ”The BHC has processed over 300,000 UK visa applications in Nigeria.” Out of this number, he did not state the percentage of those whose applications were successful or unsuccessful.

He did, however, provide a statement from which we can make a fair deduction. Gozney said only 8,000 out of the 28,000 Nigerians that applied for the British study visa in 2006 were successful.

What Gozney did not also say was that among the slightly over 75 per cent unsuccessful applicants and even those who were successful, were those who had applied for the visa for more than three times, as well as those who had made deposits of at least one year fee into registered and unregistered UK universities.

Patrick Odozi, a lawyer and an immigration consultant, says that in his class in the UK, where he studied, they were 18 Nigerians and none of them came on first application. Back in Nigeria, he says he frequently battles to help students seek the refund of their trapped one-year tuition fees after they have been denied visa by the BHC. Sometimes, these tuition fees are as much as £4,000, which is over N1m.

Indeed, the desperation of many of these students to escape from the harshness of their own country, is eating deep into their pockets, while their intended guests are raking in money handsomely for their government. The student visa application fee is N25,750, which means that of the 20,000 students that were denied visa in 2006, the nation lost N515m (about $4.1m). This is the minimum because there are cases of students, who had applied more than four times before they got the visa.

Odozi says that about 50 per cent of Nigerians, who apply for UK visas, have no business travelling to the UK in the first place.

Yet, each time they fail, the UK visa operation in the country tells them that they are at liberty to make fresh applications, and, of course, pay fresh visa fees.

These non-refundable visa fees are not peanuts. The fee for direct airside transit visit is N11,450 (about £50), while six months visit is N16,400. Longer visits of two years and above is N52,000 (more than £200), while the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme Visa, as well as the work permit visa are also N52,000. The fee for settlement visa is N130,000.

Gozney, who gave a summary of why many visa applications were not granted, said that the rejected 2006 student visa applications included those of candidates, who failed to fill their forms correctly and those who failed to give convincing evidences that they had been duly offered admissions or would be able to finance their education without recourse to public funds in the UK.

As simple as Gozney‘s reasons for the rejection of visa applications appear, Odozi believes that the UK visa application form is strewn with landmines and regrets that many people make the mistake of filling it in a hurry – some right there at the embassy – without seeking the help of an expert.

Odozi says, ”This form is a standard form that asks some questions that sometimes require just a ‘yes‘ or a ‘ no‘ answer and does not go into details to tell you that further information are needed to be disclosed. But then, the embassy will state, when they turn the person down, that they did not disclose those information.

”For example, a simple question that asks for your marital status will require that you must present your marriage certificate if you say you are married or a court order showing that you are divorced if that is what you indicated in the form and also the presentation of a detailed explanation regarding who holds custody of your children if you say you have kids.”

Another mistake many people make, Odozi says, is that they make the wrong application. ”Sometimes, some people do not know what they want to apply for and the moment you apply for the wrong thing, you may not know all the information you need to provide. If you are going to study, do not asterisk visiting on the form,” he says.

He gives the example of a heavily pregnant woman, who applied for visiting visa with the hope that her baby, if delivered in the UK, will be a British citizen. Odozi says this is not automatic, adding that if the woman had applied for medicals, it would have brightened her chances of getting the visa.

Again, he advises people not to fill the form with little residual knowledge. ”You need to be able to access all the laws that govern each type of application,” he adds. ”Take the right of abode as an example, you need to be conversant with the British Immigration Act and the Nationalities Act and not just rush and fill the form.”

Some people who apply for visiting visa also make the mistake of filling the form in such a way that the amount of money they earn does not correlate with how much they intend to spend in Britain. ”Someone who earns N80,000 in a month and says he wants to go on six weeks leave in Britain, where he intends to spend £2,000, has missed the point. Eighty thousand a month multiplied by 12 months is N960,000. The question is why anyone should want to blow over 50 per cent of his annual income in six weeks. Such a person is a potential candidate to be turned down. All these deductions are made from your answer to two simple questions that asks you how much you earn and how much you are travelling with. That is why I say most information are hidden and are intended to weed out people,” he says.

Some people also make the mistake of going to the Internet to apply to all sorts of schools and if such schools are not approved by the British Education Board for award of degrees such applicants are also potential candidates to be turned down. To avoid them, Odozi says an expert opinion counts. ”This kind of mistake is very costly because not only are the candidates denied the visa but they are on their own in recovering their trapped tuition,” Odozi says.

The greatest losers are those who do not have the intention of travelling to the UK in the right way. In this category, Odozi says, are those who fill the form without being educated about the harsh realities of life in the UK.

”We counsel such people not only to get the visa, but also on what they are likely to face if they find themselves in the UK. The tendency for such people to start suffering from the airport is 99 per cent because nobody is ready to help them. Everybody is hostile and in a hurry to catch the next train. The people are so cold and so individualistic that if you run out of money nobody is ready to lend you some.

”In any case, you must have a work permit before you can get the type of employment that will bring you under the British labour law. Some people think that going to Britain to attend school is to go and work. It is not so. The moment you land in Britain without the requisite documents, you end up working in what they call ‘Cababs,‘ that is to say you do menial jobs and those that will employ you are the Asians. The minimum wage in Britain is £5.35 per hour, but these Asians can pay you half of that and you work for 18 hours, maybe as a replenishment assistant and your job is to use your shoulder to offload goods from vehicles.

”Eighty per cent of Nigerians who are illegal immigrants in Britain are night watchmen. In three pubs that I frequent in the UK, the guys that stay in the toilets to give out toiletries like hand towels are Nigerians and they are graduates. Some read economics.

”If you go with a visitor’s visa of six months and stay put, first of all, if you ever commit a crime, you will be deported and you can also be banned from entering Britain for many years.”

source:How to avoid UK visa application mistakes

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What I thought about was the financial implications for the British Government, how much they are raking in on a monthly and yearly basis from the already-dry pockets of our brothers and sisters, who want to go abroad. At the end of the day, their visas would be denied.

Are there any Britons lining up in front of the Nigerian High Commission in the U.K, awaiting their visa approvals? How many foreign students want to come and study in Nigeria anyway? How about the daily arrival in droves of half-baked expatriates?


28 responses

  1. Does it not sadden you that no body wants Nigerians in their country? We have a VERY negative impression of Nigerians which is one of the reasons why I would encourage our government to restrict their entry into the UK.

    Get your home in order first, then, and only then, we might think of you people as humans. But for now, we’ve had enough of you lots cleaning our trains under the pretence that you’re all here on study visa.

  2. Don’t be saddened o. This is only the beginning.

  3. @Helen.H
    thanks for dropping by. Yes, theres a lot of negativity once ‘Nigeria’, or ‘Nigerians’ come into question. The major problem now is that any african looking person who does anything bad in any part of the world is summarized as a Nigerian.

    But you know what, Nigerians are one of the best peeps you could meet, if you meet the right ones. Every nation of the world has its own ups and downs, as far as positivity / negativity is concerned, and the U.K is not exempted. You just need to listen to people share their own experiences. There are thousands of Britons who have found and made Nigeria their permanent home. They are all over here. We love them, we accept them, they speak our language, wear our clothes, we hang out and have fun and don’t see any difference anywhere. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other Britons/Europeans in Nigeria who are a pain in the ass. There are, plenty.

    The point of my piece however was that the BHC has been, and is raising and making millions of U.S Dollars off their hapless visa-victims even when they(BHC) know from the onset that the visa’s applied for won’t be approved. Besides, they promote the idea that people could always re-apply and re-apply, and then again, they collect money, and deny the visa. What then is the point of telling people to re-apply? I would like to know where all the dough is going to, and how this monies are being transferred out of Nigeria. I see it as fraud, plain and simple.

    Please, note that the same goes for other BHC offices/related offices in Africa. To me, this is wrong and a great disservice.

    Nigerians value education. Some get theirs on a platter of gold, and others have to ‘clean trains’ to get it. Its the side of the coin we are on, at least for now. At the end of the day, the goal is achieved. Please note: Nigerians are the most educated Ethnic group in America. The U.K is the #1 destination for any Nigerian who wants to study, basically because of the long-relationship Nigeria has had with the U.K. Besides, see there are too many Nigerians in the U.K and ‘we’ actually didn’t/don’t, and won’t feel we have left home.

    See, for example: if I have paid my fees, and have all my application papers in place for studies at a University in the U.K, theres no point denying me a visa. I would just take it as an intentional denial for the purpose of extorting more money from my already dry pockets. This does not mean, however that there aren’t those who want to travel for all sorts of questionable reasons, which must be investigated.

    p.s, I’m speaking for as many as have lost money to the BHC. I haven’t lost money to them. I was ‘born and bred’.

  4. @lost: I now see you Nigerians have no morals. If this is the beginning, I see why your government does not care about your warfare as a society, as a people. We don’t find it hard to allow other Africans into the US; but with attitude like that, it re enforces the need to keep you guys out of our beautiful land.

  5. moneyforoldrope

    I hear you man, I’ve just been rejected for a graduate visa. I’m american trying to live in the uk, and this shit’s not easy and a lot these people in high commissions and consulates don’t care. I think you should tell all these racists that keep commenting on your page to get lost, they’re obviously missing the point.

  6. i really found ur site very refreshing and educative.imactually trying to apply for e uk visa

  7. @moneyforoldrope: Why do you Black people always think its racism when you don’t get your ways? There’s nothing racist about restricting particularly Nigerians entering the UK.

    We allow other Africans in with little or not restrictions, but you people have virtually destroyed your country have no morals; besides, your government as it stands is your main problem.

    Until the negative impressions the whole world have about you people fades, there’s always going to be restrictions on your country either you like it or not.

  8. @Helen Hunt
    “Why do you Black people….”

    I think you are the one that is seriously racist here Helen. You need to go get your stepping right man.

    – How/why did you know that moneyforoldrope is black. moneyforoldrope said he/she is American. Is America black? Is America white? what do you care anyway.

    The discussion is not about black or white or red or yellow. Its about the BHC and Nigeria/ns, and whatever the operations of the BHC are in Nigeria.

    Helen, the pot should not be calling the kettle black.

    As you can see, you have totally missed the point of the whole discussion.

  9. […] accountable for some rot of graduates our Universities produce, and no wonder, everyone wants to study abroad. Even the CBN topnotch could confidently say that  Nigerian graduates are not employable. I […]

  10. The BHC is a rogue institution that preys on the desperation of Nigerians! They are opportunists who’ve run amok because those who are meant to protect the interests of the citizen are cimplicit in the crime.

    Much as I disagree with Helen’s accusations of racism – this is not racism! – we DO have to clean up our acts if we’re to be taken seriously by the rest of the world. Thats the bitter truth. We can protest all we want, but so far as the status quo remains unchanged, nothing will move.


    Well, it beats my immagination that people will delibrately go off course out of prejudice. The matters addressed in the article was actually on a balanced scale; as touching on the BDHC and the individual UK visa applicants themselves. However, if I bother to join issues with the likes of Helen, I will simply advice that she goes back to school (apparently dominated by credible Nigerians) to be able to appraise situations in a modern world where the sins of a neglible few are not visited on the innocent majority. I schooled in the UK, and in my class of over 70 there were not more than 5 true British and the schools are infact being funded with the tuition from International students. The British are hardly ever seen in the classes and/or in good and popular courses. Prove me wrong please and let us take statics across the UK universities and colleges of Higher learning. They settle for the lowliest of trade and profession like animations; child psycology and the likes. Little wonder the well considered UK government’s introduction of schemes like the International Graduate Schemes (IGS)to keep the best within the employment industry in the UK. Odozi

  12. omirinde david oluwafemi

    i want to say nigerians are greate people, and i don’e like the idea of people tlking abou us in a very bad manner, am a student of the university of lagos nigeria and i my will like to travel to the uk to visit my family and friends. which i will have to come back home to finish with my school cos i believe there is future hear in nig. i inten to work in an oil company or a bank. pls everybody should start having good motives about nig, cos every country has its own ups and down.

  13. You can call 07038407093 some one will assist you if you have a genuine reseason to go to the UK

  14. Ok people, you all have to admit that Nigerians/Nigeria has image problem here in the UK, and I’m guessing everywhere else. Again, I might just be wrong – but judging by the tone and sentiments shown here, it reinforces what we already knew that you guys are in desperate need to escape.

    It’s not just me, but the whole world and UK government knows that most Nigerians are very hard working and at the same time have issues.

    I think the comments at No: 10 has put it perfectly – you guys have to clean up your act if you want the world to take you seriously. Its 2008 and not 1950’s; you people need to to move with the time and not just run away to someone else’s land.

    Ouch…that’s gotta hurt!

  15. Helen, you’ve made your point, now move on! No sense hanging around here telling us what WE collectively know.

    As bad as things are for us, YOUR country needs us. That’s why they are not in too much of a haste to implement more strict immigration laws they’ve been bragging about because they know they’ll loose a great deal of labour. Your people complain about foreigners taking away jobs when in truth most are too lazy and would not touch those jobs with a ten foot pole! You people want the perks without the consequences.

  16. The BHC and the British government are conspirators and partners in defrauding Nigerians.
    Nigeria is the second on the list of high visa applications for the UK.

    Even University Directors in the UK are pleading with government to allow more student visa so that there earnings would be more.

    In any case ECo’s should be more professional in giving verdicts on visa applications.
    Some reasons are flimsy and inconsistent.

  17. Actually i think NIGERIA is a very peaceful country.i came to nigeria for an exhibition.and it was interesting but am a citizen a of united kingdom…if u really need my help for u to get in there through ur visa lottery…u can call me on (+2348064719365) or u text me..u can also send me a mail. cos am still in nigeria right now and i will be going back to the UK before january…

  18. Collins U. Nwankwo, New York

    I do not know why any one would want to live in the UK. I think it’s a big waste of time. There are too many stupid people down there. They should be greatful to Nigerians for even visiting. It is a cold, lonely, depressing and frustrating country with high suicide rate.

  19. i need 2 know the present requirement of uk embassy as a nigeria 4 student visa.pls be sincere and is it possible to apply for an unconditional(no tuition deposit require)

  20. @Helen,
    you sound like someone who has little or no education,I leave in the uk and I have a lot of friends here who have serious family issues growing up,the kind of stuFfs you see here are strange,its cool that you love your country with the suicide rates and lazy old bones moving aroung,single mothers,men sleping and having kids from their children,need i say moreeeeeee.ohhhhhhhhhh
    Well sit in your lazy chair and dIscriminate like a racist what you know little or nothing about,I bet you are on of the welfare peeps so you dont know what hard work feels like,go on dear and restrict your income…………Limit yourself.
    Some people are determined to study and make it,Cleaning trains…….obviously from the daft side of u.
    *empty vessels make the loudest noise*
    Good day.

  21. onome andrew egbejule


  22. @helen hunt.
    u are probably an uneducated brat.U sound like a frustrated old maid.The reason u seat ur fat and bored ass in front of ur computer and write rubbish is because u dont have anything else to do.Ur country survives on what the hbc fraudlently takes from innocent applicants.That is ur only means of income cos u dont produce or export anything.U dont even go to school.U r a great example.We travel because we have the money to do so unlike u lazy asses that seat down and wait 4 credit.In our couts here,we have tried many britons for fraUD AND SCAMS .through travelling,u gather knowledge.That is why we r d best in everything so go back to school and refresh ur brain grandma.

  23. Hi FREL,
    You you know very little about the world, and less still about the dump advise that you give. No wonder you are in no position to form intelligent opinions of your own about any thing. Your ignorance stink, and reek with stupidity. You are an insular Xenophobe who regurgitates bigotry and false pride. It is because of people like you that Britons are reviled and ridiculed throughout the world.

  24. Hi FREL,
    You know very little about the world, and less still about the dumb advise that you give. No wonder you are in no position to form intelligent opinions of your own about any thing. Your ignorance stink, and reek with stupidity. You are an insular Xenophobe who regurgitates bigotry and false pride. It is because of people like you that Britons are reviled and ridiculed throughout the world.

  25. Hi Helen Hunt,
    You know very little about the world, and less still about the dumb advise that you give. No wonder you are in no position to form intelligent opinions of your own about any thing. Your ignorance stink, and reek with stupidity. You are an insular Xenophobe who regurgitates bigotry and false pride. It is because of people like you that Britons are reviled and ridiculed throughout the world.

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