My daughter recently got unconditional offer for a 3 year undergraduate from a UK university. We are all US Citizens living in CA. Her start date is Oct 7th. I have few questions regarding the Visa process and clarity on the time duration between each step of the process:
- The Gov.uk site says that we need to apply maximum 3 months before the start of course. We have a planned family travel starting July 25th out to another country for 4 weeks which will require us to have her passport with us. Which means we have to apply after July 7th so that by July 25th she gets her passport with student visa. Due to this time constraint, I am considering to use the San Francisco Premium application center for processing. If I buy the Bronze package, will it be enough time to get the Tier 4 (Student) visa?
- What is the difference in processing times between the Bronze, Silver package and the regular self-managed process? Can the visa process be expedited by myself without using any of the premium packages?
- The requirement to apply “3 months before the course start” is considered from the time you submit the online application OR from the time you go for an actual appointment at the SF Premium center? Meaning, can I do the online paperwork in advance, so that I get the appointment as close to July 7th?
- How many days of wait is usually to get the appointment either at the regular support center and the Premium support center?
- Is there an option to apply for the Visa without having to send the original passport so that while we are in travel, the Visa process can continue?
- Alternative to all this that we apply for her visa after returning from our international travel in end of August. Again, the question is if that will be enough time from start to finish?
- Somewhere on the UK govt site, I see an option to to ask them question via email, but it has an associated charge to ask question via email. Anyone used this service?
Thanks for your help in advance.