An unrealistic visa timeline that somehow managed to work

Unlike others who have a calm, set plan for their move overseas, the entire experience came as a last-minute surprise for me. This timeline shows just how quickly I managed to pull everything together for a move abroad.

Three months after graduating from university, six months into a fruitless job search for positions in the U.K., and 1 month before a scheduled flight to England, I stumbled upon the BUNAC Intern in Britain Scheme.

Initially, I had planned to simply visit the U.K. and finish out my tourist visa for 3 months. But once the opportunity arose to stay for 6 in a professional setting, I jumped at it.

The timeline below shows how quickly it all happened, plus gives a realistic idea of just how long it actually takes to complete a visa application.

Overview of Days in August Spent Working Toward Visa



August 5, Friday

Sent in my application for two internships.

August 6, Saturday

Opened account with BUNAC.

August 8, Monday

Heard back from internship #1. Set up interview.

August 10 , Wednesday

Interview with internship #1. Received informal offer.

August 11, Thursday

Received formal offer from internship #1. Accepted as it was my first choice.

August 12, Friday

Emailed professor for BUNAC reference. Received reference back same day… what a gem!

August 13, Saturday

Paid $100 fee to BUNAC, uploaded all required documents except insurance information.

August 15, Monday

Paid remaining $655 fee. Sent Employer Agreement to internship site.

August 16, Tuesday

Uploaded new insurance info. Still did not qualify.

August 17, Wednesday

Finally bought travel insurance (a requirement to receive sponsorship) through BUNAC. Internship finished their Employer Agreement.

August 18, Thursday

Paid $150 internship site visit fee after finding out one would be required.

August 19, Friday

Site visit conducted. Informed that it went well and C.o.S. is now processing.

August 23, Tuesday

Follow-up interview with internship #2 asking me to reconsider (I did not).

August 25, Thursday

Repacked suitcases. Still waiting for Certificate of Sponsorship to come through.

August 31, Wednesday

21 days—and 15 business days—from the start of the application, my Certificate of Sponsorship came through.

Spent all day, from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. doing the online visa application process and organizing relevant documents. Paid for priority shipping and one day Airbills through UPS for shipment of visa documents.

Changed my flight (which is supposed to leave in 5 days) to leave in 18 days for a whopping $1,208. It was a sad day for my wallet.

Overview of Days in August Spent Working Toward Visa



September 2, Friday

Organized all of my visa documents. Went to drug store and had new passport photos taken and printed for $24.38.

September 6, Tuesday

The day after I was originally supposed to leave, I attended my biometrics appointment. Then went to UPS and mailed off all of my visa documentation to New York using prepaid postage.

September 7, Wednesday

Visa package arrived in New York by 10:30 a.m.

Called phone and bank companies to let them know I’d be out of the country.

September 8, Thursday

Received email that UKVI has my documents and are beginning to process the visa.

September 9, Friday

Did a final repack of all suitcases once new carry-on bag arrived.

September 13, Tuesday

14 days—and 10 business days—from completing online visa application (and including the time it took to attend the biometrics appointment), I received an email that I was successful and my passport would be mailed back to me.

September 14, Wednesday

UPS returned passport complete with new Tier 5 Visa attached! It took UK Visas and Immigration in New York only 4 business days to process my visa, 6 days including shipping.

September 18, Sunday


Obviously, it wasn’t cheap to rush a visa application, and my overall dream of moving to England also came at an expense, but in the end, I’m hoping the experience will be well worth it.

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