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I am German and I applied for a UK visa using the online form. Please excuse my naivete, but I have not dealt with any of this before and I am just starting to see all the details that I am missing.

First, I realized that I do not know what a visa is pyhsically. Is it a card like my ID, or more like a sheet of paper, or is it a sticker and/or stamp in my passport?

Then, I realized that I have no clue how I will get hold of my visa once it is granted. Since I applied online, I have not been at any "visa application center" or the like. Will I be informed about this once the visa is granted? Will I get it in Germany or once I travel to UK for the first time? Will I have the option to receive it via mail? Will I have to give away my passport for some time, and if so, for how long?


Some more information requested in the comments

I applied for a Global Talent visa (initially Skilled Worker, as mentioned in the comments, but this changed) via the online application service of GOV.UK. I will stay there for at least three years.

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    I am pretty sure that this question belongs in travel.SE more than expats.SE, as someone who doesn't even know what a visa IS is requesting one from an "online service", chances are that they are not an expat. Jul 29 at 2:57
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    The only reason a German would need a visa is to take up residence and/or work. For this reason the question should have remainded on the expats site. Jul 29 at 5:18
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    @CMaster Based on what the OP has written, we don't know what type or for which reason they have applied for a visa. Where does the 3 months come from? For German citizens the general rule is: You can stay in the UK as a tourist for up to 6 months without a visa. Jul 29 at 9:56
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    @MarkJohnson His other question states: "I am about to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa." I agree this should be sent back to Expatriates. Jul 29 at 18:36
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    Pretty much all of your questions are answered here gov.uk/apply-to-come-to-the-uk
    – Traveller
    Jul 29 at 23:01
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Traveller provided a link to a helpful government site. Indeed, here it is written

If your application is successful

You’ll be given either:

  • a sticker (called a vignette) that goes in your passport - if you gave your biometric information at a visa application centre
  • access to view your immigration status information online - if you used the smartphone app to prove your identity

The latter bullet point then applies to me.

The reason that I have not immediately checked GOV.UK for this information was, that I somehow thought that distributing the "physical visa" is the job of the German state. I know better now.


Another relevant fact that I just learned about my case: if I travel through the UK border, I do not need to present any data (such as a QR code on my mobilde device etc.), but the immigration status information is automatically available to the relevant personnel.

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    (+1) Thanks for following up and answering your own question. To provide an even broader response and a bit of context: visas are handled by the destination state's consular network. It's up to each country to set it up any way they want, sometimes you need to show at some dedicated center, go through a private provider, hand over your passport to a consulate, possibly a consulate located in another country.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 18 at 15:02

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