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I've been living in Italy for 24 years with a permanent residence permit. I always wanted to make a trip to London, for example for a weekend, just to visit this beautiful city once in my life. Sadly, when I started searching for more information about visa requirements, I found out it really is frustrating!

The UK visa application centre wants proof of my bank accounts, details about my parents' names and where they live, etc.

Is this normal?

Also, I have to book an appointment in Rome with TLScontact in order to submit my visa application and THEY'LL SEND MY ORIGINAL PASSPORT to the visa application centre for approval!

What if it is lost?

I'm really getting anxious about it. I just wanted to visit a city for a couple of days.

Is there anybody here who's in the same situation?

Or somebody who can tell me if they are so rigorous in practice?

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    Just look at all the questions on here tagged both UK and Visas and you'll see that yes, they really do read all this stuff. No, they don't lose passports. It's your decision if its worth the expense and hastle, but if you have a good job in Italy, and you tell them everything they want to know, I shouldn't think you'll have any trouble. – CMaster Feb 11 '17 at 11:48
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    Why have you not got Italian citizenship? If you do, you'll be able to enter and stay for as long as you want with a passport or ID card – Crazydre Feb 11 '17 at 11:54
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Applicants in Italy submit their applications through a designated VFS and their bundle is sent to Rome. From there it goes to the hub in Croydon (South East England) for decision-making. Historically. 99% of applications are turned around in 15 days.

The UK visa application centre wants proof of my bank accounts, Details about my parents' names and where they live, etc. Is this normal?

Define "normal". It's irrelevant, they don't care what other countries do, the UK Parliament approved the forms and so 'normal' has nothing to do with it. Requiring lots of information is part of WHAT IS, i.e., something immutable, you have to do it or you risk a refusal. First-time applicants might find the process intrusive and confusing, and that can be taken as a signal that a practitioner's help should be sought.

THEY'LL SEND MY ORIGINAL PASSPORT to the visa application centre for approval!!! What if it get lost?

Taking care of documents is the business they are in and loss of documents is an extremely rare event. The work flow is audited by the Chief Inspector, and he hasn't reported a case since before 2008. However... if your passport gets lost, there will be an investigation and if they cannot find it you will need to get a new one (and apply for a new visa from square one).

Is there anybody here who's in the same situation?

There are about 5 million people a year in the same situation.

Or somebody who can tell me if they are so rigorous in practice?

I can confirm that they are rigorous in practice. Parliament has told the British missions abroad to issue as many visas as they can because it helps the British economy. But the visa sections need to be careful about it. So at the moment the process is uniformly rigorous and uniformly fair in applying the various risk assessments. If you cannot provide the materials they are looking for, then don't apply. Or get a practitioner to help you. As pointed out above, the process is all part of WHAT IS.

Others have pointed out that you may qualify for citizenship in Italy. There are no visa restrictions for people travelling on an Italian passport.

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It is true: the UK is a difficult country to visit for those requiring visas.

Provide all the information they ask for, and any and all proof of your ties to Italy, and you should be fine if you're financially stable and fit to visit the UK.

In the long run, pursuing Italian citizenship would be your best bet. Currently Italian citizens can enter the UK with no time restrictions, and even after Brexit they'll be able to visit for 6 months without a visa.

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    "Even after Brexit" ... nobody knows yet what will happen then. – Henning Makholm Feb 11 '17 at 14:53
  • @HenningMakholm you are correct, but the probability of Italian citizens being required to get visas seems very low. Crazydre: there is a time restriction in the EU freedom of movement regime: after 90 days it's possible to deport someone who is not either employed, looking for work, self sufficient, or studying. – phoog Feb 11 '17 at 16:08
  • The Schengen area is threatening to introduce a "it's not a visa honest" system. I would say it is at least plausible that the post-brexit UK might choose to retaliate to such a system. – Peter Green Feb 12 '17 at 1:18
  • @phoog And how exactly do you enforce that in the UK? The residence permit for EU/EFTA citizens isn't even compulsory to get (for the time being). On another note, funny how third-country nationals get to stay for 6 months just visiting, but EU/EFTA nationals only 3 months – Crazydre Feb 12 '17 at 1:20
  • @Crazydre you don't, of course, unless a particular person comes to the attention of the authorities for some other reason. – phoog Feb 12 '17 at 3:23

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