- What are the UK Visitor visas?
- Types of Visitor visa
- Standard Visitor visa
- Business Visitor Visa
- Study Visitor visa
- Academic Visitor visa
- Permitted Paid Engagement visa
- Marriage Visitor visa
- Transit visa
- Medical Visitor visa UK
- How to apply for the UK Visitor visas
- Cost of the UK Visitor Visas
- Can the UK Visitor visas be refused?
- How can Total Law help with a UK Visitor visa?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What are the UK Visitor visas?
The UK Visitor visas allow foreign nationals to visit the UK for tourism, business, a study of up to six months, medical treatment and other permitted activities.
There are different types of visitor visas. Each visa has different purposes and permitted activities in the United Kingdom.
Holders of most visit visas are only allowed to stay in the UK for up to six months, even if their visa is valid for 2, 5, or 10 years. Foreign nationals receiving medical treatment may be allowed to stay for longer.
Not every foreign citizen must obtain a visit visa to visit the UK. Some countries, including the United States and typically citizens of countries with a high average standard of living, do not need a visitor visa in the UK.
You can contact us by calling 0333 305 9375 for more information or assistance visiting the UK and acquiring a visitor visa UK.
Types of Visitor visa
There are various types of visitor visas depending on your intent in the UK. They are:
- Standard Visitor visa
- Business Visitor visa
- Study Visitor visa
- Academic Visitor visa
- Permitted Paid Engagement visa
- Marriage Visitor visa
- Transit visa
- Medical Visitor visa
For assistance with acquiring any of them, call us on 0333 305 9375.
The UK Standard Visitor visa, also called the UK tourist visa, is what to apply for if you want to travel to the UK for tourism, leisure, visit family or friends, and general travel. Non-EEA nationals looking to holiday in the UK can get the standard visitor visa.
As a Standard Visitor in the UK, you can:
- Take part in tourist activities
- See family or friends
- Volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity
- Do recreational courses
- Transit through the UK
- Take part in a school exchange programme
- Attend meetings or interviews
To qualify as a Standard Visitor, you must:
- Have a valid passport or travel document that remains valid for the entire duration of your stay in the UK
- Be able to prove that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit
- Have enough money to support yourself and your dependants throughout the trip
- Be able to pay for your return or onward journey
- Not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits for long periods, and the UK should not be your main home
You cannot do any paid or unpaid work in the UK, claim public funds, or get married on the Standard Visitor visa. So, you should be able to prove you don’t plan to work in the UK.
Business Visitor Visa
You can use the UK Business Visitor visa to do the following in the UK:
- Attend business meetings, conferences, and seminars
- Negotiate and sign contracts
- Partake in trade fairs for business promotion
- Get work-related training (only if you are employed overseas and that training isn’t given in your home country)
- Give a talk that is not for profit or at a commercial event
- Visit and inspect sites
- Monitor the delivery of products and services from a UK company to your overseas company
- Train or share knowledge on internal projects with UK employees of your overseas company
- Service, repair, install or dismantle equipment, computer software and hardware for a UK organisation your company has a contract with
- Receive requirements from a UK based customer (any work for that customer must be done outside of the UK).
Business visitors must prove that they will leave the UK at the end of their trip and meet the Standard Visitor visa requirements. They can’t work in the UK; they can apply for a work visa if they need to.
If you have some business activities to do in the UK, you can reach out to us for help with your Business Visitor visa application. We will help you prepare and submit a quality application to the Home Office and communicate with the Home Office on your behalf. Call us on 0333 305 9375 today.
Study Visitor visa
Study visitors or holders of the Student Visitor visa can stay in the UK for up to six months to:
- Study at an accredited UK institution, which is not an academy or state-funded school
- Do research that’s relevant to the course you are doing in your home country
- Take an elective if you are studying medicine, veterinary medicine and science, nursing or dentistry
- Do an entrance examination, retake an exam or do a PhD oral exam
- Be an unpaid clinical attachment if you are a medical, dental or nursing school graduate
- Do the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) test or the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test
- Take a distance learning course where your time in the UK is to attend induction, do face-to-face intensive learning, have progress checks or sit exams.
If your study or research subject is at a postgraduate level or above, you may need to acquire an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. Citizens of certain countries don’t need to get an ATAS certificate. You can contact us to assess your need for the certificate.
Applicants studying at an accredited institution must prove that they have been accepted into that institution and that the course doesn’t take more than six months to complete.
If you want to study for more than six months, you should apply for a Student visa or a Short-term student visa.
The documents you provide and eligibility criteria you must meet depend on your exact purpose; those coming to be clinical attachments must meet different requirements from those taking a PLAB test.
Academic Visitor visa
If you work in an academic institution abroad, you can come to the UK on an Academic Visitor visa UK if you are to:
- Take part in a formal exchange arrangement
- Carry out your research during a sabbatical
- Take part in research, teach temporarily, or undertake clinical practice temporarily if you are a senior doctor or dentist.
Like the study visa, you need to get an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if you plan to research certain subjects at a postgraduate level or above.
Academic visitors can visit for six months or more. Regardless of which, they are to apply for the UK Standard Visitor visa valid for 12 months. After staying in the UK for up to six months, they can apply to stay longer (up to 12 months in total).
To extend your stay, you must prove that you:
- Have a PhD or higher or are highly qualified in your field
- Are not filling a permanent position
- Are currently working in that field at an academic institution abroad
Academics must meet the UK Standard Visitor visa requirements and provide documents to prove their purpose in the UK, such as a supporting letter from their employer.
An advantage of this visa is that your partner and children can stay with you for up to 12 months using a Standard Visitor visa. Like you, they will stay for up to six months and then apply to extend their stay while in the UK.
For more information on the UK Visitor visas or assistance with successfully applying for one, contact us. Call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.
Generally, visitors should not get paid while in the UK, but those on a Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visa can get paid while in the UK. So, if a UK company pays you as an expert in your profession, the PPE visa may be best.
The PPE visa is for those who:
- Have been invited by a UK-based organisation or client
- Want to enter the UK to do paid work without having to be sponsored under the point-based immigration system
- Are visiting the UK for no month than one month
- Are 18 or over
Also, you must meet the regular UK standard visitor visa requirements such as not staying in the UK through frequent and successive visits, supporting yourself financially, and doing activities that are covered under the visitor visa.
A PPE visa holder can:
- Be a student examiner or assessor
- Take part in a selection panel as a highly qualified academic
- Give lectures at a higher education institution
- Take part in arts, entertainment, or sporting activities
- Do fashion modelling assignments
- Examine UK based pilots so they meet the standards of your home country if you are invited by an approved UK training organisation regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority
You can also do minor activities like attend business meetings. However, you cannot do paid work unrelated to your main job or area of expertise. Also, you cannot extend this visa, study, bring dependents with you, give notice of a wedding or civil partnership, or get married or register in a civil partnership.
Marriage Visitor visa
Do you want to get married in the UK? The Marriage Visitor visa is for those who want to have a destination wedding or register a civil partnership in the UK. This visa also works for those who want to give notice of the intending wedding or civil partnership.
Marriage Visitor visa holders must get married or enter a civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK. Also, they cannot stay or settle in the UK after the wedding or civil partnership.
If you are already in a civil partnership and want to convert that into marriage, you don’t need a Marriage visitor visa but a UK Standard Visitor visa.
If your partner is a UK citizen, you can apply for a fiance visa. You don’t need a Marriage visa if you have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or have applied for the scheme but haven’t gotten a decision. Irish citizens also don’t need a Marriage Visitor visa.
You can apply online three months before you travel. Call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online for assistance.
The UK Transit visa allows holders to travel through the UK to another country. If you have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit, a Home Office travel document, Standard Visitor visa or Marriage Visitor visa, you don’t need a Transit visa to transit the UK.
Applicants must prove that they will be in transit to another country and have sufficient funds to cover the journey.
To get a Transit visa, you must prove that you can enter the destination country with documents such as a passport, residence permit, or visa.
There are two types of Transit visas: Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) and Visitor in Transit visa.
The DATV is for those changing flights in the UK without going through border control. If you would be going through border control but leaving the UK within 48 hours, the Visitor in Transit visa is appropriate. If you plan to stay in the UK for more than 48 hours, apply for a Standard Visitor visa instead.
Medical Visitor visa
The Medical Visitor visa allows foreign nationals to visit the UK for up to six months to:
- Receive private medical treatment at a hospital or medical facility
- Receive treatment at an NHS hospital that is paid for by the government of your home country under a reciprocal healthcare arrangement
- Donate an organ to a family member or friend or be assessed for suitability as a match
The criteria you must meet depends on what you are coming to do and where. Generally, you must prove you will leave the UK once your treatment is complete or when your visa expires.
If you are coming to the UK to take private medical treatment, you must prove that you:
- Have a medical condition that requires private treatment or consultation in the UK
- Have enough money to pay for the treatment
- Have made arrangements with the private medical facility
- Do not pose a danger to the public health of the UK
If you are receiving treatment at an NHS hospital, you must prove that your government is paying for the treatment with an authorisation form issued by the government of your country.
Organ donors can only visit the UK to donate an organ to a family member with a genetic tie, such as a sibling or parent, or someone they have a close personal relationship with, such as a partner or friend. Also, the person receiving the organ should be legally allowed to be in the UK. You must provide a letter from the lead nurse of the transplant team, a General Medical Council registered specialist or a registered NHS consultant to qualify.
You can stay in the UK for up to six months. If your treatment lasts longer, you can apply for an extension to stay for a further six months.
How to apply for the UK Visitor visas
Check if you need a visa before applying. Some countries, including the US, do not need a visitor visa. If you don’t need one, you must still meet the eligibility requirements to visit the UK. A UK border officer may ask you questions about your eligibility and planned activities.
If you have a criminal record or were previously refused entry into the UK, you should consider applying for a Standard Visitor visa even if you don’t need one.
You can apply for any UK Visitor visas online before coming to the UK. Once you have applied online and paid the visa fees, you will need to book an appointment at your local visa application centre to prove your identity and provide other supporting documents.
After that, you should expect a visa decision from UK Visas and Immigration on your application within three weeks. Some applicants may be able to get their visitor visa within five working days (priority service) or the next working day (super-priority service).
Priority and super-priority services are only available in a few countries; check with your visa application centre.
Cost of the UK Visitor Visas
Each UK Visitor visa has a different cost.
The Standard Visitor visa costs £95 for up to six months. Most of the other visitor visas cost the same for six months validity. If you visit the UK regularly, you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa that is valid for 2 years (£361), 5 years (£655), or 10 years (£822), though you can only stay in the UK for six months at a time.
If you are coming to the UK for medical treatment, you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa that lasts for 12 months. That costs £190. Then, stay in the UK for up to six months and extend your stay for another six months for £993.
The Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) costs £35, while the Visitor in Transit visa costs £64.
Can the UK Visitor visas be refused?
A UK Visitor Visa application can be refused. If you have received a refusal notice from the Home Office, you can start a new Visitor visa application, submit a request for an appeal (on human rights grounds) or apply for a judicial review.
Every case is different. It is recommended that you work with an immigration lawyer to be certain of the best route for your case and are given personalised advice and support.
If you have a visa refusal and are considering your options, you can reach out to us as well. We will investigate the refusal and assess your options to know if reapplication, appeal, or a review would be best.
For visa support from expert immigration lawyers and advisers, contact us at Total Law today. Call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online via live chat.
We offer visa services to help you get an appropriate UK Visitor visa. We will help you put together a quality and thorough application and advice on the right supporting documents that will help your application.
You can get a premium visa service that ensures that your chances of getting a Visitor visa are maximised. No one wants to get a visa denial, which is why we will ensure your application is created with the highest of standards.
We will support you throughout the entire process and communicate with the Home Office on your behalf.
For more information on how we can help you, get in touch with us. Call us on 0333 305 9375 today. You can also contact us online through our live chat or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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You can bring your family with you as a visitor on some UK Visitor visas. However, they must apply for their own Visitor visa separately.
If you aren’t a British citizen or from the European Economic Area, you likely will need a UK visa.
EEA citizens do not need a visitor visa for tourism and travel, but if they are coming for permitted paid engagement or medical reasons, they should check whether they need a visa using the Home Office gov.uk website.
The same applies to some visitor visa-exempt countries(non-visa nationals). Very few countries fall in this category A non-visa national can travel to the UK without a valid visa. There are also visa waiver countries that include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman and Kuwait; citizens of these countries can get an electronic visa waiver instead.
Use this Home Office’s tool to check if you need to apply for a Visitor visa or get in touch with us for advice.
If your family member for a Family visitor visa or friend is coming to visit you in the UK and you are sponsoring the trip, you need to provide evidence that you can afford the visitor’s trip and your own costs, such as your rent and living expenses.
That will include an estimate of the trip’s cost, proof of your income and where you work (such as payslips and a contract), and proof that you have enough funds to cover the visitor’s stay (such as bank statements).
Children can come to the UK with a Standard Visitor visa. However, as a child under 18, there are additional requirements so it is usually referred to as the Child Visitor visa.
Those under 18 must have written consent from their parent or guardian to travel to the UK if they are travelling alone. Also, they must have suitable accommodation in the UK with proof. In addition, the parent or guardian must tell the relevant local authorities about the child’s visit if the child isn’t staying with a close relative.
If the child is travelling with an adult, the adult should be identified in the child’s visa application, whether they are the child’s parent or not. The adult can apply for a visa at the same time with a separate Standard Visitor visa application