The UK Visitor Visa is for those who wish to visit the UK for a short period of time, typically six months. You can use this visa to travel to the UK for tourism, to visit family, for business purposes and to receive private medical treatment.
What is the UK Tourist Visa?
The UK Tourist Visa is aimed at those who wish to spend a short period of time in the UK. If you wish to travel to the UK as a tourist or to visit a family member or friend, this is the UK visa you should apply for.
The Visitor Visa can also be applied for in many other circumstances, including short-term business purposes, for academic purposes and in most cases for private medical treatment.
This visa lasts a maximum of six months and gives you ample time to explore the UK’s rich culture and heritage, conduct business and academic matters, or receive private medical treatment.
What do I need to know about the standard UK tourist visa?
If you are a citizen of a select group of countries, you will not need to apply for a tourist visa. This includes EEA countries, many Commonwealth countries and Switzerland. To find out if you need to apply for a visitor visa, you can complete the assessment on the Home Office website here.
The standard tourist visa allows you to:
- Engage in business activities related to your visa
- Study up to 30 days (provided this is not the main purpose of your visit)
- Take part in an exchange program or an educational visit
- Transforming the civil union into marriage
- Crosses the UK in transit
- Traveling to the UK for holiday, visiting family or friends
- Volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity
- Attend conferences, meetings, seminars, training courses or interviews
- Signing contracts and negotiating agreements
- Promoting your business at trade shows (without sales)
- Supervising site visits, inspections or deliveries for a foreign company
- Provide installation, repair or consultation of equipment under a contract
- I am looking for funding or investment to start a business in the UK
- Sharing internal knowledge with your overseas company’s UK employees
- Give non-profit conferences or short presentations
- Perform as an artist, entertainer or musician for specific events
- Participate in professional training courses not available in your home country
- Attend short English language courses or accredited courses
- Conduct research relevant to your course abroad
- Participate in medical exams, repetitions or doctoral vivas
- Undertake exams or internships, such as PLAB, OSCE, BTT, QLTS
- Engage in academic exchanges, research or teaching
- Join clinical attachments or observer positions as a doctor or dentist
- Request private medical care under a healthcare agreement
- Organ donation to close friends or family (with donor matching)
- Activities prohibited on the standard UK tourist visa
However, there are several things you are not allowed to do on a tourist visa:
- You are not permitted to carry out work, paid or unpaid, for a UK company or as a self-employed person.
- No requests for public funding
- Extended stays in the UK through frequent visits are not permitted.
- You will need to cover the cost of your onward travel.
It is not permitted to marry, register a civil partnership or give notice for both. If you intend to get married or register a civil partnership, you must apply for a marriage visa.
Different standard tourist visas for the UK
The standard UK tourist visa is designed for those entering the UK for a variety of different purposes, not simply for leisure or tourism. In essence, the Standard Visitor Visa covers many different immigration areas, with a number of different categories within the Standard Visitor Visa.
The Standard Tourist Visa has replaced the following UK visas:
- Visa for family visitors
- General visitor visa
- Visitor visa for children
- Visa for business visitors
- Sports visitor visa
- Entertainer visitor visa
- Visa for a potential entrepreneur
- Visitor visa for private medical treatment
- Visa with approved destination status
Additionally, if you wish to study in the UK for a short period of time or need to travel across the country on a transit visa, you will need to apply for the standard tourist visa.
Visitor Visa Eligibility
There are some basic conditions that must be met to apply for a visitor visa, regardless of which visitor visa route you wish to take. This includes eligibility requirements:
- Proof that you will be leaving the UK at the end of your visit
- Able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of the trip
- Able to demonstrate that you can pay for return/onward travel
- Able to show details of any business or other activity you wish to carry out in the UK
Visiting the UK for tourism or leisure
The UK is a country rich in heritage and culture which attracts millions of tourists every year.
If you want to visit the UK as a tourist, the Visitor Visa is the visa you should apply for. Ultimately, the Standard Visitor Visa acts as a tourist visa, allowing you to explore what the UK has to offer for up to six months.
Whether you are visiting the UK for tourism or to visit family and friends, a visitor visa is the way to go.
Visiting the UK for business purposes
As mentioned above, those wishing to visit the UK for business purposes for a short period of time must apply for a standard tourist visa. This valid visa includes conferences and business events, as well as other business appointments.
You can also apply for a tourist visa for other business-related activities, including:
- Participate in a specific sports-related event
- Performing in the UK as an artist, musician or entertainer
- Conducting academic activities, including research
- Accompany students on a study abroad program
- Undertake a clinical appointment or observer position as a doctor or dentist
- To get financing to start, take over or join a business
To take the Professional and Linguistic Evaluation Commission test or to take the Objective Structured Clinical Examination
Can I apply for a standard long-term tourist visa?
Under certain circumstances, you will be able to stay for up to 12 months on a visitor visa. You may be eligible for a longer stay in the UK if you are visiting as an academic or for private medical treatment.
Those wishing to remain in the UK for up to 12 months as an academic must be able to demonstrate that they are highly qualified in their field of expertise and that they are visiting to carry out their own research; take part in someone else’s research, teaching or clinical practice; or take part in a formal exchange with a British counterpart.
Tourist visa applicants wishing to visit the UK for private medical treatment must demonstrate the following:
- They have a medical condition that requires private medical consultation or treatment which can be provided in the UK
- They have enough money to pay for treatment and to support themselves
- They have made arrangements for their treatment or have already paid
- They will leave the UK when their treatment is complete or their visa expires
- They do not pose a danger to public health if they have an infectious disease
What documents do I need to provide for a tourist visa?
If you are applying for a visitor visa, you will need to provide some information online during the application process.
Any applicant for a tourist visa must be in possession of a valid passport or other valid travel identity document, which must be presented as a key part of the visa application process. Your passport/travel identification must have a blank page and be valid for the duration of your stay in the UK.
The specific documents an applicant must provide depend on the reason(s) for their visit to the UK. Due to the wide web of possible reasons, the documents requested vary greatly from immigration officer and from applicant to applicant.
In most tourist visa requests, regardless of the specifics of the application, the following information will need to be provided:
- Previous travel documents and passports
- Financial documents/information showing that you have sufficient funds to support yourself whilst in the UK. You could prove this through bank statements, a letter from your employer confirming income and proof of employment
- Confirmation of legal residency if you are applying from a country of which you are not a citizen
- Sufficient details about your employment or studies if you have indicated in your application that you work or study full-time
If you are visiting the UK to undertake business activities, you will need to provide documents showing details of what you will be doing in the UK. This includes any letters from any inviting organizations
Do I need to provide other documents?
In addition to the information above, you will usually need to provide additional documents if you are visiting your home country from the UK:
- For private medical treatment
- To apply as an organ donor
- As a potential employer
- To take the Professional and Linguistic Evaluation Commission test or take the Objective Structured Clinical Examination
In transit to a country outside the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers are a team of immigration law specialists with extensive experience. We can help you determine the documents you need to submit to support your visitor visa application.
What is the processing time for a UK tourist visa?
When planning your visit or visa to visit the UK, it is prudent to apply for your visa well in advance of when you plan to visit the UK.
You can submit your visa application between three months and 48 hours before your proposed entry into the country.
The standard processing time for a UK tourist visa is three weeks. However, if the Home Office has concerns about your application and needs to contact you, processing times may take longer.
Can my request be completed more quickly?
It is possible to speed up the request process through the priority or super-priority service.
With the priority service, your visa application will be processed within five working days at an additional cost of £500.
If you want your request to be processed as quickly as possible, the Super Priority service is the ideal choice. With the super priority service, your request will be processed within one working day, at an additional cost of £800.
What can I do if I need to visit the UK regularly for short periods?
There is an option for long-term standard tourist visas if you need to visit the UK frequently over a period of time.
You can apply for a standard tourist visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. During each visit to the UK, you can stay for up to six months.
Please note that, according to immigration regulations, for children under 18, a standard tourist visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18.
How much does the tourist visa application cost?
The cost for a standard tourist visa is £95.
If you are applying for a standard long-term tourist visa, the fees are as follows:
- 2 years: £361
- 5 years: £655
- 10 years: £822
- For academics: £190
- For medical purposes: £190
For medical and academic reasons, the permitted length of stay varied between 11 months and 12 months. For 2.5 and 10 year visas, they allow a duration of 6 months per visit.
Can I extend my visitor visa?
You may be able to extend your visa if you have applied for a visitor visa that lasts less than six months. If your application for an extension is accepted, the extension will last up to six months from the date you entered the UK.
Extension requests with the standard service take approximately eight weeks to process.
You will also need to have your biometric information collected if you wish to extend your visitor visa.
Are you willing to visit the UK?
If you’re not a tourist, business visitor, entertainer or sports visitor then a Special Visit Visa is appropriate if you would like to come to the UK.
With a Special Visit Visa you may be visiting for private medical treatment; however will not be able to receive treatment on the NHS and for that you may be a child visitor, or the parent of a child student in the UK.
We will supervise your application from start to finish and will give you a UK Special Visit Visa, guaranteeing you that you need not apply over and over and you will get your visa in the very first attempt.
We will assist you in such a way:
Your immigration matter will be treated with following few steps in order to complete your UK Special Visit Visa application capably:
We need your pre-application, where we will make certain that we receive the accurate documents to build up your case stronger
A complete review of your personal state of affairs
The completion of your Special Visit Visa application
Submission of your Special Visit Visa application
Contact you with the confirmation of your Special Visit Visa
What are the measurements for the UK Special Visit Visa?
Your motive to visit the UK should be for a maximum of 6 months and leave at the end of that period.
You must not receive payment for any work whilst in the UK.
You must be under the age of 18 if you’re coming to the UK as a child visitor.
Once you entered in the UK:
A Special Visit Visa remains up to two years if granted for more than one entry to the UK. However you can only stay in the UK for up to six months at any given time.
With a Special Visit Visa You will not be able to work as an employee, produce goods, provide services or undertake a course of study at the same time as in the UK.
You can take help and advice with our specialist immigration advisors in this regard. Our five stage process will allow you to stay away from needless expenses and make you sure that your UK Special Visit Visa has got best chances of achievement in your goals.