UK Visit visa

UK Visit visa

Visiting the UK

UK Visit visas are almost always issued with a validity of 6 months or less and do not permit the holder to work during their stay in the UK. There are options for multiple-entry and single-entry UK Visit visas depending on your purpose of stay.

For those who do not have a passport that permits them to enter the UK without a visa or obtain an Electronic Visa Waiver to the UK, a UK Visit visa can be obtained before traveling. This travel visa to the UK can be applied for online or, in some cases, in person before arriving in the UK.

UK Visit visa types

There are several types of UK Visit visas that can be obtained through a simple application process. These visas are typically intended for shorter stays of 6 months or less but can be extended in some cases. The following types of visas are available under the category of UK Visit visa. 

  • Standard Visitor visa
  • Permitted Paid Engagement visa 
  • Marriage Visitor visa
  • Transit visa 
  • Visa for Chinese Tour Groups 

UK Visit visa requirements

You can determine which UK Visit visa is right for you based on your nationality, the purpose of travel, and the country that issued your identity document. The requirements for each type of UK Visit visa are different depending on the type you apply for. To apply for a UK Visit visa, you will need to assemble and submit the correct application materials before submitting your application. However, there are some materials that are required for all visa types.

The below list includes some general documents required to apply for a UK Visit visa. 

Valid Passport

All applicants will need to provide a valid passport that will remain valid for the duration of their stay in the UK.

A complete application form

All applicants must submit a complete application form for the specific type of UK Visit visa they have selected. The form can be submitted online or, in some cases, at a visa application center.

Payment of fees

Nearly all types of UK Visit visa can be paid for online or at a visa application center. It is mandatory to pay the application fees in order for your UK Visit visa application to be processed.

Biometrics information

Applicants can submit their biometrics information at their nearest visa application center or through the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ mobile application. This step is necessary to receive your Visit visa.

UK Visit visa application

  1. Select your visa type

    Check the eligibility requirements for the UK Visit visa and select the correct type for your unique purpose of travel.

  2. Assemble the necessary documents

    Required documents will depend on your nationality, country of citizenship, and purpose of travel. It is important to have all documents ready before applying for your UK Visit visa.

  3. Apply for your visa online

    Almost all Visit visas can be applied for online through the official GOV.UK website. You can log in, submit your UK Visit visa application and pay your fees through their online portal.

  4. Give your biometric information

    Nearly all applicants will need to give biometrics including fingerprints and a recent photograph. This can be done at the nearest visa application center or through the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ mobile application.

  5. Wait for your application decision

    Once your visa is processed, an email or letter will be sent to you with the results of your application and the next steps you need to take. These next steps may vary depending on many factors including which visa type you have applied for and the purpose of your stay.

  6. Prepare to travel to the UK

    If your UK Visit visa is approved, you will need to follow the steps from the official government decision letter. Some visa types may require additional materials upon arrival to the UK so it’s important to verify if there are any additional required documents or materials.

Where to apply for a UK Visit visa

Almost all types of UK Visit visas can be applied for online at the official GOV.UK website. In some cases, you may need to make an appointment at your nearest visa application center in order to submit your application in person. Most application centers have free appointments, but some do require a fee of £55 per appointment. It’s important to book your appointment in advance in accordance with your travel timeline.  

UK Visit visa fees

The cost of your UK Visit visa will vary depending on the type of visa you are looking to obtain. For the Standard Visitor visa for 6 months or less, the fees are £100. Other visas may cost more or less depending on the duration of your stay as well. 

UK Visit visa processing time

For most UK Visit visas, the processing time takes around 3 weeks. This may vary depending on the type of Visit visa, your nationality, the country that issued your identity documents, the purpose of your visit, and other factors. For example, it on average 7 weeks for the UK Standard Visit visa application to be processed. This standard timing may be subject to change during the high season for tourism. 

UK Visit visa FAQ

How long is a UK visit visa valid for?

Most UK Visit visas are valid for up to 6 months from the date of arrival. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, the long-term Standard Visit visas can be issued for up to 10 years with a maximum period of stay of 6 months at a time. The validity will depend on the visa type and how often you visit the UK.

How do you qualify for a UK Visit visa?

While the eligibility criteria for each visa type will vary, the UK Visit visas are intended for those looking to engage in tourism, minor business activities like interviews or meetings, study short courses no more than 6 months long, or other short-term endeavors. The UK Visit visa is not for those looking to work, study, or start a business in the UK in the long term.

Is it easy to get a UK Visit visa?

For those that meet the eligibility criteria and provide the required documents, the application process for most UK Visit visa types is simple and straightforward. Nearly all applicants can apply online and receive their decision in just 3 weeks.

Who can sponsor a UK Visit visa?

A friend or relative who is a permanent resident or citizen of the UK can sponsor your UK Visit visa.

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