- What do I need to know about the UK Standard Visitor Visa?
- Different UK Standard Visitor Visa
- Visitor Visa eligibility
- Visiting the UK as a tourist
- Visiting the UK for business purposes
- Can I apply for a long-term Standard Visitor Visa?
- Which documents do I need to provide for a Visitor Visa?
- Additional documents and processing time
- Priority service
- What can I do if I need to visit the UK regularly for short periods?
- Application cost
- Can I extend a Standard Visitor Visa?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the UK Visitor Visa?
The UK Visitor Visa is for those who wish to spend a short period of time in the UK. If you want to travel to the UK as a tourist or to visit family or friends, this is the UK visa you should apply for.
The Visitor Visa can be applied for in many other circumstances too including for short-term business purposes, for academic reasons and for private medical treatment.
This visa lasts for a maximum of six months, offering ample time to explore the UK’s rich culture and heritage, conduct business and academic matters or to receive private medical treatment.
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers is a leading immigration law firm with a wealth of knowledge in the field. Call our Birmingham immigration lawyers on 0121 667 6530 for expert advice on the Visitor Visa application process.
What do I Need to Know About the UK Standard Visitor Visa?
If you are a citizen of a select group of countries, you will not need to apply for a Visitor Visa. This includes the countries of the EEA, many countries in the Commonwealth 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 Visitor Visa enables you to:
- Take part in business-related activities related to your visa
- Study for up to 30 days (provided this is not the primary purpose of your visit)
- Take part in an exchange programme or educational visit
- Convert a civil partnership into a marriage
- Pass through UK in transit
You cannot undertake any paid or unpaid work, get public funds, marry or register a civil partnership. You also cannot live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits with the Visitor Visa.
Different UK Standard Visitor Visa
The UK Standard Visitor Visa is designed for those entering the UK for a variety of different purposes, not simply for leisure or tourism. Essentially, the Standard Visitor Visa covers many different immigration areas, with a number of different categories within the Standard Visitor Visa.
The Standard Visitor Visa replaced the following UK Visas:
- Family Visitor Visa
- General Visitor Visa
- Child Visitor Visa
- Business Visitor Visa
- Sports Visitor Visa
- Entertainer Visitor Visa
- Prospective Entrepreneur Visa
- Private Medical Treatment Visitor Visa
- Approved Destination Status Visa
Also, if you wish to study in the UK for a short period of time, or you need to travel through the country in transit, you will need to apply for the Standard Visitor Visa.
Visitor Visa Eligibility
There are a few fundamental conditions which must be met in order to apply for a Visitor Visa, regardless of the Visitor Visa route you wish to go down. This includes:
- Proof that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit
- Able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip
- Able to show that you can pay for your return/onward journey
- Able to show details of any business or other activities you wish to do 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 if to visit family and friends, the Visitor Visa is the path to take.
Visiting the UK for Business Purposes
As alluded to above, those who wish to visit the UK for business purposes for a short period of time must apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. This includes for business conferences and events, as well as other business appointments.
You can also apply for the Visitor Visa for other business-related activities, including:
- Taking part in a specific sports-related event
- Performing in the UK as an artist, musician or entertainer
- Conducting academic work, including for research
- Accompanying students on a study abroad programme
- Undertaking a clinical attachment or observer post as a doctor or dentist
- To get funding to start, take over or join a business
- To take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test or to sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination
Can I Apply for a Long-term Standard Visitor Visa?
Under certain circumstances, you will be able to stay for up to 12 months under a Visitor Visa. You could be eligible for a longer stay in the UK if you are visiting as an academic or for private medical treatment.
Those who wish to stay in the UK for up to 12 months as an academic must be able to prove that they are highly qualified within their field of expertise, and 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 UK counterpart.
Visitor Visa applicants who want to visit the UK for private medical treatment need to prove the following:
- They have a medical condition that requires private medical consultations or treatment which can be provided in the UK
- They have enough money to pay for the treatment and to support themselves
- Have made arrangements for their treatment, or have already paid
- They will leave the UK either at the end of the treatment or when their visa expires
- They are not a danger to public health if they have an infectious disease
Which Documents do I Need to Provide for a Visitor Visa?
If you are applying for a Visitor Visa, you will need to provide certain information as part of the application process.
Any Visitor Visa applicant must hold a current passport or other valid travel identification, which needs to be submitted 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 which an applicant needs to provide depends on the reason/s for their visit to the UK. Owing to the wide net of possible reasons, the required documents vary considerably from applicant to applicant.
In most Visitor Visa applications, regardless of the specificities of the application, the following information will need to be provided:
- Previous travel documents and passports
- Financial documents/information, showing you have the sufficient funds available to support yourself whilst you are in the UK. You could prove this through bank statements, a letter from your employer confirming income and proof of employment
- Confirmation of legal residence if you are applying from a country which you are not a national of
- Sufficient details of your employment or studies if you have stated in your application that you are employed or studying 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 organisations
Do I Need to Provide any Other Documents?
In addition to the information above, you will usually need to provide further documents if you are visiting the UK:
- For private medical treatment
- To apply as an organ donor
- As a prospective employer
- To take the Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board test or to sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination
- In transit to a country which is outside of the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers is a team of immigration law specialists with a wealth of experience. We can help you establish the documents which you need to submit to support your Visitor Visa application.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to find out what our immigration lawyers in Birmingham can do for you.
What is the Processing Time for a UK Visitor Visa?
When planning your visit to 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 Visitor Visa is three weeks. However, if the Home Office have any concerns about your application and need to contact you, the processing time could be longer.
Can my Application be Completed Quicker?
It is possible to speed up the application 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 are looking to have your application processed as quickly as possible, the super priority service is the ideal choice. With the super priority service, your application will be processed within one working day, at an added cost of £800.
What Can I do if I Need to Visit the UK Regularly for Short Periods?
There is an option for longer-term Standard Visitor Visas if you need to visit the UK frequently over a certain period of time.
You can apply for a Standard Visitor Visa which lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. During each visit to the UK, you can stay for a maximum of six months.
Bear in mind that for those under 18 years of age, a Standard Visitor Visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after they turn 18.
How Much is the Visitor Visa Application?
The cost for a Standard Visitor Visa is £95.
If you are applying for a long-term Standard Visitor Visa, the fees are as follows:
- 2 years: £361
- 5 years: £655
- 10 years: £822
Can I Extend my Visitor Visa?
You might be able to extend your visa if you applied for a Visitor Visa which lasts for less than six months. If your extension application is accepted, the extension will last until six months from the date you entered the UK.
It takes around eight weeks for extension applications to be processed with the standard service.
You will also need to have your biometric information taken if you wish to extend the Visitor Visa.
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Ordinarily, if you are from a country outside the EEA and the Commonwealth, you will need to apply for a Visitor Visa to enter the UK.
However, if you are a national of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman or Kuwait you can instead opt to get an electronic visa waiver (EVW), rather than going through the standard application process.
The electronic visa waiver enables nationals of these countries to stay in the UK for up to six months for the purposes of tourism, business, to study or for medical reasons.
In most circumstances, you will need to apply for either a Short-term Study Visa or a General Student Visa (Tier 4) to undertake studying in the UK.
However, if you are visiting the UK as an academic, you will need to apply for the Standard Visitor Visa.
For more information on the route you should take to enter the UK as a student or academic, please call us now on 0121 667 6530.