What is the UK Standard Visitor Visa?
The UK Standard Visitor Visa, also known as a Visitor Visa, is a popular option for individuals seeking to visit the United Kingdom for a short period of time to engage in a diverse range of permitted activities. More specifically, with a UK Visitor Visa, individuals can enter the UK for the purposes of tourism, business and study amongst others.
Applicants who are successful in their UK Visitor Visa application will be able to stay in the UK for up to 180 days (6 months). In limited circumstances individuals may be able to apply to stay in the UK for a longer period of time. Please note that not everyone will require a visa to visit the UK for less than 6 months. If you are a national or citizen of one of the countries or territories listed in Immigration Rules Appendix Visitor: Visa national list, then you will require entry clearance prior to coming to the UK (i.e. you will need a visa prior to travelling to the UK).
In order to apply for a UK Visitor Visa, an online application must be made from outside of the UK. As part of the application process, you will be required to meet a set of eligibility requirements, provide supporting documents, and depending on your circumstances, you may be required to attend an appointment at a visa application centre.
UK Standard Visitor Visa Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a UK Standard Visitor Visa, you will need to prove that you meet the following requirements:
- You intend to come to the UK for a short-term visit (a visit of less than six months).
- You intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit.
- You have sufficient funds to financially support yourself and your dependents (family members) for the duration of your visit.
- You can pay for your return or onward journey (and any other additional costs relating to your visit).
- You will not live in the UK by making frequent or successive visits to the country.
Please be aware that if your purpose for visiting the UK is related to studying, doing a placement, taking an exam, being an academic, senior doctor, dentist, or for medical reasons, there might be additional eligibility criteria that you need to fulfill. To ensure you have a clear understanding of the specific requirements you need to meet to apply for a UK Visitor Visa, get in touch to receive a free consultation with an expert immigration lawyer.
Genuine Visitor Requirement
The Home Office will assess your Visitor Visa application to ensure that they are satisfied that you are a genuine visitor. This means that they are satisfied that you:
Will leave the UK at the end of your visit.
Will not attempt to live in the UK for extended periods of time by making frequent or successive visits.
Are visiting the UK for a permitted reason and you will not engage in a prohibited activity.
Have sufficient funds to financially support your visit and pay for your onward travel.
Sufficient Funds Requirement
The Home Office does not outline a specific amount that you are required to show as proof of sufficient funds to adequately accommodate and maintain yourself (and any dependents) while in the UK. Nonetheless, border officials may enquire about the cost of your accommodation and request evidence that you have the funds available to cover the costs of visiting the UK. As part of their assessment they will take your ongoing financial commitments into consideration.
What can you do with a Visitor Visa?
If you are on a Visitor Visa, you will be allowed to engage in the following activities during your visit:
- Visit the UK for tourist purposes (i.e. you are on holiday).
- See family or friends.
- Volunteer for up to 30 days (with a registered charity).
- Pass through the UK to another country (i.e. you are ‘in transit’).
- Engage in certain business activities (e.g. attending an interview or meeting).
- Take part in a school exchange programme.
- Take part in a recreational course for up to 30 days (e.g. a dance course).
- Study, do a placement or sit an exam.
- Come to the UK as an academic, senior doctor or dentist.
- Come to the UK to receive private medical treatment.
What can’t you do with a Visitor Visa?
If you are on a Visitor Visa, you cannot engage in the following activities during your visit:
- Do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person.
- Claim public funds in the UK.
- Attempt to live in the UK for long periods of time by making frequent or successive visits to the country.
- Get married or register a civil partnership or give notice of marriage or civil partnership. If you would like to carry out any of these activities while in the UK, you will need a Marriage Visitor Visa.
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UK Visitor Visa Application Process
How to apply for a UK Visitor Visa
When applying for a UK Visitor Visa, an online application must be submitted. If you are applying with relatives then it is important that each person has their own application and pays the respective application fee.
After submitting your application, you may be required to attend a biometric appointment at a visa application centre in the country where you will be visiting the UK from. During this biometric appointment, your fingerprints and photograph will be taken and you will also be required to submit your passport. It is worth noting that certain visa application centres offer the option to retain your passport for a fee.
Once you have attended your biometric appointment at a visa application centre, your application will be forwarded to UK Visas and Immigration for processing.
Supporting documents for a Standard Visitor Visa
As part of the Standard Visitor Visa application process, you will be required to show that you are a genuine visitor. To be able to demonstrate this and satisfy immigration officials you can provide supporting documents which show that:
- You are coming to the UK to do a permitted activity.
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit.
- You can support yourself and any dependents during your visit.
- You can pay for your return or onward journey.
How much does a UK Visitor Visa cost?
The cost of a UK Visitor Visa starts at £115 for a Standard Visitor Visa. However, the cost of the Visitor Visa will vary depending on the duration of the visa, with longer-term visas incurring higher fees. Please see the table below for a full, updated breakdown of UK Visitor Visas (Correct at the time of writing - 4th October 2023).
|Fee||Maximum length of stay|
|UK Standard Visitor visa||£115||6 months|
|UK Standard Visitor visa (for medical reasons)||£200||11 months|
|UK Standard Visitor visa (for academics)||£200||12 months|
|2 year long-term UK Standard Visitor visa||£400||6 months per visit|
|5 year long-term UK Standard Visitor visa||£771||6 months per visit|
|10 year long-term UK Standard Visitor visa||£963||6 months per visit|
How long does a UK Visitor Visa take to process?
After attending your appointment at a visa application centre (if applicable) it will take around 3 weeks for a decision to be made on your UK Visitor Visa application. Depending on availability, you may be able to pay to receive a ‘priority service’ where you will get a decision within 5 working days or a ‘super priority’ service where you will get a decision by the end of the next working day.
When can I apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa?
If you need a UK Standard Visitor Visa, you must make an online application before you travel to the UK. The earliest you can apply for a Visitor Visa is 3 months before you travel to the UK.
How many days can you stay on a Standard Visitor Visa?
On a Standard Visitor Visa, you will be able to stay in the UK for up to 180 days (6 months). During this time you will be able to come to the UK and engage in a range of permitted activities which include tourism and certain business activities. In limited circumstances, you may be able to apply to stay longer in the UK.
Extending the Standard Visitor Visa
The possibility of extending your Standard Visitor Visa is dependent on the duration of your stay in the UK. If your stay has been less than 6 months, you have the opportunity to apply for an extension. For example, if your initial UK Visitor visa granted you 3 months of leave, you can extend it by an additional 3 months.
However, it's important to note that extending a UK Visitor visa beyond a 6-month period is generally limited to specific circumstances, which include:
- You are a patient receiving medical treatment.
- You are an academic and you meet the eligibility requirements.
- You are a graduate who is retaking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or are doing a clinical attachment.
Why work with Paragon Law?
Securing a Visitor Visa for the UK can present challenges in certain situations. However, our team of immigration lawyers and solicitors possesses expertise in dealing with Visitor Visa applications. With their knowledge and experience, they are fully equipped to assist clients in navigating through any complexities that may arise, ensuring comprehensive support for all individuals, regardless of their circumstances.
Standard Visitor Visa Fees
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a UK Visitor Visa take to process?
Once you have attended a biometric appointment, you can typically expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks. Depending on availability, you may be able to pay to receive a ‘priority service’ where you will get a decision within 5 working days or a ‘super priority’ service where you will get a decision by the end of the next working day.
How long can I stay in the UK with a Standard Visitor Visa?
With a Standard Visitor Visa, you will be able to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. However, if you are coming to the UK to receive private medical treatment then you are able to stay in the UK for longer.
There is the possibility of applying for a long term standard visa which lasts two years, five years, and ten years. However, visa holders can only stay in the UK for a maximum of six months per visit.
Can I extend a Standard Visitor Visa?
Extending a Standard Visitor Visa is limited to very specific circumstances.
How much does a UK Visitor Visa cost?
A standard six-month Visitor Visa costs £115. Whereas, a long-term Visitor Visa costs £400 for a two-year visa, £771 for a five-year visa, and £963 for a 10-year visitor visa.
- Correct at the time of writing (5th October 2023).
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