- What is a Visitor Visa?
- Which Activities Are Permitted Under the Visitor Visa?
- Which Activities Are Not Permitted?
- What Are the Requirements for Business Visitors?
- Who Needs a Visitor Visa?
- Am I Eligible for a UK Visitor Visa?
- How Do I Apply?
- What Are the Required Documents?
- What Are the Fees and Processing Times?
- Will I Be Able to Extend My Visa?
- How Can Manchester Immigration Lawyers Help Me?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Visitor Visa?
The UK Standard Visitor visa (also known as a UK Tourist visa or a Family Visitor visa) is a short-term visa aimed at those who wish to visit the UK for up to 6 months, typically for tourism reasons, short-term business trips or to spend time with friends and family.
The UK Visitor visa can also be used for other purposes, such as academic purposes or to receive private medical treatment in the UK.
It is also possible to use a Visitor visa for the purposes of converting a civil partnership into a marriage.
Taking up paid or unpaid employment under a Visitor visa is strictly prohibited. If you wish to work in the UK, you will need to apply for another type of visa such as a Temporary Worker visa or Skilled Worker visa depending on your circumstances.
If you are a citizen of some countries including EEA countries, Switzerland and some Commonwealth countries, you will not need to apply for a UK Visitor visa.
Which Activities Are Permitted Under the Visitor Visa?
Visitor visa holders are only permitted to engage in certain activities during their time in the UK. These include the following:
- Tourism and/or leisure-related activities such as visiting friends and family
- Converting a civil partnership into a marriage
- Travelling through the UK whilst en route to a different location
- Studying, taking a placement or an exam
- Volunteering for up to 30 days with a registered charity
- Taking part in any of the business activities that are mentioned in the visitor rules, for example attending meetings, negotiating deals and contracts, and carrying out site visits
- Visiting as an academic
- Receiving private medical treatment
Which Activities Are Not Permitted?
Participating in certain activities that are not permitted under the Visitor visa will constitute a breach of its terms. These activities are as follows:
- Taking part in paid or unpaid work for a UK company, or as a self-employed individual
- Providing goods and/or services
- Receiving public funds or benefits
- Becoming married or entering into a civil partnership
- Residing in the UK beyond the length of your visa
All of the above activities can result in the termination of your Visitor visa, and as a result, the curtailment of your leave to remain in the UK.
If you wish to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK, you must instead apply for a Marriage Visitor visa.
What Are the Requirements for Business Visitors?
If you wish to visit the UK with a Business Visitor visa, there is a limited list of things that you will be able to do.
These include the following:
- Attend interviews, meetings, conferences and seminars
- Negotiate and sign deals and contracts
- Attend trade fairs to promote your business (you cannot sell things)
- Get work-related training if you’re employed overseas and the training is not available in your home country
- Give a one-off or short series of talks as long as they’re not for profit or a commercial event
- Carry out site visits and inspections
- Oversee the delivery of goods and services provided by a UK company to your overseas company or organisation
- Deliver training or share knowledge on internal projects with UK employees of the company you work for overseas
- Install, dismantle, repair, service or advise on equipment, computer software and hardware, if your overseas company has a contract with a UK company or organisation
You must also meet the general requirements for a Visitor visa in order to apply.
Who Needs a Visitor Visa?
If you wish to visit the UK and you’re a national of the 50+ visa required countries or territories, you will first need to acquire a Visitor visa before coming to the UK.
If you’re from one of the visa-exempt countries, such as many countries in the EEA and the Commonwealth, you will not need to apply for a visa in order to come and visit the UK. However, you must still meet the standard visitor visa requirements in order to visit.
If you need a Visitor visa, it’s important to confirm that what you want to do in the UK will be covered by the UK Visitor visa. If you wish to do anything in the UK that isn’t covered, such as undertaking paid work, getting married or taking a long-term study course, you must instead apply for another type of visa that will specifically allow these things.
Am I Eligible for a UK Visitor Visa?
To successfully apply for a UK Visitor visa, there are a number of eligibility requirements that must first be satisfied. These are as follows:
- You must demonstrate that you intend to leave the UK either on or prior to the expiration date of your visa
- You must demonstrate that you are able to afford your onward journey from the UK once your stay comes to an end
- You must provide proof of the activities you intend to participate in during your time in the UK
- You must demonstrate that you are able to financially support yourself and any dependents you intend to bring with you for the duration of your stay in the UK
It is essential that you are clear about which activities you are permitted to take part in during your time in the UK. Taking part in activities that are not permitted will mean you are in breach of the terms of your visa.
How Do I Apply?
You will have to apply for a Visitor visa online through the gov.uk website.
As part of the application process, you will have to give a range of personal information about yourself in order for the Home Office to confirm that you are eligible to receive a Visitor visa.
You may also have to attend an appointment at a local visa application centre close to where you reside.
Note that if you plan to travel with family members, each person must complete their own separate application and pay the fee themselves. You may be able to apply on behalf of your partner and child if they’re unable to apply for themselves, however.
What Are the Required Documents?
The exact list of documents that you will need to provide when applying for the Visitor visa will vary depending on your reasons for visiting the UK. However, the required documents may include (but not be limited to) the following:
- Valid passport or travel document valid for the whole of your stay in the UK
- Details of your visit to the UK, such as the following:
- The dates of your trip
- Where you’ll be staying
- The costs of your trip
- Your current address and how long you’ve lived there for
- Your parents’ names and dates of birth
- Details pertaining to employment or studies if you have stated in your application that you are working or studying full-time
- Proof that you have the necessary funds available to support yourself during your time in the UK – this can take the form of bank statements or a letter from your employer confirming income
- Confirmation of legal residence if applying from a country you are not a national of
- If visiting the UK for business purposes, you must provide documentation pertaining to what you will be doing whilst in the UK
- Details of any past criminal convictions or immigration offences, if any
- A tuberculosis test result, if you’re from one of the required countries.
Note that you will have to provide additional documents if you’re coming to the UK to study, as an academic, or for medical reasons.
Which visas have been replaced by the Standard Visitor visa?
The Standard Visitor visa has replaced a host of more specific visitor visas and amalgamated them into one. These are as follows:
- Prospective Entrepreneur UK Visitor visa
- Private Medical Treatment UK Visitor visa
- Approved Destination Status (ADS) UK Visitor visa
- Business UK Visitor visa (this includes a number of professions from sportspeople to businesspeople)
- General UK Visitor visa
- Family UK Visitor visa
- Child UK Visitor visa
What Are the Fees and Processing Times?
The various fees for different types of Visitor visa are listed below.
|Standard Visitor visa||£100|
|Standard Visitor visa for medical reasons||£200|
|Standard Visitor visa for academics||£200|
|2 year long-term Standard Visitor visa||£376|
|5 year long-term Standard Visitor visa||£670|
|10 year long-term Standard Visitor visa||£837|
After you’ve submitted your application, supplied all your supporting documents and proved your identity, you should normally receive a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
If you need your application processed quicker, you may be able to pay for a priority service.
The standard priority service ensures that your application is processed within 5 days and costs £250. Meanwhile, the super priority service ensures that your application is processed by the end of the next working day and costs £956.
Note that priority services may not always be available in all countries.
Will I Be Able to Extend My Visa?
Under normal circumstances, you will only be permitted to extend your valid visa if it was initially granted for less than six months. If this situation applies to you, you will be able to extend it up to the full six months. Under all other circumstances, you will not be permitted to extend your visa.
Six months is the maximum length of stay permitted by any UK Visitor visa. If your circumstances are such that you need to make repeat visits to the UK it is possible to apply for long-term Visitor visas that last up to 10 years. However, holders of these visas will still only be permitted to remain in the UK for six months at a time. It should also be noted that long-term Visitor visas are more expensive than Standard Visitor visas.
If you wish to apply for a new UK Visitor visa once your current one comes to an end, applications cannot be submitted in-country. You must return to your country of residence in order to submit a new application.
How Can Manchester Immigration Lawyers Help Me?
A UK Visitor visa provides a person with the ability to visit the UK for all manner of purposes, from attending business meetings to visiting friends and loved ones. We understand how important this is, and as a result, do all that we can to deliver you an approved application.
Manchester Immigration Lawyers are experts in the field of UK immigration and have already helped thousands of people to obtain visas and come to the UK.
We offer full and comprehensive application packages, where we take all the stress and hassle of the UK Visitor visa application out of your hands and ensure that your application is completed to the highest standards possible. We also offer document checking services if you need peace of mind that your documents align with Home Office guidelines.
Whether you’re unsure about how to get started with a visa application, need advice on whether you meet the requirements for a Visitor visa, or just need some additional help and support with the application process, we can help.
For more information about the services we offer and what we could do for you, reach out to one of our advisers today. Call us on 0161 826 9783 or use the contact form to get in touch.
Last modified on April 4th, 2023 at 8:36 am
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Under 18s can travel to the UK with a Child Visitor visa.
As part of the requirements, under-18s will need to have written consent from their parent or guardian if travelling alone, as well as provide details of where they will be staying and who they will be staying with.
Yes, the UK Visitor visa does enable the holder to conduct certain business activities, such as attending meetings and giving talks (providing they are not for commercial purposes).
However, taking up paid or unpaid employment is strictly prohibited. If you wish to work in the UK, you will need to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, or a Temporary Worker visa, depending on your circumstances.
You can visit the UK and stay for a maximum of 6 months on each Visitor visa.
You can also apply to extend your UK Visitor visa, but the total time you spend in the UK must not be more than 6 months.
You can also apply for long-term visit visa if you travel to the UK regularly. These visas are valid for 2, 5 or 10 years.
If you’re an academic who wishes to visit the UK, you can visit to either take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts or carry out your own research during a sabbatical.
Note that you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate to research certain subjects at post-graduate level and above.