Standard Visitor visa
With a Standard Visitor you can come to the UK for the following reasons:
- For tourism, for example on a holiday or to see your family and friends;
- For certain business activities, for example attending a meeting or conference;
- To do a short course of study (for up to 6 months);
- To take part in research or an exchange programme as an academic;
- For medical reasons, for example to receive private medical treatment.
You may not have to apply for a visa depending on your nationality and what you plan to do in the UK.
With a Standard Visitor visa you cannot:
- Do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person;
- Live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits;
- Claim public funds (benefits);
- Do a course of study that lasts longer than 6 months;
- Marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership – You’ll need a Marriage Visitor visa instead.
To apply, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Provide evidence that you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit;
- You’ll not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
- Provide evidence that you’re able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you);
- Provide evidence that you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey);
- Have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules (for example, research as part of an overseas study course, private medical treatment, organ donor, Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test, Objective Structured Clinical Examination – OSCE);
- If you’re under 18, provide written consent from your parent or guardian to travel to the UK (if traveling alone) and provide proof that you have somewhere suitable to live during your stay in the UK.
How long you can stay
You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months.
You might be able to stay for longer if:
- you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment – up to 11 months; or
- you’re an academic and meet the eligibility requirements – you, your spouse or partner and your children may be able to stay for up to 12 months.
If you’re staying in the UK for longer than 6 months, you might have to provide tuberculosis test results as part of your application if applicable.
If you need to visit the UK regularly
You can apply for a Long-Term Standard Visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years if you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.
If you’re under 18 years old when you apply, your Long-Term Standard Visitor visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18.
When to apply and how long it takes
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel to the UK.
Our team of immigration lawyers has vast experience in assisting with all types of Visitor visas. For assistance, please contact our experienced immigration lawyers today on 07429429892, 02038563516 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re visiting for tourism or leisure
You can visit the UK to:
- spend time with friends and family;
- take a holiday;
- do a recreational course of up to 30 days, for example a dance course;
- volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity;
- take part in a school exchange programme.
If you’re visiting on business
You can visit the UK for many different business reasons, including attending meetings, conferences, trade fairs or negotiating contracts.
You can do certain business activities with UK employees of the company you work for overseas, for example provide training or share knowledge on internal projects.
If you’re visiting to study for up to 6 months
You can visit the UK to study for up to 6 months at an accredited institution, including English language courses.
If you want to study longer you’ll need to apply for a:
- Student visa (if your course is run by a licensed sponsor);
- Short-Term Study visa (for English Language courses up to 11 months);
- A Child Student visa for 4 to 17 year olds who want to study at an independent school. If you’re 16 or over, you can do some work on this visa.
If you’re visiting as an academic
You can stay in the UK for up to 12 months if you’re applying as an academic.
If you’re from an academic institution overseas, you can:
- take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts; and
- carry out your own research during a sabbatical.
If you’re a senior doctor or dentist you can also:
- take part in research;
- teach (as long as it is not a permanent teaching post); and
- undertake clinical practice (as long as it’s not a permanent position).
You must prove you’re:
- highly qualified in your field of expertise, for example you have a PhD;
- currently working in that field of expertise at an academic institution overseas;
- visiting for a formal exchange or to carry out research; and
- not filling a permanent teaching post.
If you’re visiting for private medical treatment
You can visit the UK if you want to have private medical treatment at a hospital or other medical facility.
You can also visit to donate an organ to a family member or close friend. This includes being assessed for suitability as a donor match.
If you’re passing through the UK to another country
You can pass through the UK to another country as a Standard Visitor.
If transiting is your only reason for coming to the UK, then you may apply for a Transit visa instead.
Extending your stay as a visitor
You cannot switch from a Standard Visitor visa to another type of visa.
You may be able to extend your stay as long as the total time you spend in the UK as a visitor is no more than 6 months.
You must apply while you’re still in the UK and before your current visa expires.
You can only apply to extend your stay as a visitor for over 6 months if you’re:
- a patient receiving medical treatment;
- an academic and you still meet the eligibility requirements;
- a graduate doing a clinical attachment or retaking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test.
If you did not need a visa for the first 6 months of your visit, you’ll need to apply for permission to stay longer and pay the fee.
If you want a visa to do something other than visiting, for example work or longer-term study, you’ll need to leave the UK and make a new application.
You must prove that you’ll only ever be coming to the UK to visit and that you plan to leave at the end of each visit.
Your visa may be cancelled if your travel history shows you are repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods.