Standard Visitor Visa
If you are a visa national and you wish to visit the United Kingdom (‘UK’) for tourism, to visit family, or for business purposes for 6 months or less, you must apply for a standard visitor visa prior to arriving in the UK. If you a non-visa national who intends to visit the UK for more than 6 months as an academic or to receive private medical treatment, then you must also apply for a standard visitor visa before your arrival. If you are intending to get married or enter into a civil partnership, you must apply for a different type of visitor visa.
Length of a standard visitor visa
The maximum length of time you would be able to stay in the UK on a standard visitor visa is 6 months unless you are applying as an academic visitor or private medical visitor.
Can I extend my visitor visa?
You are unable to extend your stay in the UK beyond 6 months under the standard visitor visa route unless there are exceptional circumstances. This can be extended under certain circumstances and only if you are coming to the UK for private medical treatment or academic research.
Key requirements for a visitor visa
The key requirements for a visitor visa are:
- You are able to afford your return or onward journey;
- You will not work or undertake any prohibited activities unless permitted to do so;
- You cannot marry or enter into a civil partnership (unless you enter as a marriage visitor);
- You must be able to financially support yourself and any dependents during your visit without recourse to public funds;
- You must be able to adequately accommodate yourself and any dependents during your visit without recourse to public funds; and
- You must be able to demonstrate sufficient ties to return back to your home country e.g. confirmation of family, employment, assets etc.
What if I need to attend the UK frequently?
If you need to visit the UK frequently, you can apply for a long-term standard visitor visa (also known as a multiple entry visit visa). A long-term standard visitor visa can last for either 2 5, or 10 years.
Nevertheless, the maximum you can remain in the UK on a long-term standard visitor visa is still 6 months per visit.
For more information on our Standard Visitor Visas, please get in contact where we would love to discuss how we could help you in your application.Book Now
Visiting the UK to visit family
If you intend to visit family in the UK, you would be required to establish your family relationship e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate/s, letter of invitation etc.
Visiting the UK for business
Business visitors are permitted to undertake the following activities in the UK:
- attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews; and
- give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser; and
- negotiate and sign deals and contracts; and
- attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling; and
- carry out site visits and inspections; and
- gather information for their employment overseas; and
- be briefed on the requirements of a UK based customer, provided any work for the customer is done outside of the UK.
- An employee of an overseas based company may:
(a) advise and consult; and
(b) trouble-shoot; and
(c) provide training; and
(d) share skills and knowledge;
on a specific internal project with UK employees of the same corporate group, provided no work is carried out directly with clients.
Visiting the UK for private medical treatment
Due to the UK’s reputation in medical treatment and enhanced medical facilities, many foreign nationals wish to enter the UK to receive private medical treatment.
In order to enter the UK to receive medical treatment, you would be required to apply for a standard visitor visa. If the visa is granted, you will be able to stay in the UK for a period of 6 months (but no more than 11 months if entering the UK for private medical treatment).
As a visitor to the UK for private medical treatment, you would need to prove the following:
- You are genuinely seeking to enter the UK as a visitor to receive private medical treatment
- You have made the relevant arrangements for medical consultations or treatment in the UK
- You will leave the UK at the end of your treatment or before your visit visa expiry date
- You will have sufficient funds to cover all your expenses in the UK e.g. return flight tickets, accommodation expenses, the cost of the private medical treatment and your normal day-to-day expenses.
Visiting the UK as an academic
Academics can apply to come to the UK for up to 12-months. They may:
- take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors); and
- carry out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution; and
- if they are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.
The academic must be highly qualified within their own field of expertise; and
- currently be working in that field at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas; and
- provide a valid medical certificate, if they reside in or have resided in a listed country in the last 6 months, confirming that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis and that this tuberculosis is not present in them.
Prohibited activities for visitors
A visitor must not intend to work in the UK, which includes:
- taking employment in the UK; and
- doing work for an organisation or business in the UK; and
- establishing or running a business as a self-employed person; and
- doing a work placement or internship; and
- direct selling to the public; and
- providing goods and services
unless expressly allowed under the Immigration Rules.
- study in the UK, except as permitted by the Immigration Rules
- access medical treatment, other than private medical treatment or to donate an organ
- get married or form a civil partnership, or give notice of intention to marry or form a civil partnership, unless they are applying for entry clearance as a Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitor or are a relevant national as defined in section 62 of the Immigration Act 2014.
Visitors must not receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK, except in very limited circumstances
Visitor visas can only be extended in very limited circumstances, and are not usually granted for more than 6 months in total.
Visitor Visa Services
For those seeking to come to the UK for tourism and visiting family, usually for up to 6 months.
For those seeking to come to the UK to marry or form a civil partnership, or give notice of their intention to marry or enter into a civil partnership.
For experts in their field coming to the UK to undertake specific paid engagements for a maximum of 1 month.
For those who want to transit the UK on route to another country outside the Common Travel Area, and who will enter the UK for up to 48 hours by crossing the UK border.
Electronic Visa Waivers (EVW) provide a fast and efficient method for international travellers needing to obtain an appropriate visa.
Get in Touch
With years of experience working in UK immigration and British nationality law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps to obtain your visa. Get in touch today.