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Standard Visitor visa

Overview

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • for leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
  • for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • for another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment

Check if you need this visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the:

  • Family Visitor visa
  • General Visitor visa
  • Child Visitor visa
  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
  • Sports Visitor visa
  • Entertainer Visitor visa
  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa
  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa

If you visit the UK on business

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK for business-related activities, for example:

  • you’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
  • you want to take part in a specific sports-related event
  • you’re an artist, entertainer or musician and coming to the UK to perform
  • are an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
  • you’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post
  • you want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  • you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK

Check the Visitor Rules to find the full list of business-related activities you can do with a Standard Visitor visa.

If you’re being paid by a UK company to visit as an expert in your profession, you should apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

You cannot:

  • do paid or unpaid work
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • get public funds
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership

Read the guidance for more information about what you can and cannot do with a Standard Visitor visa.

How long it will take

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.

ExampleYou can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

Find out about paying for a faster decision.

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 (£190 fee)
  • you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research – you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months (£190 fee)

If you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a biometric residence permit.

You might be able to get a visit visa for up to 30 days if you’re a Chinese citizen visiting under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement.

If you need to visit the UK regularly

If you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. 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.

Fees

A Standard Visitor visa costs £95.

The fee for a long-term Standard Visitor visa depends on its length:

  • 2 years – £361
  • 5 years – £655
  • 10 years – £822

Eligibility

You must always show that:

  • you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • you’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip
  • you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit
  • you have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules

If you’re applying for a long-term Standard Visitor visa

You must prove that:

  • you’ll only ever need to come to the UK to visit, for example to go on holiday, see family or attend a meeting
  • you plan to leave the UK at the end of each visit

You may be given a visa for a shorter period than requested if you do not do this. You will not get a refund of the application fee if you get a shorter visa or your application is refused.

Your visa may be cancelled and you may get a long-term ban on visiting if your travel history shows you’re repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods.

If you’re applying as an academic

You can stay in the UK for 12 months if you’re applying as an academic. You must prove you’re highly qualified within your field of expertise, on sabbatical leave from your home institution and visiting to either:

  • take part in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart
  • carry out your own research
  • take part in someone else’s research, teaching or clinical practice – as long as this does not involve filling a permanent teaching post

If you’re applying to visit for private medical treatment

You must prove that you:

  • have a medical condition that needs private consultation or treatment in the UK
  • have made or paid for arrangements for consultations or treatment
  • have enough money to pay for your treatment, support yourself without using public funds and pay for your return or onward journey
  • will leave the UK once your treatment is completed, or when your visa expires
  • are not a danger to public health if you have an infectious disease, such as leprosy

If you’re applying as an organ donor

You can only visit the UK to donate organs to:

  • a family member who you’re genetically related to (for example your sibling or parent)
  • someone you have a close personal relationship with (for example your spouse or friend)

You must prove that the person you’re donating an organ to is legally allowed to be in the UK.

Documents you must provide

When you apply you’ll need to provide a current passport or other valid travel identification.

You need a blank page in your passport for your visa. Your passport should be valid for the whole of your stay in the UK.

You’ll also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

You’ll be told how to provide your documents when you apply.

Read the full list of supporting documents you can provide.

You might need to provide additional documents if you’re visiting the UK:

  • for private medical treatment
  • to apply as an organ donor
  • as an academic on sabbatical and want to stay for 12 months
  • as a prospective entrepreneur
  • to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  • in transit to a country outside the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands

Other information you’ll need

You’ll need to provide the following:

  • the dates you’re planning to travel to the UK
  • details of where you’ll be staying during your visit
  • how much you think your trip will cost
  • your current home address and how long you’ve lived there
  • your parents’ names and dates of birth
  • how much you earn in a year

You might also need:

    • details of your travel history for the past 10 years (as shown in your passport)
    • your employer’s address and telephone number
    • your partner’s name, date of birth, and passport number
    • the name and address of anyone paying for your trip
    • the name, address and passport number of any family members you have in the UK
    • details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences you have committed

If you’re under 18

You can apply for a standard visitor visa if you’re under 18 and:

  • you’ve made suitable arrangements for your travel and stay in the UK
  • you have consent from your parent or guardian to travel to the UK
  • you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey
  • you have enough money to support yourself without working or getting help from public funds, or you have family and friends that can support you

Travelling alone

You can travel to the UK without an adult (someone over the age of 18).

Your parent or guardian will need to provide their:

  • written consent for you to travel to the UK
  • full contact details

They’ll also need to provide proof that you have somewhere suitable to live during your stay in the UK, including:

  • the name and date of birth of the person that you will be staying with
  • an address where you will be living
  • details of your relationship to the person who’ll be looking after you
  • consent in writing so they can look after you during your stay in the UK

Travelling with an adult

When travelling to the UK with an adult (someone over the age of 18), you’ll need to identify them in your visa application.

If the person you’re travelling with is not your parent, you’ll need to provide specific information about them in your application.

Their name will appear on your visa, and you’ll be refused entry to the UK if you arrive in the UK without them.

You can identify up to 2 adults in your visa application, and your visa will only be valid if you travel with at least one of them.

The adult can apply for a visa at the same time, but you must each complete separate applications.

Apply

Apply from outside the UK online

You must apply online. As part of your online application, you need to book an appointment at a visa application centre. You’ll have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at your appointment.

Find out how to get your visa decision faster – this depends on what country you’re in. Check if your visa application centre offers faster decisions and other services.

 Apply now

Apply from within the UK

You might be able to extend your visa if you’re already in the UK.

Apply from North Korea

You cannot apply online if you’re from North Korea. You must instead:

Extend your visa

You may be able to extend your visa as long as the total time you spend in the UK is less than 6 months. For example if you apply for a 3 month visa, you can apply to extend it for 3 more months.

Read the guidance to find out if you can extend your visa.

You should apply before your current visa expires.

If you’re receiving private medical treatment in the UK

You can apply to extend your visa for a further 6 months if you:

  • have paid for any treatment you’ve already had in the UK
  • can and will pay the further costs of your treatment
  • continue to meet the eligibility requirements

You must also get a medical practitioner or NHS consultant who’s registered in the UK to provide:

  • proof of arrangements for your private medical consultation or treatment
  • a letter saying how long your treatment is likely to take
  • details of the progress of your treatment, if it’s already started

Eligibility

You must apply while you’re still in the UK.

How to extend your visa

You must apply online to extend your visa.

Providing biometric information and supporting documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit your supporting documents. You can:

  • upload them into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

Get help to apply online

You can get help with completing the online form if you:

  • do not feel confident using a computer or mobile device
  • do not have internet access

You can only use this service if you’re applying to extend your visa in the UK.

You cannot get immigration advice through this service.

Fees

It costs:

  • £993 to extend this visa
  • an extra £800 if you use the super priority service

You must also pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.

How long it takes

A decision will be made within 8 weeks of your application date if you use the standard service.

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.

Data Source: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa

Countries in the EU and EEA

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 countries. It operates an internal (or single) market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.

EU countries

The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The European Economic Area (EEA)

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.

Switzerland is not an EU or EEA member but is part of the single market. This means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Citizens’ rights after the UK leaves the EU

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens currently living in the UK until 30 June 2021.

You can read about the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU after the UK leaves the EU.