While it is meant to provide for flexible short-term visiting, this visa is complex and requires a good level of understanding to use it properly. This visa provides permission for a variety of activities. It permits entry for tourism and visiting family or friends. This visa doesn’t permit paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person. It does not permit access to public funds (benefits). It does not permit studying that lasts longer than 6 months. It also does not permit marriage or registering a civil partnership.
Visiting the UK
If you are looking to make a short term visit to the UK to visit family & friends, or for tourism purposes; then the standard visitor visa is likely the visa you’ll need to apply for. Visitor visas in the UK allow you to travel for short term stays of up to six months and can be used for leisure and business, among other reasons. This route is also suitable for EU citizens wishing to travel to the UK for a limited period of time and who do not wish to make the UK their permanent place of residence.
Eligibility for Visitor Visa
In order to be eligible for a visitor visa, you must show that:
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit
- You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home
- You are able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you)
- You are able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey)
Visitor Visa Documentation
To prove your eligibility for the UK visitor visa, it is important to provide the Home Office with evidence of the general requirements for eligibility as part of your UK visit visa requirements and application. As a non-EEA visa national, you’ll need to prove that:
- You have full intention to leave the UK at the end of your visit and do not plan to stay for longer than six months.
- You have evidence of any activities you intend to perform while in the UK, including business and other activities.
- You can afford your inward and outward journey including flights.
- You have access to sufficient funds in order to support and house yourself and any dependents throughout your stay without accessing public funds.
It is one thing knowing what you need to prove, but it’s another thing understanding how to do so. Immigration rules are strict and the Home Office refuses a lot of visas on the basis of a lack of supporting evidence.
To have your visa approved, you’ll need to give details about your current and previous passport numbers or an alternative valid travel identification. Remember, however, that any documentation needs to be accompanied with a certified translation if it isn’t in English or Welsh. Additional documents you might need to provide includes:
- Travel documents that detail the dates on which you plan to travel.
- An immigration record and history of international travel. Visa UK laws require a lot of information to be provided.
- An estimate for the cost of your visit as well proof of sufficient funds such as bank statements.
- Your overseas contact details and address.
- Details of any overseas employer company for which you are travelling to the UK.
The list can vary depending upon your circumstances. If you feel a little overwhelmed and want some support in putting your application together, contact our team team here at Meliora and our immigration solicitors are well-experienced and fully-qualified – no one is better placed to help guide you to a visa approval. We at Meliora see it as our duty to support you in understanding what you need to do to submit a successful application and how to go about it. Visit visa requirements for UK travel can be confusing, but we’re always on hand to provide guidance and assistance when you need it.
How long can I stay in the UK?
Generally, visitors can travel to the UK for up to 6 months at any one time, but not more than 6 months in any 12-month period. You cannot apply to extend the visa to permit longer stays unless you are visiting to access medical treatment in which case you can stay up to 11 months and if you are an academic visitor you can stay up to 12 months. Medical and academic visitors can apply for extensions but only in limited circumstances.
Can I switch into another visa from within the UK?
Visitors cannot switch into a different type of visa from inside the UK. For example, if you were visiting and you were offered a job, you will not be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa from inside the UK. You will be required to leave the UK and apply for a Skilled Worker visa from your country of residence to return in order to take up the job offer.
How much does this visa cost?
The visa fees depend on the duration for the visit visa you are applying for. For example, a visa with a 6-month validity period currently costs £95. A visa with longer validity periods attracts higher visa cost. Please note, applying for a Standard Visitor visa with a longer period of validity does not permit you to stay longer in the UK. Unless you are seeking medical treatment or you are an academic visitor, you remain limited to stays of 6 months in any 12-month period. You do not need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge as a visitor because your stay in the UK is temporary.
Can my family members join me?
Your family members are not included in your visitor visa application. If you wish for your family members to join you on your trip, then they must apply and pay for their own applications.
Is this the right visa for me?
Visitor visas do not permit long term residence in the UK through a series of frequent visits. If you want to live in the UK long term then you must consider one of the other non-visit options listed in page. If you want to do something other than visiting, for example employment or longer-term studying, then you will need to consider applying one of the other visas listed on this page.
Should I apply for a visitor visa before travelling to the UK?
If you are travelling to the UK as a visitor then you do not need to apply for a visa in advance of your travel. In some cases, it is advisable to apply for a visitor visa before you travel. For example, if you wish to undertake paid activities but you are not sure if the actual activities you wish to undertake will be permitted, then you can apply in advance for permission. You might also consider applying in advance if you have a previous criminal record or a history of non-compliance with immigration laws in any country. Your non-EU national family members must apply before they travel.