Standard Visitor Visa

The UK is one of the world’s most visited destinations, so it is important to check before travelling if you require a visa to visit or transit the UK.  The Standard Visitor visa allows foreign nationals to visit the UK as a tourist, to visit family and friends, for business, short-term studies, exchange programmes, research, volunteering, private medical treatment and other permitted activities for up to 6 months.

Our solicitors can assist you with a bespoke personalised service, advising on visa eligibility and requirements, completing and submitting the application form on your behalf, reviewing supporting documents, and accompanying the process until your visa is issued.

 If your Standard Visitor visa has been refused, you do not normally have a right to appeal the decision. Depending on your particular circumstances, our solicitors can assist with reapplying for a new visa or challenging the decision by making an application for Judicial Review or Administrative Review on your behalf.

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What I can or cannot do during my visit

As a Standard Visit visa holder, you are permitted to:

  • visit the UK as a tourist
  • visit family or friends
  • volunteer with a registered charity for up to 30 days
  • pass through the UK in transit (on your way to another country)
  • conduct certain business activities, including:
  • attend interviews, conferences, meetings and seminars
  • negotiate and sign business deals and contracts
  • attend trade fairs to promote your business, although you cannot sell things
  • receive training if you are employed overseas and the training is not available in your home country
  • give a one-off or short series of talks at a non-commercial or not-for-profit event without receiving a payment
  • carry out site visits and inspections or oversee the delivery of goods and services provided by a UK company to your overseas company or organisation
  • deliver training or share knowledge internally with UK employees of the company you work for overseas
  • visit the UK to 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
  • perform other permitted activities stipulated in the Visitor Rules
  • attend recreational courses for up to 30 days as long as it is not the main reason for your visit, take part in an exchange program or educational visit, if you are under 18
  • study at an accredited institution for up to 6 months, take exams or do a placement or a short piece of research relevant to your course overseas
  • visit as an academic, senior doctor, or dentist
  • receive medical treatment privately

As a Standard Visitor visa holder, you cannot:  

  • do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person
  • claim public funds (benefits)
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent or successive visits
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership. You will need to apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa

What are the requirements for a Standard Visitor visa?

You must meet the following eligibility requirements:  

  • You must genuinely intend to depart the UK at the end of your visit
  • You must have sufficient funds to support yourself while in the UK
  • You can fund your onward journey, and
  • You will not live in the UK by making successive visits using a Visitor Visa

What documents and information are required to make an application?

To make an application, the following will be required:

  • Valid passport or travel document has a blank page on both sides for your visa
  • Travel dates
  • Where you will be staying in the UK
  • Financial details related to your trip, including your annual earnings, if any
  • Your parents’ names and date of birth
  • Details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences you may have committed

 You might also be required to provide:  

  • Details of your travel history for the past 10 years
  • Details of your employer
  • Details of your partner’s name
  • Details of your sponsor, if any
  • Details of your family member you may have in the UK
  • A certificate of a Tuberculosis test, if you are visiting for more than 6 months.
  • For business, study, medical treatment or as an academic you will be required to provide additional information related to the purpose of your trip  

You will be required to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

How can I apply? How long does it take to get a decision?

You can apply up to 3 months before your intended travel. You will be required to submit an online application and to book an appointment at visa application centre to prove your identity and provide documents. At your appointment, you will need to:  

  • prove your identity with your current passport or valid travel document
  • have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken
  • provide the required documents that show you are eligible for a visa  

You can apply up to 3 months before your intended travel. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre as per the current visa processing times. The actual time varies depending on the complexity of your case and whether your application is straightforward.  

You may be able to get you visa faster using priority service (within 5 working days) or super-priority service (next working day) if these services are available in the country you are applying from.

How long can I stay in the UK?

Standard Visitor Visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You might be able to stay longer, for:  

  • up to 11 months, if you come to the UK for a private medical treatment
  • up to 12 months, if you are an academic on sabbatical and come to the UK  

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

You can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa that is issued for 2, 5 or 10 years if you need to visit the UK regularly. You can stay for up to 6 months during each stay in the UK. Your visa may be cancelled if your travel history shows you are repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods.

What can I do if my visa is refused?

If your Standard Visitor visa application has been refused you do not normally have a right to appeal the decision. Depending on your particular circumstances, you might be able to challenge the decision or to make a new visa application.  

If you decide to reapply, you shall address in the new visa application all reasons for your refusal, providing all missing information and relevant supporting evidence. If you choose to challenge the refusal of your visa, you may be able to apply for Judicial Review to contest the lawfulness of the decision or for Administrative Review if a mistake was made by UKVI during the decision making process.