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UK Visitor Visa: Eligibility Criteria, Cost, and 5 Steps to Apply

You can visit your friends, spouse, or relative in the United Kingdom with a UK Visitor Visa. Besides, you go on a tourism trip in the UK and stay up to 6 months with a UK visitor visa. The UK Visitor Visa allows a person from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland to visit the UK for up to six months. And you can only visit with a UK visitor visa. So whether s a short-term visitor visa or a long-term, you should have a Visa to visit.

Moreover, to get a UK visitor visa, you will have to meet specific eligibility requirements. Therefore, in this article, we have covered the requirements needed to be eligible for this visa. We also stated the appointment procedure to make it easy for you to apply if you qualify.

The purpose of the UK Visitor Visa

The UK Visitor Visa is meant to fulfill different purposes. So this visa is established for those that wish to travel to the United Kingdom for purposes like:

  • Tourism.
  • To visit family members.
  • Medical treatment.
  • For professional reasons.

Note: The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the following types of visas:

  • 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.

The application process for United Kingdom Visitor Visa

For you to apply for a visa to visit anybody in the UK, you will go through these simple five steps:

  1. Check if you are eligible for a tourist visa.
  2. Complete the online application form.
  3. Collect the required documents.
  4. Schedule an appointment.
  5. Attend the interview.

#1. Check if you are eligible for a UK visitor visa

Only some people are eligible for a United Kingdom visitor visa. This is because some countries are exempted from this visa before visiting the UK. Therefore, you may be among them. Otherwise, it would be best to have a UK visitor visa for your tourism or other visiting purposes.

#2. Complete the online application form

Normally, the online form for the United Kingdom visa contains questions on personal details, which you need to provide by filling the form. Those details are:

  • your name & surname.
  • nationality.
  • country of residence.
  • marital status.
  • personal number.
  • passport number.
  • reason for wishing to enter the UK.
  • other information about your application.

Note: if the information in the application form doesn’t comply with the information in the other required documents, your application will not be accepted.

#3. Collect the required documents

At this point, you will provide the required documents to continue your visa application process. See below for the documents you need to provide for the UK visitor visa.

#4. Schedule a UK visa appointment

This step requires you to pick an appointment for visa interview. After making the appointment online, print the email confirming your appointment details, and take it with you to the UK visa application center you have chosen to attend, together with the required documents. Failure to do so may not be attended to.

#5. Attend the UK visa interview

Finally, you will attend a UK visa interview at the visa application center. When you go to the UK visa application center, you will need to provide your biometric information, which includes a photograph and a digital scan of your fingerprints.

Required Documents for UK Visitor Visa

The documents required to apply for a United Kingdom visitor visa are as follows:

  • UK tourist visa application form, VAF1A. You should complete the form online.
  • Two photographs following the UK guidelines. They should be taken within the past six months and be in color.
  • Your valid passport with at least one blank page. It must be valid for three more months before you leave the UK after your trip.
  • Proof of financial means to cover living costs while in the UK. This may be your bank statements for the last six months or payslips for the same period.
  • Specifics about your accommodation in the UK. You will need to present a document that shows where you will be accommodated while in the UK.
  • Certified translations of any document that is not in either English or Welsh.
  • Recognized certificate of English language.
  • Your criminal history.
  • If you are a student: Academic and professional certificates.
  • The names and birthdates of your natural/adoptive parents. This has to be supported by information about the number of their annual earnings.

Other documents for this visa

Note: you do not have to fully pay for a hotel/hostel in the UK before getting the visa to get such a document. This could also be:

  • ID information and living address of a person covering your travel costs.
  • And ID information and passport number of any relative living here.
  • Detailed travel itinerary. It has to contain dates of your onward and backward travel. Submit a travel plan that gives all the information regarding how and what you plan to do in the UK. Include the travel dates, places you will visit, meeting agenda, booked tour, festival agenda, etc.
  • Previous travel history. This has to cover the period of the last ten years. It can be proven through visas and entry/exit border stamps in current and older passports or separate residence titles.
  • Specifics about your living address in the home country. Also, you’ve to show how long you’ve been living there.
  • Biometric information. If you are applying for a visa that lets you stay in the UK for more than six months, you must submit your biometric information. This includes giving your fingerprints and a digital photograph at the appropriate application center.
  • Letter of invitation from the host.
  • Paid UK visa fees. You should submit the receipt that confirms you have paid the visa fee as required.
  • Certified translations of any document that is not in either English or Welsh.
  • If you are employed in your home country: Contact and information of your existing employer.
  • Tuberculosis Test Results. Nationals of several world countries will need to submit requests for a Tuberculosis Test to be eligible for a UK Visa. Check here if you need to provide the TB test results.

Extra required documents

There are extra documents to submit depending on your purpose of visit. Different purposes and extra documents are in the list below:

For academic researchers who are expecting to complete an exchange or research project in the UK:

  • Formal letter of a home-country employer. It must show you’ve been authorized to leave your current job for an exchange or research project in the UK. It has to show the dates of such approved leave.
  • And a formal letter from the host institution/organization in the UK. It must show in writing they’ve made the needed arrangements for the specified exchange or research project.

If you’re expecting to take private medical treatment in the UK:

  • Letter confirming your medical condition. Issued by a UK doctor/consultant, naming your disease and the need for the cure in the UK. It also has to show costs, place, and the period of private cure.
  • Proof of having paid the complete costs of medical care.
  • And letter confirming you need further care. (If you’re applying for a visa extension).
  • Issued by a UK doctor/consultant confirming you need further treatment of the disease. It must be accompanied by documents showing you have the money to pay the costs of such treatment.

For organ donors to a person in need in the UK:

  • Letter naming you as a donor match or the need for getting tested as a potential donor match. It must be issued by the prominent nurse/director of the UK’s NHS Trust’s Living Donor Kidney Transplant Team or a registered doctor as an NHS consultant. It has to show when and where the tests or transplant will occur.
  • Proof of residence in the UK of the organ recipient. Your organ recipient’s photocopied British passport or valid UK residence permit.
  • And evidence that the organ recipient will be in the UK before the transplantation date. (If the organ recipient is out of the UK).
  • Details of their travel to the UK, name, nationality, and date of birth.

If you’re visiting intending to become a UK Entrepreneur in the Future:

  • Support letter from venture capital firms in the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority must regulate the firm issuing it.
  • Letter of support from an endorsed UK entrepreneurial seed funding competition.
  • Supportive letter from UK departments.

For Professional Training/Assessment:

  • Confirmation letter for an arranged PLAB or OSCE test. (If you’re expecting to sit a PLAB/OSCE test). It must be issued by a General Medical Council & Nursing and Midwifery Council, confirming that the test has been arranged.
  • Formal job offer as a clinician/dental observer. (If applicable). It must not be a gainful job, and you must not have worked before in the same job position.

Things you can’t and can do with UK Visitor Visa

With the United Kingdom visitor visa, a holder must not use public medical services, only private ones, must not use public funds, get married or enter a civil partnership and not announce any of them, and must not get a voluntary job.

Job-related activities allowed for a Standard Visitor Visa holder are:

  • Participate in a conference, regular meeting, training, or sport-related event.
  • As an artist, perform in an artistic, entertaining, or musical activity.
  • And As an academic to do a research study.
  • As accompanying academic students who are about to enroll in Foreign Studies Programme.
  • Engage in clinical duty or a job as an observer, doctor, or dentist.
  • Undertake a test of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) or the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
  • And Undertake a test of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) or the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

Things you can do with UK Visitor Visa

Activities allowed on a UK Visitor Visa:

The UK visitor visa allows a person to do a range of things:

  • To take a holiday in the UK.
  • Visit family or friends for business reasons.
  • To take part in sports or creative events.
  • Receive private medical treatment.
  • Study for up to 30 days, provided there are other reasons for your visit.
  • If you are under 18 years, you may take part in an exchange program or educational visit.
  • You can convert your civil partnership into a marriage.

Things you can not do with UK Visitor Visa

Activities not allowed on the United Kingdom Visitor Visa

  • You are not allowed to do paid or unpaid work.
  • And You cannot, through frequent visits to the UK, live in the UK.
  • There is no access to UK public funds.
  • One cannot marry, register a civil partnership or give notice of marriage or a civil partnership. You can only do this if you have applied for a Marriage Visitor Visa. Please speak to one of our consultants for more information.

Standard Visitor Visa Extension

You may extend your United Kingdom visitor visa or Standard visitor visa in some exceptional circumstances. Although, the complete time of extension along with the visa period doesn’t exceed six months, except for the following cases:

  • If you are on private medical treatment.
  • You may get an additional 6-month visa extension to get medical care. You have to prove that you have paid your care costs, that you can pay additional costs, and you haven’t broken immigration and visa rules.
  • If you’re an academic completing a research project. The amount of extension and the initial visa period shouldn’t be more than 12 months.
  • And if you’re sitting the PLAB examination for the second time. You may get an additional six months through an extension.
  • If you want to engage in clinical duty after passing the PLAB examination.
  • The period through extension doesn’t exceed a year and a half.

United Kingdom visitor Visa Fees

It costs £89 to apply for a United Kingdom visitor visa. However, for private medical treatment given for 6 to 11 months and for an academic to do research for up to 1 year, the fee is £179. At the same time, a long-term visa for two years is £337, £612 for five years, and £767 for ten years.

To apply for an extension costs £993 for an application through the post and £1,583 for an application in person.

The validity period for a UK Visitor visa

With a UK visitor visa, you may stay in the UK for the following periods:

  • At most, 30 days. If you are a traveler under an ADS agreement.
  • Up to 6 months. If you are traveling for a family visit or tourism.
  • And Up to 11 months. If you are traveling for private medical treatment.
  • Up to 12 months. If you are an academic completing a research project in the UK.

United Kingdom Long-Term Standard Visitor Visa

This is a visitor visa with a validity period of 2, 5, and up to 10 years, issued if you need to travel regularly to the UK for temporary visits.

To apply for a UK Long-Term Standard Visitor Visa, you need to provide the following documents:

  • Evidence of regular temporary visits to the UK.
  • Proof of intention to leave the UK at the end of the visa period.
  • Confirm that you won’t change the reason you require this visa.


What is the application processing time for UK Visitor Visa?

The decision on your UK visitor visa is taken in 8 weeks if you apply by post. However, the decision is made on the day you apply if you use the premium service. A longer period may apply to decide if further documentation is required.

Can I change my visitor visa to a work visa in the UK?

No. It is impossible to switch visitor visas in the UK to jobs, work permits, or any other route. However, only a prospective entrepreneur can switch visitor visas from the UK to an innovator visa after securing funding. And only in limited circumstances a tourist or visitor can apply for a UK visit visa extension.

How long is a UK visitor visa valid?

You can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa if you visit the UK regularly. This visa lasts 2, 5, or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit. However, 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.

How much is the bank balance required for the UK visit visa?

You must have at least £4,000 in your savings. Anything less than that can raise questions and lead to visa refusal. However, UK Visas and Immigration does not specify what is acceptable in terms of funds.

How much does a UK visitor visa cost?

The 2-year visitor visa is £361 per applicant, £655 for five years, or £822 for ten years.

Can I marry on a visitor visa in the UK?

Can I marry in the UK on a visitor visa? No, one of the conditions of the Standard Visitor Visa is that you must not intend to marry or enter into a civil partnership while in the UK.

Is a UK visa easy to get?

The UK tourist visa processing takes up to 3 weeks. However, there have been incidents where UKVI has taken over two months to process, especially when the visa applications are “not straightforward.” UKVI considers a visa application “not straightforward” if additional information is required to process the visa.

Who can sponsor a UK visitor visa?

A friend, family member, or business associate can be the sponsor in support of the UK Visitor Visa application. The documents required to sponsor a UK Visitor Visa include proof of accommodation and the sponsor’s bank balance.


You can get a UK visitor visa by following our complete guide. Always remember to contact us at for more information about UK visas.

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