How to apply for a UK Visitor Visa

Planning a trip to the United Kingdom? Whether for business or leisure, you might need to apply for a UK Visitor Visa. We break it down for you…

Applying for a UK Visitor Visa does not need to be a stressful process. We have all the information you need to ensure your application goes as smoothly as possible.  

Knowing which type of visa is needed

Depending on your reason for visiting the UK, different visas are issues accordingly. 

Some of the current ways to visit the UK include: as a Standard Visitor, for a Permitted Paid Engagement and to pass through the UK in transit.

Who needs a visa to visit the UK?

Depending on your nationality you’ll either have to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa before you travel to the UK or you will be able to visit the UK for up to six months without needing a visa. 

You can click here to check if you need a visa. 

Should you not need a visa, you will still be required to meet the Standard Visitor eligibility requirements before you enter the UK. It is not unusual for visa-free travellers to be questioned about eligibility and planned activities.

Standard UK Visitor Visa

If you require a Standard Visitor Visa, you will need to apply online before you travel to the UK. You will also need to attend an appointment at your closest visa application centre. 

It is imperative to note that the earliest you can apply is three months before you travel. You must meet the eligibility requirements and know that the visa will only permit you to do certain activities. Click here for ‘permitted activities’ – what you can and can not do on a Standard Visitor Visa. 

The price for a Standard Visitor Visa to the UK starts at £100 for a single-entry visa valid for a maximum of 6 months. 

If you visit the UK regularly you can choose to apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa for a period of 2, 5 or 10 years.  

Do I meet the eligibility requirements?

On a UK Visitor Visa, you will need a passport or travel document to enter the UK. This document needs to be valid for at least three months beyond your intended stay. Additionally, there must be a blank page in your passport for your Standard Visitor Visa.

You must be able to show that:

  1. You can support yourself and your dependents during your trip. If not, you must demonstrate that you have funding from someone else to support you. 
  2. It is possible for you to pay for your return or onward journey. Or that you have funding from someone else to do so. 
  3. You will leave the UK once you have concluded your visit. 
  4. The UK will not become your permanent home and you will not live in the UK for extended periods made up of frequent or successive visits.

UK Visitor Visa application steps  

  1.  Apply online on the official Gov.Uk website.  
  2. Book an appointment at a visa application centre to prove your identity and submit your documentation.  
  3. Attend your visa application appointment. 
  4. Pay for your application.* This can be done by paying cash, with a credit/debit card, or via a bank transfer.  
  5. Wait patiently. The processing time for UK visas varies based on the type of visa. You will usually get a decision within 3 weeks, but in some instances you can get a decision faster by payment of a premium fee.  

If your visa application is approved, you will receive a vignette in your passport, permitting you to enter the UK for the specific purpose stated on your visa.

Note: The visa application centre may keep your passport and documents while processing your application.

Everything you need to know about your online application

You will need to provide the following information in your online application:

  • The dates you are planning to travel to the UK. 
  • Where you will be staying during your visit. 
  • How much you think your trip will cost.
  • Your current home address and how long you have lived there. 
  • Your parents’ names and dates of birth (if known). 
  • How much you earn in a year (if you have an income). 
  • Details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences you may have committed. 

Depending on your circumstances, you might also need to provide:

  • Details of your travel history for the past 10 years. 
  • 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. 
  • A certificate proving that you have had a tuberculosis (TB) test if you’re visiting for more than 6 months.

 Top tip: You must provide certified translations of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.

Which documents to take with to your appointment

At your appointment, you will need to:

  • prove your identity with your passport or travel document. 
  • have your biometric information taken – this includes fingerprints and a photograph. 
  • provide the required documents that show you are eligible for a Standard Visitor Visa. 

Examples of required documents to show your eligibility include:

  • Visa application form. 
  • A recent photograph. This must meet the UK Visas and Immigration requirements. 
  • Proof of identity. This could be a copy of your passport, national ID card, or birth certificate. 
  • Financials. Show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family during your stay in the UK. You can do this using bank statements, pay slips, or other financial documents. 
  • Strong ties to your home country. Demonstrate strong ties to your home country, such as employment, property ownership, or family connections. 
  • Travel plans. Show evidence of your return ticket to your home country or onward travel ticket to your next destination. 
  • Your accommodation in the UK. Include a letter from your host, hotel booking confirmation, or a copy of your tenancy agreement to show your accommodation arrangements. 

For more information on the required documents for a UK visa, visit the UK Visas and Immigration website here.  

 *Note that the visa application fee is non-refundable, regardless of the application outcome.