The visitor visa allows you to enter the United Kingdom for a short period of time, usually up to 6 months, for tourism, business, or other temporary purposes. This visa is intended for people who are not UK or European Union (EU) citizens and who do not have the right to enter the UK without a visa.
What you can do
Visit friends and family
Travel as a tourist
Volunteer for a registered charity
Attend a business meeting or interview
Take part in a school exchange program
Complete a recreational course
Sit an entrance exam
Visit for a paid engagement or event
What you can't do
Stay longer than 180 days
Study a short course longer than 6 months
Do paid or unpaid work for a UK company
Do work on a self-employed basis
Claim public funds
Live in the UK frequently or consecutively for long periods of time
Marry or register a civil partnership
Purpose of travel
You must have a passport which is valid for the entire length of your stay in the UK.
You must be able to show that you are coming to the UK for the reasons you have specified in your application form, and you will return to your country of origin by the time your visa expires.
You must be able to show that you have the necessary funds to travel to the UK and support yourself throughout your stay.
Term & Fees
Whether you apply for 6 months or 10 years, the maximum period of time you will be permitted to stay per visit is 6 months.
Current processing times for visitor visa applications are approximately 3 weeks.
Depending on your eligibility and which country you apply from, you may be able to pay for an enhanced service. The 'priority service' should provide you with a decision within 5 working days from the date of your biometrics appointment. The 'super priority service' is even faster, providing a decision within 1 working day.
If your application for a visitor visa is successful, you will receive a visa vignette inside your passport. This will confirm the length and conditions of your entry clearance.
If your application for a visitor visa is refused, you will receive a refusal letter outlining the reasons. There is no right of appeal or administrative review to challenge refusals. However, you may be able to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) if your application involved human rights grounds. It is less common and only applicable to certain situations, but you may seek to challenge the refusal by judicial review.