If you are a foreign national who is subject to immigration control and wish to visit the United Kingdom (‘UK’) for tourism, to visit family, or for business purposes for 6 months or less, you must apply for a standard visitor visa prior to arriving in the UK.
Length of a standard visitor visa
The maximum length of time you would be able to stay in the UK on a standard visitor visa is 6 months unless you are applying as an academic visitor or private medical visitor visiting the UK for 6 months or more
Can I extend my visitor visa?
You are unable to extend your stay in the UK beyond 6 months under the standard visitor visa route unless there are exceptional circumstances. This can be extended under certain circumstances and only if you are coming to the UK for private medical treatment or academic research.
Key requirements for a visitor visa
The key requirements for a visitor visa are:
- You are able to afford your return or onward journey;
- You will not work or undertake any prohibited activities unless permitted to do so;
- You cannot marry or enter into a civil partnership (unless you enter as a marriage visitor);
- You must be able to financially support yourself and any dependents during your visit without recourse to public funds;
- You must be able to adequately accommodate yourself and any dependents during your visit without recourse to public funds; and
- You must be able to demonstrate sufficient ties to return back to your home country e.g. confirmation of family, employment, assets etc.
What if I need to attend the UK frequently?
If you need to visit the UK frequently, you can apply for a long-term standard visitor visa (also known as a multiple entry visit visa). A long-term standard visitor visa can last for either 2 5, or 10 years.
Nevertheless, the maximum you can remain in the UK on a long-term standard visitor visa is still 6 months.
Visiting the UK to visit family
If you intend to visit family in the UK, you would be required to establish your family relationship e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate/s, letter of invitation etc.
Visiting the UK for business
If you intend to visit the UK for business, you would be permitted to enter the UK for the following business-related activities:
- Wishing to enter the UK for a conference, meeting or training.
- Wish to obtain funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK.
- You’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post.
- You are an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme.
- You want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
- You’re an artist, entertainer or musician and coming to the UK to perform.
- You want to take part in a specific sports-related event.
If you are to be paid for any of the above, you would be required to consider the Permitted Paid Engagement visa.
Visiting the UK for private medical treatment
Due to the UK’s reputation in medical treatment and enhanced medical facilities, many foreign nationals wish to enter the UK to receive private medical treatment.
In order to enter the UK to receive medical treatment, you would be required to apply for a standard visitor visa. If the visa is granted, you will be able to stay in the UK for a period of 6 months (but no more than 11 months if entering the UK for private medical treatment).
As a visitor to the UK for private medical treatment, you would need to prove the following:
- You are genuinely seeking to enter the UK as a visitor to receive private medical treatment
- You have made the relevant arrangements for medical consultations or treatment in the UK
- You will leave the UK at the end of your treatment or before your visit visa expiry date
- You will have sufficient funds to cover all your expenses in the UK e.g. return flight tickets, accommodation expenses, the cost of the private medical treatment and your normal day-to-day expenses.
As part of our retainer service, we offer the following:
- Assess your suitability for a Standard Visitor Visa;
- Provide you with an advice on how to meet the maintenance requirement;
- Provide a comprehensive document checklist;
- Assess all supporting documentation;
- Complete any application as necessary on your behalf;
- Book your biometrics appointment; and
- Prepare a complete bundle to be sent to UK Visas and Immigration.
If you require further information in relation to a UK visitor visa, please contact us.
*Please note that all immigration matters are dealt with by Muldoon Britton Immigration Limited (SRA Number: 829759).