A visa is a vignette that is applied for in advance of travel and which gives you permission to enter the UK.
If you have a valid UK visa you are not normally refused entry to the UK unless your circumstances have changed, or you gave false information or did not tell important facts when you applied for your visa.
When you arrive in the UK, an Immigration Officer may ask you questions, so carry all necessary documents that are relevant to your visit in your hand luggage.
Length of your stay in UK
Visitors can stay in the UK for a maximum of six months at any one time except Academic Visitors and the parents of children at school who can stay for up to 12 months.
1. General Visitors
General Visitors include visitors who want to travel to the UK as tourists or visit their family and friends. For applying for this kind of visa, you must prove that you intend to stay not more than six months and leave the UK at the end of your visit. Also, you must have enough money to support yourself and live in the UK without any support from public funds or a job.
2. Business Visitors
If you are employed abroad but want to visit the UK for short periods to undertake business-related activities, you may be eligible to do so as a business visitor. Anyone wishing to visit the UK as a business visitor should be based abroad and not intend to transfer their base to the UK, even temporarily; and receive their salary from abroad, although it is acceptable for them to receive reasonable travel and subsistence expenses whilst in the UK; and not be involved in selling goods or services. As a business visitor, the maximum permitted stay as a business visitor is six months. If you often visit the UK, you can apply for a valid visa for one, two, five or ten years. You can then visit the UK as often as you like while your visa is still valid, but you can only stay for up to six months on each visit.
3. Academic Visitors
A person can visit the UK as an Academic Visitor provided that a person is on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution who wishes to make use of their leave to carry out research here (e.g. to research a book) OR an academic (including doctors) taking part in formal exchange arrangements with United Kingdom counterparts; OR an eminent senior doctor or dentist coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice. The maximum permitted stay as an Academic Visitor is 12 months.
4. Sports Visitors
Sports Visitors can travel to the UK if they are coming to the UK as a sportsperson OR are members of the technical or support staff of amateur or professional sports persons OR an official is attending the same event or series of events as the sportsperson/people.
5. Entertainer Visitors
The new entertainer visa has been designed for those coming to the UK for a short time to participate in certain major arts festivals, music competitions and charity events.
6. Special Visitors
Special Visitors are visitors those travel to the UK for the following purposes:
* for private medical treatment
* for getting married
* Parents of children at school in the UK
* Child Visitors
* Student Visitors
* Prospective Students
* Visitors in Transit
A fully and appropriately completed application form which is available online as well as at your nearest UK consulate.
Your passport or travel document.
A recent passport-sized (45mm x 35mm), colour photograph of yourself. This should be:
- taken against a light-coloured background
- clear and of good quality, and not framed or backed
- printed on normal photographic paper, and
- full face and without sunglasses, hat or other head covering unless you wear this for cultural or religious reasons (but the face must not be covered).
The visa application fee. This cannot be refunded, and you must normally pay it in the local currency of the country where you are applying.
Any supporting documents relevant to your application.
If you are visiting family or friends you will need:
If your sponsor is supporting you during your visit or paying for the cost of the visit, you will need:
How long will my visa be valid for?
Generally visit visas are valid for six months. But they can be issued for longer, for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. However, those with longer-term visas can still only stay in the UK for six months at any one time, other than Academic Visitors and parents of children at school as outlined above. Longer-term visas are generally issued to frequent travellers.
For more information, Contact United Kingdom Embassy
Please note: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. Please contact your nearest embassy for accurate, up-to-date information.