Visitor (Tourist) Visa
The UK welcomes over 30 million overseas visitors each year.
You need a Visitor Visa to visit the UK if you are a visa national, meaning the UK requires a visa from your country. Visa nationals are required to obtain their visas prior to entry. Depending on the objective of your visit, you will need to provide different evidence relevant to the main and sub-categories of the Visitor Visa.
The basic requirements for Visitor Visas require you:
- To not fall for refusal under general grounds for refusal and to not be in breach of immigration laws.
- You must present evidence that you are a genuine visitor and that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit.
- You will not live in the UK for extended periods or make the UK your permanent place of residence.
- You will not participate in prohibited activities such as taking up employment.
- You will only engage in permitted activities relevant to the category you applied for your Visitor Visa
- You must show that you have enough funds in your account and that these funds do belong to you, whether through savings, employment, sale of possession or gifts. But ultimately, the funds must belong to you and not be repayable.
- You must present a negative Tuberculosis (TB) test if the UKVI requires it from the nationals of your country or if you’ve been in a country that the UKVI requires a TB test from in the last 6 months.
It is important to note that children may be subject to additional requirements.
The visit visa divides visitors into 4 main categories:
- Standard Visitors
- Marriage/Civil Partnership Visitors
- Permitted Paid Engagement Visitors
- Transit Visitors
Furthermore, Standard Visitors are also divided into 4 sub-categories:
- Touristic Visit
- Family Visit
- Student Visit
- Business Visit
On top of this, you may also apply for a Visit Visa to receive medical care in the UK so long as the treatment process is not in excess of 11 consecutive months.
Although this section tries to cover all of the main categories under which you can apply for a Visit Visa, there are also exceptions and additional rules for individuals who are academics seeking to come to the UK for longer than 6 months and less than 12 months, coming to the UK for work-related training or donating an organ.
Depending on which category your application falls into, you will be required to provide additional evidence detailing your circumstances in addition to meeting the basic requirements listed above.
Most Visit Visas are issued for 6 months (180 days); the Standard Visitors are also permitted to apply for a 2-year, 5-year or 10-year visa by paying the additional costs to the UKVI. You may remain in the UK for up to 180 days per entry as long as you comply with the basic requirements listed above.
Every individual applies for their visa separately. This means a family of three wishing to visit the UK would make three separate applications for each family member.