Visitors

Standard Visit Visa

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • For leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends;

  • For business, or to take part in sports or creative events;

  • For another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment.
     

The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the:

  • Family Visitor visa;

  • General Visitor visa;

  • Child Visitor visa;

  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists;

  • Sports Visitor visa;

  • Entertainer Visitor visa;

  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa;

  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa;

  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa.
     

If you visit the UK on business

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK for business-related activities, for example:

  • You’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training;

  • You want to take part in a specific sports-related event;

  • You’re an artist, entertainer or musician and coming to the UK to perform;

  • Are an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme;

  • You’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post;

  • You want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE);

  • You want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK;

  • you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK.
     

How long it will take

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.

Example

  • You can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June;

  • You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

 

How long you can stay

You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months.

You might be able to stay for longer if:

  • you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment - up to 11 months

  • you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research - you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months

  • If you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a biometric residence permit.

  • You might be able to get a visit visa for up to 30 days if you’re a Chinese citizen visiting under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement.
     

If you need to visit the UK regularly

  • You can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years;

  • You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit;

  • If you’re under 18 years old when you apply, your long-term Standard Visitor visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18.
     

Eligibility

You must always show that:

  • You’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit;

  • You’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip;

  • You’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit;

  • You have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules.
     

If you’re applying for a long-term Standard Visitor visa

You must prove that:

  • You’ll only ever need to come to the UK to visit, for example to go on holiday, see family or attend a meeting;

  • You plan to leave the UK at the end of each visit.
     

You may be given a visa for a shorter period than requested if you do not do this. You will not get a refund of the application fee if you get a shorter visa or your application is refused.

Your visa may be cancelled and you may get a long-term ban on visiting if your travel history shows you’re repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods.
 

If you’re applying as an academic

You can stay in the UK for 12 months if you’re applying as an academic. You must prove you’re highly qualified within your field of expertise, on sabbatical leave from your home institution and visiting to either:

  • Take part in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart;

  • Carry out your own research;

  • Take part in someone else’s research, teaching or clinical practice - as long as this does not involve filling a permanent teaching post.
     

If you’re applying to visit for private medical treatment

You must prove that you:

  • Have a medical condition that needs private consultation or treatment in the UK

  • Have made or paid for arrangements for consultations or treatment

  • Have enough money to pay for your treatment, support yourself without using public funds and pay for your return or onward journey

  • Will leave the UK once your treatment is completed, or when your visa expires

  • Are not a danger to public health if you have an infectious disease, such as leprosy
     

If you’re applying as an organ donor

You can only visit the UK to donate organs to:

  • A family member who you’re genetically related to (for example your sibling or parent);

  • Someone you have a close personal relationship with (for example your spouse or friend).

You must prove that the person you’re donating an organ to is legally allowed to be in the UK.

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