Apply for a UK Visa from the USA

by | Nov 28, 2023 | UK Immigration, UK Settlement

The USA is considered a non-visa national country, meaning US citizens do not need to apply for a visitor visa before travelling to the UK. While shorter visits to the UK typically don’t require a visa, longer stays for purposes like studying, working, getting married, or joining family may require a visa before travelling. This post delves into the visa options available to USA nationals.

Standard Visitor 

For leisure trips of up to six months, including visiting family and friends, US tourists can enter the UK without a visa. Or to do a recreational course of up to 30 days, for example, a dance course. However, you must be able to demonstrate that you’ll leave the UK at the end of your stay, you’ll be able to support yourself during your trip and your return journey and you’ll not make the UK your main home. 

Business Visitor 

USA nationals can engage in various business activities for up to six months, including attending meetings, conferences, and trade fairs (without selling items). You can negotiate contracts, receive work-related training not available in your home country, give talks for non-profit purposes, conduct site visits, oversee deliveries from UK companies, share knowledge with UK-based colleagues, and provide technical services if your overseas company has a contract with a UK entity. You can do certain additional activities in the UK, if you’re employed overseas in specific professions, such as a bodyguard, driver, personal assistant, or a lawyer. 

If you’re being paid by a UK organisation as an expert in your profession, you may get permission to visit the UK for a Permitted Paid Engagement.

Marriage Visitor 

USA nationals must apply to get married or enter a civil partnership in the UK or give notice of the same. This is not a settlement route, so you must not be planning to stay or settle in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership. Whilst in the UK, you cannot extend your visa or switch to another visa under this route. 

Work and Employment Visas

American citizens cannot do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person as a visitor. You’ll need to apply for a work visa. While most work visas require a job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor license, certain visas don’t mandate sponsorship. Most work routes will allow you to settle in the UK following a period of five years.

The visas that require a job offer include:

The visas that do not require a job offer include:

Marriage Visas

A fiance visa allows eligible USA nationals to enter the UK for a period of 6 months to marry their British or settled partners and apply to extend their stay from within the UK. Time spent on the fiance route does not count towards Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

The spouse visa allows eligible USA nationals to join and reside with their settled partners in the UK. The spouse route may lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain following a period of five years of residence in the UK. 

Study Visas

As long as your study course is less than six months, USA nationals will not need to apply for a visa to come to the UK. Ensure that you bring evidence that you have been accepted onto a six-month course to ensure staff at the border know when you intend to leave.

If you’re looking to study for longer than six months but less than 12 months on an English Language course, you may be able to apply for a Short-term Study Visa.

For anything longer than a year, you’ll need a Student Visa. You can apply for a student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor and can demonstrate enough money to support yourself during your studies. 

If you’re 16 or 17 and you want to study at an independent school in the UK, you may be eligible for a Child Student visa instead.

How we can help 

Navigating the UK visa process from the USA demands careful planning and understanding of available routes. 

Our experienced team is dedicated to assisting with your UK immigration application. Whether you’re a tourist, a professional seeking employment, a student, or aiming to settle in the UK, understanding visa requirements and seeking appropriate guidance can significantly simplify the process. 

To discuss your UK Immigration application with an experienced member of our team, contact us on +442087575751 or use our contact form

Frequently asked questions

What is the duration of a marriage visitor visa?

The marriage visitor visa allows six months to get married in the UK.

How do I apply for a UK visa in the USA?

To apply for a UK visa in the USA you need to apply online before travelling, pay the application fee and submit your biometric information and documentation. 

What Our Clients Say

Request a FREE assessment from our experts

Receive your assessment via:

Privacy Policy

Skilled Worker Visa 2024

Skilled Worker Visa Requirements 2024

The Skilled Worker Visa offers a route for international professionals seeking employment in the UK. Replacing the Tier 2 visa, it aims to attract...