If you plan to visit the United Kingdom, you may need a Standard Visitor Visa. This post will guide you through the requirements, process, documents, and fees involved in applying for a UK Standard Visitor Visa.
What is a UK Standard Visitor Visa?
A UK Standard Visitor Visa allows individuals to enter the United Kingdom for a short time, usually up to 6 months, for various purposes such as tourism, business, visiting friends and family, or receiving medical treatment.
Who Needs a UK Standard Visitor Visa?
Nationals of certain countries are required to apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa before entering the United Kingdom. The Immigration Rules specify a list of countries whose nationals are required to apply for entry clearance before travelling to the UK. This is the list of visa nationals and includes citizens of non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries such as China, India, Nigeria, Russia, and Turkey.
EEA nationals can enter the UK without a visa. However, some EEA nationals may still need to apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa if they are coming for a purpose other than tourism.
Permitted and Prohibited Activities for UK Standard Visitor Visa
As a Standard Visitor, there are certain activities that you are permitted to do during your visit to the UK, including:
- Going on a holiday or vacation for tourism purposes
- Visiting family or friends
- Volunteering with a registered charity for up to 30 days
- Transiting through the UK to another country
- Engaging in certain business activities, such as attending a meeting or interview
- Participating in a school exchange program
- Taking a recreational course for up to 30 days, such as a dance course
- Studying, completing a placement or taking an exam
- Acting in the capacity of an academic, senior doctor, or dentist
- Seeking medical treatment
However, certain activities are not allowed under a Standard Visitor visa, such as:
- Doing paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person
- Claiming public funds (benefits)
- Living in the UK for long periods through frequent or successive visits
- Undertaking certain business activities that are permitted under the Business Visitor Visa category
- Marrying or registering a civil partnership or giving notice of marriage or civil partnership – a Marriage Visitor visa is required.
Requirements for a UK Standard Visitor Visa
To be eligible for a UK Standard Visitor Visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be 18 years old or above
- You must have a valid passport or travel document
- You must have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK without working or relying on public funds
- You must have a clear intention to leave the UK at the end of your visit
- You must not have a criminal record or pose a threat to national security
- You must meet the specific requirements of the type of visa you are applying for.
Genuine Visitor Requirement
Applicants must demonstrate that they are genuine visitors for a successful application. The following factors are considered when assessing whether an applicant is genuine:
- Previous immigration history to other countries
- Duration of previous visits
- Financial, family, social, and economic background
- Personal and economic ties to the country of residence
- Credibility of information.
How to Apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa
The UK Standard Visitor Visa application process usually involves the following steps:
- Complete the online application form on the government website
- Pay the visa application fee
- Book an appointment at a visa application centre to submit your documents and biometric data.
- Attend the appointment and submit your documents and biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph).
- Wait for a decision on your visa application.
Documents Required for a UK Standard Visitor Visa
The following documents are usually required when applying for a UK Standard Visitor Visa:
- Valid passport or travel document
- Evidence of sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your stay in the UK (bank statements, payslips, or sponsorship letter)
- Evidence of accommodation in the UK (hotel booking, invitation letter from a friend or family member)
- Travel itinerary or flight details
- Evidence of ties to your home country (job, family, property, or business)
- Evidence of the purpose of your visit (business invitation letter, conference invitation, or medical certificate).
UK Standard Visitor Visa Fee
The visa fee for a UK Standard Visitor Visa varies depending on the duration of the visa, in any case, the maximum length of stay in the UK will be up to 6 months. As of October 2023, the fees are:
- Standard Visitor Visa (up to 6 months): £115
- Long-term Standard Visitor Visa (2 years): £400
- Long-term Standard Visitor Visa (5 years): £771
- Long-term Standard Visitor Visa (10 years): £963
UK Standard Visitor Visa Processing Time
The processing time for a UK Standard Visitor Visa varies depending on the country and the type of visa. The standard processing time is usually 3 weeks, but it can sometimes take longer. The processing time will begin from the point of biometric submission.
Refusal and Reapplication
If your UK Standard Visitor Visa application is refused, you can reapply for a visa, but you will need to address the reasons for the refusal in your new application. It is important to provide complete and accurate information and supporting documents to avoid a refusal.
Tips for a Successful UK Standard Visitor Visa Application
To increase your chances of a successful UK Standard Visitor Visa application, consider the following tips:
- Apply well in advance of your intended travel dates
- Provide accurate and complete information and supporting documents
- Demonstrate strong ties to your home country and a clear intention to leave the UK at the end of your visit
- Provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your stay in the UK
- Follow the specific requirements of the type of visa you are applying for
- Seek professional advice if you have any doubts or questions about the application process
How can we help
At Whytecroft Ford, we are committed to providing personalized and professional services to our clients, ensuring that their immigration matters are handled with care and expertise. To discuss your visitor visa application with an experienced professional call us on +442087575751 or use our contact form.
Frequently asked questions
No, you are not allowed to work or study in the UK with a Standard Visitor Visa.
You can stay in the UK for up to 6 months with a Standard Visitor Visa.
If your Standard Visitor Visa application is refused, you can reapply for a visa, but you will need to address the reasons.