United Kingdom Visa Information:
How do I qualify to travel to the UK as a visitor?
You must be able to show that:
What is a visa?
A visa is a certificate that is put into your passport or travel document by an Entry Clearance Officer at a British mission overseas. The visa gives you permission to enter the UK.
If you have a valid UK visa we will not normally refuse you entry to the UK unless your circumstances have changed, or you gave false information or did not tell us important facts when you applied for your visa.
When you arrive in the UK, an Immigration Officer may ask you questions, so take all relevant documents in your hand luggage.
Back to questions
Do I need a visa to visit the UK?
You will need a visa if you:
Does my child need a visa to visit the UK?
Your child will need a visa if they:
If a child visitor is travelling to the UK without an adult (someone over the age of 18) you will need to provide:
If a child visitor is travelling with an adult (someone over the age of 18), the adult must be identified when the child’s visa is applied for. The adult’s name will appear on the visa and if the child arrives in the UK without that adult, they will be refused entry. Up to two adults can be identified, as long as the parent or guardian has given their consent (permission).
The child’s visa is only valid if the child travels with at least one of the adults identified on their visa.
How long will my visa be valid for?
With a visit visa you can usually enter and leave the UK any number of times while the visa is still valid. You cannot stay for longer than six months on each visit. Visit visas can be valid for six months, one year, two years, five years or 10 years. You can apply for a visa valid for any of these periods. The Entry Clearance Officer may decide to make your visa valid for a shorter time than you have asked for, for example if you are not a regular traveller or have never visited the UK before.
How do I apply for a visa?
You can apply in a number of ways, for example, by post, by courier, in person and online. The visa section of your nearest British mission overseas will tell you about the ways in which you can apply.
Some visa sections will only accept applications made online. To find out if you can apply for your visa online plesse visit www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk
If you cannot apply online you will need to fill in a visa application form (VAF 1 - Visitor). You can get a form free of charge from your nearest British mission overseas where there is a visa section or from this website.
You can apply for a visit visa or EEA family permit at any full service visa-issuing office. If you are applying from within the EEA, you will need to show that you are living legally in an EEA member state.
Living legally includes having a visit visa for the member state. For all other types of visa, you should apply in the country of which you are a national or where you legally live.
In some countries, if you are applying for a visa to stay in the UK for more than six months, you may need to be tested for active tuberculosis before we will accept your application. You can find out if you need to be tested by using the Do I need a UK visa? on this website, or by contacting your nearest British mission overseas which has a visa section.
What are visa application centres?
In some countries, we are working with commercial companies to run visa application centres (VACs). The VACs are in largely populated areas, making it easier and more convenient for people to apply for a UK visa. Trained staff at each VAC deal with all visa enquiries and applications. They collect your biometric information (see the relevant section of this leaflet) along with the relevant fees, and provide unbiased, face-to-face advice on the application process, including whether or not you have included all the necessary documents. Entry clearance staff at the British mission will then consider your application and decide whether to issue or refuse your visa. VAC staff have no say in this decision.
What do I need to make my application?
You will need to make your application online or fill in the following visa application form:
|Application form VAF1 - Visitor (PDF, 225K)|
|Visitor form guidance notes (PDF, 150K)|
You will also need the following.
What is 'biometric' information?
In some countries currently - and in all countries by April 2008 - you will need to provide 'biometric' information as part of the visa application process. This biometric information consists of scans of all 10 of your fingers and a full-face digital photograph. You will have to go to the nearest VAC in person to provide this biometric information. In those countries where there is no VAC, you will need to go to the British mission. Your visa applications will not be processed until you have provided the necessary biometric information. The finger scans are electronic so staff do not need to use any ink, liquid or chemicals. You will have your digital photograph taken at the same time and the whole procedure should take no more than five minutes to complete. You should make sure that you do not have any decoration (such as henna), or any cuts or other markings on your fingertips before having your finger scans. You should also make sure that if you have any cuts and bruises on your face, they have healed or disappeared before you have your photograph taken. Digital photographs must be of your full face and you should not wear sunglasses, a hat or any other head covering (unless you wear it for cultural or religious reasons).
What supporting documents should I include with my application?
You should include all the documents you can to show that you qualify for entry to the UK as a visitor. If you do not, we may refuse your application.
As a guide, you should include:
If you are visiting family or friends you will need:
If your sponsor will be supporting you during your visit, or paying for the cost of the visit, you will need:
We will refuse your application if we find that any documents are false.
What will happen when I make my application?
The Entry Clearance Officer will try to make a decision using your application form and the supporting documents you have provided. If this is not possible, they will need to interview you.
Please check your visa when you get it. You should make sure that:
Can I appeal if you refuse my visit visa?
If we refuse you a visa to visit a close relative, you can appeal against our decision. The Entry Clearance Officer will tell you if you can appeal. You can get information about appeals in our Appeals (INF 19) guidance on this website.
What are public funds?
Under the Immigration Rules, if you want to travel to the UK as a visitor you must be able to support yourself and live without claiming certain state benefits. Use this link to see a list of them:
You are not allowed to enter the UK or stay as a visitor in the UK to receive medical treatment on the National Health Service (NHS). Information on how you can enter the UK to have private medical treatment is in this guidance.
You can find more information about public funds in the Immigration Directorate Instructions (IDIs) and Immigration Rules on the Border and Immigration Agency website.
|Border and Immigration Agency|
Can I carry out any business during my visit?
As a visitor, you can do the following.
trial, or an entertainer going for an audition.
If a UK company has invited you to visit the UK you should provide a letter from the company explaining what you will be doing and the purpose of the trip. If your company or the UK company is paying for the trip this should also be confirmed in the letter.
Whether you are visiting the UK for business or social reasons, you can only stay for a maximum of six months. If you often visit the UK, you can apply for a visa that is valid for one, two, five or 10 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.
Can I study in the UK?
You can study only if you apply as a Student Visitor or, if you are under 18, as a Child Visitor. If you do not need a visa as a Student Visitor or a Child Visitor, you must satisfy an immigration officer that you qualify for entry to the United Kingdom to study during your visit under the Immigration Rules when you arrive in the UK. You must be able to show that you have been accepted on a course of study at an educational establishment that is on the Register of Education and Training Providers. They will give you permission to stay in the UK for up to six months. You can only apply to stay longer than six months if you entered the UK with a student or prospective student visa. More information is available on our Students (INF 5) guidance.
Can I get married or register a civil partnership in the UK?
If either you or your future husband, wife or civil partner are not EEA (European Economic Area) or Swiss nationals, you can visit the UK together to get married or register a civil partnership as long as you intend to leave the country within six months.
visit for marriageor
visit for civil partnershipvisa.
Can I get medical treatment in the UK?
You can apply for a visit visa to travel to the UK for private medical treatment. You must be able to show that you:
We may also ask you to provide the following.
Can I stay more than six months for medical treatment?
If you need to stay longer than six months to complete your medical treatment you can apply to the Border and Immigration Agency. Their contact details are under
More advice and information at the end of this guidance. The Border and Immigration Agency will charge a non-refundable fee for any extension application.
You are not allowed to enter or stay in the UK to receive treatment on the National Health Service (NHS). You must make sure that you have enough medical insurance for the whole of your stay.
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