In 2017, 39.2 million people visited the UK. This is two-thirds of its population. From iconic landmarks to Educational Institutes, the UK pleases every taste. Britain is one of the most favorite destinations in the world. Many people choose to study or spend the holiday. It’s small and easy to get around. Foreign students choose it to enjoy a high-quality education system, diverse visitors, and its beauty. If you want to visit the UK, you might need to get a UK visa. In this blog, we will explain if you need a UK visa or not, requirements, application, different types of UK visas, FAQs, etc.
You can apply for a standard UK visa if you want to visit the UK for:
- Leisure, visiting friends and family, holiday.
- Participating in scientific, sports events.
- Other reasons, such as to get medical treatment.
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Who Needs and Does not Need a UK visa?
If you need a UK visa or not depends on:
- Your nationality.
- The duration of your stay.
- Type of activity you want to do in the UK.
The nationals of the EU/EEA don’t need a visa for shorts stays or tourism. If they want to work or study in the UK, the rules are different. The nationals of the other countries need to get a visa for short-stays, work, study. You should do research and see if your nationality needs a visa or not.
Eligibility for a UK visa
You have to prove some items to be eligible for a UK visa:
- Proof that you will leave the UK by the end of your visit.
- Proving you can support yourself and companions.
- Proving you can pay the costs of your return or onward journey.
- Evidence of any business or other activities you will do in the UK.
1. Eligibility for a long-term UK Visa
You have to prove that:
- You need to visit the UK for a holiday, see relatives, or take part in a meeting.
- You will leave UK at the end of your visit.
If you don’t do this, the officials may give you a visa for a shorter time than you asked. If your visa gets refused, you will not get a refund of the application fee.
2. Eligibility for applying as an Academic
If you apply as an academic, you may only stay in the UK for 12 months. You have to prove:
- you get qualified in your expertise field.
- You are on sabbatical leave from an institution in your home country.
You also must prove you are visiting the UK to:
- Joining in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart
- Complete your research
- Participate in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart
- Teaching, clinical practice, or participating in someone else’s research.
3. Eligibility for applying as an organ donor
You can only donate organs in the UK to:
- Your family member who is genetically related to you.
- Someone with a close personal relationship (friend or spouse)
You have to prove that the organ-receiver may legally stay in the UK.
4. UK visa Eligibility for minors
If you are under 18 (minor) you can apply for a UK visa by these conditions:
- Have planned your travel and stay in the UK.
- You have your parents or guardian permission to travel to Canada.
- Can pay for your onward/return expenses.
- have financial support without working or getting help from public funds. It is either you get it from family or friends.
5. Traveling alone
Minors can travel to the UK without an adult. The parents or guardians should provide:
- Written permission for travel to the UK
- Complete contact details
They have to provide proof that minors have somewhere to stay during their stay in the UK:
- Complete details of the person that the minor will be staying with.
- The address the minor will be living in.
- Details of the person who will look after you.
- Written permission for the person looking after you in the UK.
6. Traveling with an adult
When you travel to the UK with an adult, you must identify them in your visa application. If they are not your parents, you should give particular information about them in your application.
You may only identify up to two people in your visa application. If you travel with at least one of them, your visa will be valid.
UK visa Requirements
To apply for a UK visa, you should gather requirements. They can vary based on the country you are from. They are as follows:
Application form of UK visa
You have to complete the manual application form or the online form at the Visa4UK website. The application form must be according to the UK visa you apply for.
Proof to have enough funds
You should provide proof of having financial funds to pay your living costs in the UK. You could submit your payslips/bank statements for the last six months.
You have to offer a document about the place you will stay in the UK. It could be a hotel reservation receipt.
Your travel plans
It must cover:
- The places you are going to visit in the UK.
- The activities you will do in the UK.
- Travel dates.
- Festival programs.
- Booked tour.
- List of meetings.
People who want to stay in the UK for more than six months must submit their biometric information. It includes:
- Your digital photograph
- Your fingerprints
- They get taken at the appropriate application center.
In case you are visiting a relative or friend, you have to submit his/her invitation letter. He/she must be a legal resident or UK national.
Receipt of paid UK fees
Submit the receipt that verifies you have paid the visa fees.
Verified certification of translated documents
If your documents are not in English/Welsh, have them translated. The translation must get verified by the translator.
TB Test Results
The residence of many countries has to submit a TB test result.
It will raise the chance of getting a visa.
Requirements for minors
You have to submit more documents for minors (under 18):
- Their birth certificate
- Adoption documents.
- If minors are traveling alone or with someone other than their parents:
- confirming the details of the minor companion through a signed letter.
- Passport biographical page of the parent(s) or legal guardians.
Applying for a UK Visa from the US
Although American citizens don’t need a UK visa to visit it for tourism, business and stay up to six months, some of them need a visa. American citizens should do research and find out whether they need a UK visa or not before traveling.
UK Visa Application
The process of UK visa application varies based on a few factors. If you apply for the first time, there are a few considerations you should know. In case you apply for a particular type of visa, you would better know about a few points.
How Much Does a UK Visa Cost?
It depends on the type of visa and the length of time you will stay in Canada. But the general feel for visiting/tourist UK visa are:
|Visiting visa||6 month||£95 ($118.84)|
|Visiting visa||2 years||£350 ($437.83)|
|Visiting academic||More than 6 month||£190 ($237.68)|
|Short term student visa (up to 6 months)||Up to 6 month||£97 ($121.34)|
Non-Immigrant visa (short-stay)
1. Visitor Visa
Standard visitor visa
The UK standard visitor visa or tourist visa allows you to stay in the country for up to six months. Yet, the UK embassy you apply to can issue a visa valid for a shorter time. You could use a visitor visa for the following purposes:
- To visit friends and family.
- Get Medical Treatment.
- Professional reasons.
- Business purposes
If you need a UK tourist visa or not depends on your nationality.
If you need to pass through one of UK airports to get to your destination, you might need a UK transit visa. You won’t need this visa if:
- You are from EEA or Switzerland
- Have a marriage visa or visitor visa
You must know that there are two types of UK transit visa. The type you should apply for depends on whether you will go through the UK border control. The airline you travel with will tell you whether you will go through the UK border control.
UK Short Term Study Visa
If you want to take a study course in the UK that lasts up to 6 or 11 months, you might need a UK Short Term Study Visa. You can use this visa to take part in:
- English language courses
- Short term study programs
- Research projects
Apart from EEA and Switzerland nationals, the other nationalities need this visa to study in the UK.
Permitted Paid Engagement Visa
If you have been invited to work in the UK in your expert field, you can apply for a UK Permitted Paid Engagement Visa. You have to fulfill a few requirements to get this visa:
- You must be at least 18.
- Have a clean criminal record.
- Have enough money to support your expenses in the UK and the returning costs, etc.
Under this visa, you can only stay in the UK for one month. You have to leave after the visa expires.
Parent of a (Tier 4) Child Child Student Visa
You can apply for this visa if:
- Your child is a student in an independent fee-paying day school in the UK
- He/she is under 12.
You can apply for this visa to accompany your child in the UK. The nationals of EEA and Switzerland don’t need to get this visa. This visa is valid until your child has a valid visa, and he/she is under 12. While you are in the UK, you can extend it and get a voluntary job.
2. Work visa
The UK work visas that also get called UK temporary worker visas are as follows:
UK Charity Worker visa (Tier 5)
If you want to do voluntary unpaid work in the UK, this visa is your option. You must have a sponsorship certificate from a certified British employer.
UK Creative and Sporting visa (Tier 5)
You could apply for this visa if you have been offered to work in the UK as a:
- Creative worker
To be eligible, you must have a sponsorship certificate from a licensed British employer,
UK Government Authorized Exchange visa (Tier 5)
Through an approved government authorized exchange program, you can apply for this visa to:
- Get work experience in the UK.
- To do training
- Go on a language Program
- Do research
UK International Agreement visa (Tier 5)
The foreign nationals who have a contract to work:
- As a private servant for a diplomatic house
- Work for a foreign government
UK Religious Worker visa (Tier 5)
The people who want to make a short trip to the UK to do religious work can apply for this visa.
UK Seasonal Worker Visa (Tier 5)
If you want to do farm work for up to six months in the UK, you can apply for this visa.
UK Youth Mobility Scheme visa (Tier 5)
This visa is for a particular group of British Nationality who are from a few countries. The applicants must be between 18-30.
Domestic Workers in a Private Household Visa
Foreign employers can bring their private workers to the UK through this visa for up to six months. The domestic workers could include:
Immigrant visas (long-stay)
1. Family visa
If you are a non-EU citizen or resident in the UK and want to bring your child into the country, you could do it through a child visa. To do so, one of the parents must be a resident in the UK, and the child must meet the eligibility criteria. The requirements vary based on whether you were born inside the UK or outside.
If you are a non-EU citizen or resident in the UK and intend to bring your parents to the country, you can do it through a Parent Visa. The child must not have an immigration restriction, and he/she must be under 18.
British residents and citizens who have a spouse living abroad can take them to the UK through a spouse visa. It often gets called a marriage visa. Since British law does not recognize marriages under 18, the applicant must be over 18.
2. Business visa
If you want to visit the UK to take part in meetings, sign contracts, etc. and don’t get involved in paid activity, you can apply for a UK standard visitor visa.
But for specific purposes, you should apply for an appropriate visa. The other types of UK business visa are as follows:
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
When you want to open a new business or be part of a business in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. You must at least invest £50,000 to £200,000 to be eligible for the visa. There are also other requirements you should fulfill.
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa closed to New Applicants from July 6th, 2019. The UK government replaced it with the UK start-up visa.
Since July 6th, 2019, the UK has implemented a change in his visa rules. It replaced the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa to Startup visa. To apply for this visa, you must not be a citizen of EEA and Switzerland. An authorized body in the UK business organization or higher education institution must endorse you to be eligible. There are other requirements as well.
Tier 1 Investor Visa
If you want to get a UK visa through investment, the Tier 1 Investor Visa
is your option. To get this visa, you must:
- Invest at least £2,000,000 or more in the UK.
- You must be a non-EEA and Switzerland national.
- Be over 18.
- Meet the other requirements.
Turkish Businessperson Visa
In case you are a Turkish national and want to open up a new business in the UK, you can apply for a Turkish Businessperson Visa visa. You can also apply for it in case you want to help to open up a new business in the UK.
It enables you to bring your family to the UK and stay for up to 12 months. If you want, you can extend your visa as well.
3. Work Visa
The UK is one of the most developed countries. The employment market is always good. Many people try to move to the UK for better employment status and standard of living. To be able to work in this country, you might need a UK work visa.
Tier 2 General Visa UK
You can apply to get a Tier 2 work visa to move and work in the UK. To apply for it, you must have a job offer from the UK in a skilled field. You must also be a non-EEA or Switzerland national. Under this visa, you can bring your family and travel outside of the UK.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
Since February 20th, 2020, you can no longer apply for an Exceptional Talent Visa. You should apply for a Global Talent visa.
Global Talent visa
You can apply for this visa if you are a leader or emerging leader in a few fields to enter the UK.
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa
If you work for an International company and your employer wants you to move to the UK branch of the company, you should apply for the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa. The applicant must be non-EEA or Switzerland national and fulfill the other requirements.
Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa
When you want to move to the UK to work in a religious organization or faith community, you can apply for a Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa. You must be outside of Switzerland or EEA to qualify for this visa. There are other requirements, as well.
Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
This visa is for sportspeople who have a sponsor in the UK.
The people who have the following conditions can apply for Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa:
- You are a highly skilled coach or elite sportsperson and have been recognized by your sport’s governing body to be at the highest level of your profession internationally.
- Your sport’s governing body has endorsed your application.
- The field of your sport will develop the sport in the UK at the international level.
- You are not from EEA and Switzerland.
- Fulfill the other requirements.
Registration Certificates for Croatian Citizens
Croatia citizens need a certificate to work in the UK. The certificate for them gets called Registration Certificates for Croatian Citizens. There are three different kinds of certificates that each one of them is different.
Turkish Worker Visa
Turkish nationals working in the UK under a different visa or work permit for at least one year may apply for a Turkish Worker Visa. You have to fulfill a few requirements to be eligible for this visa.
4. Student visa
Tier 4 General Student Visa
In case you want to study in the UK and are at least 16, you could apply to get a Tier 4 General Student Visa. Under this visa, you can enter the UK one month before your study begins. Under this visa, you can work in certain jobs but can not get public funds. The validity depends on the length of the course and other factors.
Tier 4 Child Student Visa
Foreign students aged between 4-17 who want to study in an independent school in the UK can apply to get a Tier 4 Child Student Visa. There are a few requirements for this visa that you must fulfill. For example, you must have a place in a course, not be EEA or Switzerland national, etc.
5. Other visas (Residence permits)
The UK dependent visa is entry permission and residence permit issued for particular foreign relatives of people who are applying for a UK visa or already have a UK visa. Spouse, same-sex partner, children are the dependents who can apply for it.
Tier 2 Dependent Visa
If you are staying in the UK under a UK Tier 2 visa, your children or spouse can apply to join you through a Tier 2 Dependent Visa.
The UK Residence Permits are as follows:
Indefinite Leave to Remain
Indefinite Leave to Remain also gets called the UK settlement visa. When you get it, you can stay in the UK with no time limit. You can get a job or study without any restrictions. You also have the right to leave the country and return as many times as you want.
Residence for Commonwealth Citizens
The Commonwealth of Nations (a political association of 54 member states. Nearly all former territories ruled by the British Empire) can not travel, work, or study in the UK without limitations and appropriate residence. If such nationals fulfill the requirements, they can apply for a Residence for Commonwealth Citizens.
EEA Residence Card
The non-EEA family members of the UK residents or nationals can apply for an EEA Residence Card if their relative lives in the UK.
Surinder Singh Route
The UK citizens who have lived in another EEA country and want to return to the UK can apply for the Surinder Singh Route. Such citizens can bring their family back to the UK as well. The UK citizens can only apply to get Surinder Singh Route if their reason to live in another country was to strengthen or build up a family.
EEA Permanent Residence Card
A non-EEA citizen can live permanently in the UK through an “EEA Permanent Residence Card” after living in the UK for five steady years. He/she must be a family member of an EEA or Swiss citizen that is already a permanent resident.
UK Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
Any foreign national or dependent who wants to extend his/her current visa must apply to get a UK Biometric Residence Permit. It’s a legal right for them to live, work, or study in the UK. It can get used as an identification.
What is an Electronic Visa Waiver?
The Electronic Visa Waiver got made for the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait citizens. With this visa, they may enter the UK for up to six months to:
- Do business
- Do sightseeing
- Get medical care
If the citizens of these countries want to visit the UK for other reasons and a longer period, they have to apply for other visa types.
How to apply for an Electronic Visa Waiver?
The online application for an Electronic Visa Waiver must get started from here. You can not include any dependent on this visa. Everyone has to apply separately.
Applying for this visa is simple. You just need to provide this information:
- Passport information;
- The place where you will live in the UK;
- Your travel itinerary with planned dates of entry and leave.
What Should You Know as a UK Visa Holder?
Even if you have a UK visa, you might go through the Immigration Control examination while crossing the UK border. In some cases, the visa could get canceled at the border.
The UK authorities take overstaying or violating visa conditions as an act of offense.
Some visa types forbid you from doing several activities such as:
- Doing professional activity/getting a job in the UK;
- Enjoying public funds.
- Staying in the UK without getting police registration certificate;
- Study in the UK;
How Long is Needed to Get a UK Visa processed?
The processing time for a UK Visa is different. It depends on the application type and a few factors:
- The type of visa you apply for;
- the country you are applying from;
- The number of applications the authorities have to process at the time, etc.
The Immigration Health Surcharge
It is an amount of money you have to pay when you apply for a visa to the UK. Once you enter the UK with a visa, you may enjoy its National Health Service (NHS) like other UK citizens. You should pay for:
- dental treatment
- eye tests
- assisted conception
For all visa and immigration applications, the health surcharge costs £400. For a Tier 5 visa, it is £300 per year.
Can Your Visa Application Get Denied?
Your visa application might get refused for one of the following reasons:
- Missing documents. It is the most common one. You have one missing document; the embassy will deny your application. There is no second chance to submit what is missing. You have to start a completely new application.
- Mismatching and Incorrect information in your documents.
- Not enough financial means to support your stay in the UK.
- Not fulfilling the English language requirement.
- Incorrect organization of documents.
When your Uk visa application gets rejected, they won’t pay your fee back.
What Can You Do If Your UK Visa Application Got Denied?
You can stop applying or:
- Apply again for the visa. If so, make sure your situation gets improved to fulfill the requirements. You mustn’t make the same mistake.
- Apply for an Administrative Review
- Finding the reason it rejected and applying again.
Can Someone with a Criminal Record Get a UK Visa?
The answer is yes. But your application gets processed differently. It will be different from people with a clean criminal record.
In these cases, your sentence length and the time that has passed since then are essential.
Your application will get rejected if you have been in prison for:
- More than four years;
- Between 1-4 years. But at the minimum, ten years have passed since the last sentence.
- Not more than 12 months and at least five years have passed since the last sentence.
Who Has to Register with the Police?
If your passport visa sticker contains words:
- Police registration
- Register with the police, in seven days of entry
You have to register with the police once you enter the UK with a valid passport. After you enter the UK, you have seven days to go to the police and register. If not, your visa validity will get shortened. You might also need to leave the UK.
What are the Documents Needed to Present at the UK Port of Entry?
You have to show some documents to the border control police at the UK port of entry.
You could use the EU/EEA channel to get your documents checked in case you are an EU/EEA national.
Non- EU/EEA nationals need the following documents at the UK port of entry:
- Valid Passport.
- Landing Card. You will get this from your carrier. You need to fill it in before you reach the border control.
- Visa (if applicable).
Let’s sum up…
In this blog, we explained all the general information about the UK Visa.
The eligibility area for different purposes, the required documents, costs, types, the processing time, and etc. got explained.
This your ultimate guide for UK visas.
You can find all the UK visa information in the world here. This article is the first step for the particular type of UK visa you want to apply for.
To find out more about the visa that suits you, go through the menu of the site. You can find all the UK types of visas at the left sidebar.
You can check Visa Library to find more information about other countries’ visas.
In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences as comments is a great help for applicants.