Do you need a visa to go to the United Kingdom?

James March

Jun 25, 2022 • 3 min read

Group of people walking along cliff edge looking at city views. Edinburgh Castle in the distance

Here's the visa info you need for a visit to Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland Andrew Merry / Getty Images

Traveling between England , Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland reveals both the shared culture and distinct local flavors that contribute to the UK . Save for the occasional inconvenience of long lines at passport control and security, entering and leaving the UK was fairly straightforward in the past. Now, due to Brexit, information on visa requirements has changed for EU citizens and immigration restrictions are often on the news in the UK. It's essential to check with your local British embassy, high commission or consulate before leaving home.

What you need to know about visas in the UK

The UK government has a handy online guide to help you check if you need a UK visa . Britain is not a member of the Schengen Zone, so you will need to show your passport when arriving and leaving from a UK border point.

Visas are generally not needed for stays of up to six months for tourism or visiting friends and family. This applies to citizens of the EEA (European Economic Area) nations, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and the USA.

Following Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme is the system that EU citizens who are already living in the UK need to follow, but there is also a family permit you can apply for if you’re a family member of someone from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. ​​It lets you come to the UK for up to 6 months. You can work and study, and come and go as many times as you want before the permit expires.

Anyone wishing to work, do business or academic research in the UK will need to apply for a visa, as will students wishing to study for longer than six months. The Youth Mobility Scheme , for Australian, Canadian, Japanese, Hong Kong, Monégasque, New Zealand, Sammarinese and Icelandic citizens aged 18 to 30, allows working visits of up to two years, but must be applied for in advance. Those coming from Hong Kong (if you have a SAR passport), Japan, South Korea and Taiwan must be selected in the Youth Mobility Scheme ballot before they can apply.

Tourists from China, India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and many other destinations , will need to apply for the Standard Visitor visa . It lasts six months, costs £100 and must be applied for online in advance of travel. A decision is usually provided within three weeks. Applications to extend your stay must be made before your visa runs out, but there are strict limitations. If you know you want to be in the UK beyond six months, it's best to apply for the more costly long-term Standard Visitor visa, which lasts for two (£376), five (£670) or ten (£837) years.

Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born parent may be eligible for Right of Abode , which entitles them to live and work in the UK. You can only get the right to abode through marriage if you’re a female Commonwealth citizen. Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born grandparent could qualify for a UK Ancestry visa, allowing them to work full-time for up to five years in the UK. You should get a decision on your visa within three weeks when applying from outside the UK and the fee is £531.

British immigration authorities have always been tough; you may be required to demonstrate proof of onward travel or an outbound departure date (for example, a flight booking home), and possibly evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while in Britain.

This article was first published Mar 16, 2021 and updated Jun 25, 2022.

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Visa Traveler

Exploring the world one country at a time

UK tourist visa: Requirements and application procedure

Updated: September 9, 2023

United Kingdom UK Tourist Visa Image

The UK tourist visa requirements are clear and easy to understand. UK tourist visa application is online but the rest of the process requires an in-person appointment for biometrics.

The UK or the United Kingdom is comprised of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To visit any of these four countries, you would need a UK tourist visa. UK tourist visas are valid for 6 months and you can stay up to 180 days in the UK.

The UK tourist visa application process is long and there is no status tracking. Make sure to start your UK visa process at least two months from your intended date of travel to the UK.

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UK TOURIST VISA REQUIREMENTS BY NATIONALITY

United Kingdom Tourist Visa Requirements by Nationality

Minimum passport validity required to enter the UK

  • Passport must be valid for the entire stay in the UK

Visa EXEMPT nationalities

Unlimited entry.

  • This requirement will change from 01 Jan 2021 when UK will no longer be part of the EU
  • Czech Republic
  • Liechtenstein
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland

6-month entry

  • You must carry all documents needed for a visitor visa to show at the port of entry if asked
  • Visa is REQUIRED if you have a criminal record or refused entry into the UK before
  • Anguilla (British territory)
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bermuda (British territory)
  • Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba (Dutch territory)
  • British Virgin Islands (British territory)
  • Cayman Islands (British territory)
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Falkland Islands (British territory)
  • Hong Kong
  • Marshall Islands
  • Montserrat (British territory)
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Pitcairn Island (British territory)
  • San Marino
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Maarten
  • St Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Timor Leste
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands (British territory)
  • United States of America
  • Vatican City

Visa REQUIRED nationalities

  • Afghanistan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo, Dem. Rep. of
  • Congo, Rep. of
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Dominican Republic
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • North Korea
  • North Macedonia
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Philippines
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • São Tomé and Principe
  • Turkmenistan

Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) required nationalities

  • United Arab Emirates

24-hour VISA-FREE entry at Heathrow airport

  • Eligible to request a 24-hour VISA-FREE entry at London’s Heathrow airport if holding a valid visa from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or any EU/Schengen country
  • Must be in transit to/from the country of visa (Ex: if holding a Canada visa, you must be in transit to/from Canada only)
  • Onward flight must be within 24 hours (on the same day or next day before midnight)
  • Granting the 24-hour entry is at the sole discretion of the immigration officer
  • Applies to all nationalities

BONUS (FREE eBook Download): Travel 56 countries VISA-FREE with a visa from the US, Canada, Schengen, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Singapore

UK TOURIST VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

United Kingdom UK Tourist Visa Requirements - Visa Application

First, check if you need a visitor visa to travel to the UK in the “UK tourist visa requirements by nationality” section above.

Alternatively, you can check your eligibility and requirements on the UK gov website .

Validity of UK tourist visa

UK tourist visas are valid for 6 months from the date of visa issue.

Example: If your UK visa was issued on January 15, the visa will be valid until July 15. 

NOTE There have been instances where visas were issued with validity starting from the date of travel mentioned in the visa application. 

When to apply for UK visa

You can apply for a UK visa up to 3 months in advance.

Example: If you plan to visit the UK on April 15, you can apply for your UK visa on or after January 16.

Also, keep in mind that you must apply for your UK visa at least 3 weeks prior to your travel, otherwise, you may not receive your visa on time. There are no refunds if you receive your visa after your travel date. 

IMPORTANT The UK visa process can take up to 3 weeks and even longer in some cases. I strongly recommend applying for your UK visa at least 2 months in advance.

How long can you stay in the UK?

The UK tourist visa allows you to stay up to 180 days in the UK. But if you stay that long continuously in the UK on a tourist visa, you will have serious trouble getting another UK visa in the future or entering the UK next time.

Here is my advice. Stick to the days you have mentioned in your UK visa application. A few days more or less is fine. But staying months on your UK tourist visa will pretty much look like you “live in the UK” rather than “vacation/holiday”. 

Application procedure

The UK visa application is online. You must apply for the visa online at the UK Visas and Immigration website

Below are the steps you will go through for your UK tourist visa application

  • Go to the UK Visas and Immigration website
  • Select your preferred language, type of visa, your country, nearest visa application center, etc
  • Create a login using email and password
  • Complete in the application form
  • Sign the declaration
  • Pay visa fee
  • Submit the application
  • Download and print the submitted visa application form
  • Make an appointment at your nearest UK visa application center
  • Attend the appointment at your nearest UK visa application center
  • Submit your passport, visa application and supporting documents at the visa application center
  • If applying from the US, Australia or New Zealand, mail your passport, visa application and biometrics receipt to your nearest visa application center
  • Pickup/receive the passport when the visa decision is made

Below are some of the information you will provide in the application form

  • Your travel dates to the UK
  • Your hotel address and telephone number in the UK
  • Your total estimated cost for the trip
  • Your present home address and how many years you’ve lived there
  • Your parents’ names and their dates of birth
  • Your annual income
  • Your travel history for the past 10 years
  • Your employer details including the address and telephone number

Templates for UK visa by Visa Traveler

Documents required

The following are the documents required for UK visitor visa application 

  • Completed online visa application form with GWF number
  • A passport-size photo (optional)
  • If employed – an employment letter on company letterhead indicating your length of employment, salary, role, etc.
  • If self-employed – a business registration document indicating your business name, date of business, etc.
  • If student – a letter from the school/university on the letterhead indicating your enrollment, leave of absence, etc.
  • Proof of funds ( bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months)
  • Proof of legal residence (if applying from a 3rd country. you must submit a copy of your visa or residence permit of that country)

Do you need flight tickets and hotel bookings for the UK visa application?

UKVI has stopped asking for flight tickets and hotel bookings for UK visa applications. But some nationalities are still being asked to submit flight tickets and hotel bookings.

When you complete your online UK visa application, you will see a checklist of documents to be uploaded. Check if you are asked to submit flight tickets and hotel bookings.

Even if you are asked to submit your flight tickets and hotel bookings, you should not book any flights/hotel until your UK visa is approved.

For flights, get a price quote from British Airways which can be used as a flight itinerary for your UK visa application. Visa ticket booking agencies such as DummyTicket offer flight itineraries for the UK visa for $19, valid for 2-3 weeks.

For hotel, book a refundable or pay at check-in hotel on booking.com or Expedia . Cancel the booking after your visa is approved.

For more options, check out my detailed flight itinerary and hotel reservation articles.

Photo requirements

A passport-size photo is only required if are exempt from biometrics. All tourist visa applicants MUST give their biometrics. Your fingerprints and digital photos are taken during your biometrics appointment.

Since all tourist visa applicants MUST give their biometrics, a passport-size photo is not required. But, I suggest bringing one with you on the day of your biometrics appointment just in case.

Visa application fee

The UK tourist visa application fee is £95 GBP. You will pay this fee in your local currency. Due to exchange rates, you may end up paying about £2 – £5 GBP more.

You can use the UK home office visa fee wizard to find out the exact visa fee that you would need to pay in your local currency. 

If you are applying for a long-term UK tourist visa, below is the visa fee for 2, 5 and 10-year tourist visas. 

  • 2 years: £361 GBP
  • 5 years: £655 GBP
  • 10 years: £822 GBP

Visa appointment

As part of the online application process, you will be prompted to make a visa appointment at your nearest UK Visa Application Center . Visa Application Centers are run by either VFSGlobal or TLSContact in conjunction with UK Visas and Immigration.

On the day of the appointment, you will give your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) and submit your original documents. You must bring all your original documents along with one photocopy of each including your passport.

Applicants from the USA, Australia (Adelaide and Hobart only) and New Zealand

You must give your biometrics at your nearest Biometric Enrollment Center and later send/post your documents to the nearest UK Visa Application Center.

During your online UK visa application, you will be prompted to make a biometrics appointment at your nearest Biometric enrollment center.

  • Biometric enrollment centers in the USA are run by the US Homeland Security.
  • Biometric enrollment centers in Australia are run by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
  • Biometric enrollment centers in New Zealand are run by Immigration New Zealand.

The biometrics appointment takes about 10-15 minutes. You will give your fingerprints and photo. You will receive an acknowledgment stamp on the biometric appointment confirmation.

You must then mail your original passport, visa application, biometric confirmation with the stamp, supporting documents and return postage to the UK Visa Application Center you have selected during your online visa application.

You will be notified via email when the UK Visa Application Center receives your documents.

Visa processing time

The UK tourist visa processing takes up to 3 weeks. There have been incidents where UKVI has taken over 2 months to process, especially when the visa applications are “not straightforward”.

UKVI considers a visa application “not straightforward” if additional information is required to process the visa. Additional information can be, verifying information, background check or requesting additional documents. UKVI usually notifies you in such cases and requests any additional documentation necessary.

Keeping such incidents in mind, ALWAYS apply for your UK visa at least 2 months prior to your travel.

If you have to travel sooner, you should purchase the “Priority Visa Service” while applying online. Or at least before you mail/submit your documents. This way your visa application will be processed within 5 working days.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE When I applied for my UK visa, the visa processing time was about 2 weeks. I had a planned trip to Canada before my trip to the UK. My trip to Canada was in 4 weeks, so I thought I had enough time to apply for my UK visa. However after I submitted my passport, the email confirmation said the visa process would take up to 4 weeks. I panicked. I went ahead and paid for the priority visa service. I panicked again. Then I emailed a formal visa withdrawal request, so I could at least get my passport back and make my trip to Canada. However, my visa was processed within 2 days of paying the priority visa service fee. Please do not make the same mistake as I did. Apply for your UK visa at least 2 months prior to your travel.

Visa application status tracking

Online visa application tracking is NOT AVAILABLE on the UK Visas and Immigration website. To track your UK visa application status, you must use UK Visas and Immigration’s email or phone option, which unfortunately is NOT FREE.

UKVI charges for all phone and email inquiries. 

Below are UK Visa and Immigration phone, email details and charges.

PHONE Telephone: +44 2034811736 Available 24 hours from Monday to Friday Calls cost £1.37 per minute plus any international call charges

EMAIL Email communication must be initiated via Email UK Visas and Immigration Email inquiries cost £5.48. Follow-up emails after that are not charged. You will receive a response to your email within 2 working days.

You must give out your credit card information for billing when you start the phone inquiry. For email, you must fill out the payment form and then you can submit your email inquiry.

PERSONAL OPINION Email inquiries generally receive a standard response saying that your application is “in process”. Phone inquiries are slightly better and cheaper.

Priority visa service

If you would need to travel to the UK urgently, you can opt for the “Priority Visa Service”.  This service is expensive and may not be available in all countries. If available, you will see the option in your online UK visa application. 

  • Priority visa service fee: £220 GBP
  • Visa processing time: Guaranteed in 5 working days

Priority visa service must be purchased during your online visa application. This will ensure your visa is processed within 5 days.

Purchasing this service after you have submitted/mailed your documents will take much longer than 5 working days. You must first pay the fee on the Visa Application Center (VAC) website and then email the receipt to the Visa Application Center where you have submitted/sent your documents. It can take more than a day for the VAC staff to locate your packet and push it into the priority queue

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE I purchased my priority service after I had mailed my documents. My visa application was approved within two days of buying the priority visa service.

Super priority visa service

If you would need to travel to the UK immediately, you can opt for “Super Priority Visa Service”. This service comes with a hefty price tag, so purchase this service only in super urgent, emergency cases. 

  • Super priority visa service fee: £956 GBP
  • Visa processing time: Guaranteed in 24 hours

Cancel your UK visa application

If you haven’t given your biometrics at the visa application center yet, you can cancel your UK visa application and get a full refund of your visa fee. The procedure to cancel your UK visa application depends on at what stage your application is in.

Application not submitted and fee not paid : If you haven’t paid your fee and haven’t submitted your application, there is a “Delete Application” option that will delete your current visa application.

Application not submitted but fee already paid : If you have already paid your fee and have not yet submitted your application, you can still delete your application but you may have to send a formal refund request in writing to the visa application center.

Application submitted, fee paid but haven’t given your biometrics : If you haven’t given your biometrics at VFS/BLS, you can cancel your application and request for a refund. The refunds take 4 weeks. 

Application submitted, fee paid, biometric given , and documents/passport already submitted: If you have already given your biometrics and submitted your documents/passport, you CANNOT cancel your visa application anymore. You can only WITHDRAW your visa application. You must email the visa application center a formal withdrawal request. Upon receipt of the withdrawal request, the visa application center will return/mail your passport back. Any visa fee and priority service fee paid are not refundable. 

IMPORTANT Even though UKVI says the refunds are processed in 4 weeks, it usually takes 8 weeks or even longer. There have been instances where applicants waited several weeks and some even gave up on their refunds. However, I have seen applicants having success in getting their refunds by reminding UKVI with phone calls or emails. It costs about $5 USD to email them, but it helps in getting your refund eventually. 

Withdraw your UK visa application

The UK visa application center keeps the passport for the entirety of the visa process, which could be 3 weeks or more. There may be emergencies where you need to have your passport with you. The only way to request your passport back is by formally withdrawing your visa application. 

If you withdraw your application, the visa fee and any priority service fee you have paid are NOT refundable.

To withdraw a visa application, you must submit a withdrawal request along with the reason for the withdrawal to the visa application center via email. It might take up to 72 hours for the consulate to locate your packet and send it back to you.

You must first call/email the UK Visas and Immigration mentioning your intention to withdraw your application. They will guide you through the process of withdrawing your application. Usually, the UK visa application withdrawal request should be a signed document with personal information including the GWF number. This document must be printed and signed. It must be scanned and emailed to the visa application center. Below is a sample withdrawal request letter.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I hereby request to withdraw my UK visa application. I understand that the visa fee is non-refundable. I also understand that my package may not be shipped for up to 72 hours.

Full Name of the Applicant: <name> GWF Number: <GWF number> Date of Birth: <date of birth> Nationality: <Nationality> Country of Residence: <Country of residence> Passport number: <Passport number> Type of Visa Applied: General Visit (up to 6 months) Biometric taken date:  <biometric date> Visa application centre’s address:  <address of the visa application center where you have submitted your documents> Contact number of the applicant: <Your phone number>

Priority Service Paid: <YES/NO> Priority Service Paid On: <Priority service purchased date>

Reason for Withdrawal: Emergency international travel has been scheduled. I need to have my passport in order to travel. Please return my passport as soon as possible. Thank you!

<Your signature here> Signed: <Your full name> Date: <date>

IMPORTANT Cancellation or withdrawal is NOT a refusal. It WILL NOT affect your future UK visa applications. You don’t need to mention it in your future UK visa applications either.

ENTERING AND LEAVING THE UK

United Kingdom UK Tourist Visa Requirements - UK Currency

Entering the UK by air

At the immigration, the officers may ask you questions about your trip, how long you plan to stay, your next destination, etc. You may be asked to show your return/onward ticket and your hotel booking. If you are traveling on a one-way ticket, you can use OnwardTicket to get proof of your onward ticket. 

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: The immigration officer at Heathrow Airport asked me to show my return/onward ticket. I had a print of my onward ticket, so quickly took it out and gave it to the immigration officer.

Get a proof of onward ticket for your trip from OnwardTicket

Leaving the UK by air

If you are flying out of Heathrow Airport, make sure to arrive early. The airport is huge and you may have to take a bus from the gate to the flight.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GWF number in UK visa application ?

GWF reference number is the unique visa application number that was provided to you on your visa application submission. You must provide your GWF number when calling or emailing UK Visas and Immigration. Without the GWF number, UK Visas and Immigration will not be able to provide you with a status update on your visa application.

What to do if my UK visa application is refused?

If your UK visa application is refused, the first thing is to understand the  reasons for your UK visa refusal . If the reason is due to missing information, proof of funds or documentation, make sure to fix these the next time you apply for your UK visa.

Write a detailed cover letter explaining the reasons for your previous visa refusal, missing information/documentation and any additional information/documentation that you have provided in the new application. This will help the ECOs cut to the chase and focus on the new information/documentation.

There is no “appeal” for UK visa. So, re-apply for your UK visa by making sure you have the new information, proofs and documents that were lacking previously. You must pay the visa fee again as the fee paid for your previous application was non-refundable.

If you do not know the reason for your visa refusal/denial, give at least 6 months before you apply for the visa again. 

Can I get my UK visa application fee refund if denied?

No. The visa fee and any priority service fee paid are non-refundable if your visa application is denied. The visa fee is also non-refundable in incidents where the visa is approved for less number of days than requested.

I’m planning to visit the UK and Schengen countries on a single trip. Should I apply for my UK visa first or Schengen visa first?

If you plan to visit the UK and Schengen countries on a single trip, ALWAYS apply for your UK visa first. 

UKVI keeps the passport for the entirety of the visa process and there is no visa status tracking. Calls and emails to customer service are charged. Even if you pay and contact, you will usually get a canned response. If your UK visa is refused, there is no “appeal”. You can only re-apply, which means you have to repeat the entire process again.

On the other hand, the Schengen visa application process is much streamlined. There is application tracking, customer service and appeal. 

I highly recommend applying for your UK visa first and get done with it. After that, apply for your Schengen visa. 

When applying for your UK visa, show a “UK-only” itinerary for your UK visa. This eliminates the need for submitting your Schengen visa, flights in/out of the Schengen region, etc. 

United Kingdom UK Tourist Visa Requirements - London Tower Bridge

The UK tourist visa requirements are clear and easy to understand. But, the visa application process is long and expensive. Apply at least 2 months in advance, and follow all the proper steps and documentation. Tourist visas are usually multiple-entry with 6 months validity.

WRITTEN BY THIRUMAL MOTATI

Thirumal Motati

Thirumal Motati is an expert in tourist visa matters. He has been traveling the world on tourist visas for more than a decade. With his expertise, he has obtained several tourist visas, including the most strenuous ones such as the US, UK, Canada, and Schengen, some of which were granted multiple times. He has also set foot inside US consulates on numerous occasions. Mr. Motati has uncovered the secrets to successful visa applications. His guidance has enabled countless individuals to obtain their visas and fulfill their travel dreams. His statements have been mentioned in publications like Yahoo, BBC, The Hindu, and Travel Zoo.

PLAN YOUR TRAVEL WITH VISA TRAVELER

I highly recommend using these websites to plan your trip. I use these websites myself to apply for my visas, book my flights and hotels and purchase my travel insurance.

01. Apply for your visa

Get a verifiable flight itinerary for your visa application from DummyTicket247 . DummyTicket247 is a flight search engine to search and book flight itineraries for visas instantly. These flight itineraries are guaranteed to be valid for 2 weeks and work for all visa applications.

02. Book your fight

Find the cheapest flight tickets using Skyscanner . Skyscanner includes all budget airlines and you are guaranteed to find the cheapest flight to your destination.

03. Book your hotel

Book your hotel from Booking.com . Booking.com has pretty much every hotel, hostel and guesthouse from every destination.

04. Get your onward ticket

If traveling on a one-way ticket, use BestOnwardTicket to get proof of onward ticket for just $12, valid for 48 hours.

05. Purchase your insurance

Purchase travel medical insurance for your trip from SafetyWing . Insurance from SafetyWing covers COVID-19 and also comes with a visa letter which you can use for your visas.

Need more? Check out my travel resources page  for the best websites to plan your trip.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER We are not affiliated with immigration, embassies or governments of any country. The content in this article is for educational and general informational purposes only, and shall not be understood or construed as, visa, immigration or legal advice. Your use of information provided in this article is solely at your own risk and you expressly agree not to rely upon any information contained in this article as a substitute for professional visa or immigration advice. Under no circumstance shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions in this article or for any damage you may suffer in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the information in this article. Please refer to our full disclaimer for further information.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please refer to our full disclosure for further information.

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UK Visitor Visa (Tourism or Leisure) - Top 10 FAQs

Most visitors to the UK will need to make an application for a UK visit visa from their country of residence, before travelling. In this post we answer some of the questions that are most frequently asked by individuals who wish to visit the UK as a Standard Visitor for the purpose of tourism or leisure .

What are the eligibility requirements for a UK Visitor Visa application?

In making an application for a UK Visitor Visa you will be required to prove:

  • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
  • You’re able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you);
  • You are able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey);
  • You have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules .

What can I do as a Standard Visitor in the UK?

As a visitor to the UK for the purpose of tourism or leisure, you will be permitted to:

  • Visit friends and family and/or come to the UK for a holiday; 
  • Take part in educational exchanges programmes;
  • Attend recreational courses for a maximum of 30 days;
  • Volunteer with a registered charity for a maximum of 30 days.

What does it mean to be a “Genuine Visitor”?

In order to succeed with an application for a UK Visit Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you are a genuine visitor. This means that you will need to show you are genuinely seeking entry to the UK for a purpose permitted by the visitor routes, will not undertake any prohibited activities during your stay in the UK, will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits and will not make the UK your home

The Visit guidance lists factors which will be considered by a Caseworker in assessing whether an applicant is a genuine visitor. Theses include your:

  • Previous immigration history to the UK and other countries;
  • Financial circumstances as well as your family, social and economic background;
  • Personal and economic ties to the UK.

In assessing your genuineness, the Caseworker will also consider the cumulative period of time you have spent in the UK over the last 12 months and the duration of your previous visits compared to what was stated on your visa application form or on arrival to the UK. 

If you intend to visit the UK for any other reason including to marry or form a civil partnership , to receive private medical treatment , or to undertake business activities , you must apply for the specific visit corresponding to the purpose of your visit.  

What reasons could a Caseworker have for doubting that I am applying as a Genuine Visitor?

The Visit Guidance provides a non-exhaustive list of reasons a Caseworker may doubt whether you are a Genuine Visitor. This includes whether or if:

  • There are discrepancies between the statements made by you and your sponsor in your application; 
  • You, your sponsor or other immediate family member has, or has attempted to, deceive or mislead the Home Office in a previous application to enter the UK;
  • It has not been possible to verify the information you have provided. 

Although the existence of any of the above reasons will not result in the automatic refusal of your application, it will be essential to address each of these circumstances in your application. 

How much funds do I need to show for a UK Visitor Visa?  

You must have access to sufficient resources to maintain yourself adequately for the duration of your visit to the UK. There is no set level of funds you need to show this.

Some thought should be given to the activities you intend to undertake, and your living expenses, in the UK. This is because, when assessing your application, a Caseworker will consider the likely cost of your stay and assess any source of revenue that will continue to be available to you whilst visiting the UK. A Caseworker will take into consideration your income or savings against any financial commitments you have in your country of residence in deciding whether you are able to support yourself financially during your visit. 

What does it mean to make “frequent or successive visits” to the UK?

Although there is no specific maximum period of time which you can spend in the UK in any period, as long as each visit does not exceed 6 months, your application for a Standard Visitor Visa will be refused if a caseworker has reason to believe that you are living in the UK through frequent or successive visits. In assessing your application a Caseworker will consider your travel history including, how long you spend in the UK on each visit and how frequently you are returning to the UK. 

How do I make an application for a UK Visitor Visa?

An application for a UK Visitor Visa must be made online . A Standard Visitor may apply for a visit visa of 6 months, 2.5 years or 10 years validity. This allows multiple visits to the UK within the period of validity, unless the visa is endorsed as single or dual-entry), but if it is a ‘multiple entry’ visa, you still cannot remain in the UK as a visitor for more than 6 months on any individual visit. 

As part of the application process you will be required to attend a Visa Centre to enrol your biometrics and have your passport scanned as part of the application process. Once your application form is submitted online, you will be able to upload your supporting documents online and book an appointment to enrol your biometrics.

How much does it cost to make a UK Visit Visa application?

The Home Office application fee for a Standard Visitor Visa is £95. You may need to pay an additional fee for a biometric appointment at a Visa Centre. 

How long will it take for my UK Visit Visa application to be decided?

An application for a UK Visitor Visa is typically decided within 3 weeks of making the application and attending a visa application centre. It may be possible to apply for a priority service to speed up the process depending on the country you are applying from. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be delays in processing your applications and priority services may be limited. 

What happens if my application for a UK Visitor Visa is refused?

You are unlikely to have a right of appeal if your application for a Standard Visitor Visa is refused.  If you need to challenge a refusal, it is likely you will have to do so by way of judicial review. 

You may wish to speak to our barristers for expert legal advice on making a fresh application following the refusal of your visitor visa. It will be essential for you to make a carefully prepared application which addresses each reason from your refusal to be addressed in order to succeed with a fresh application. 

Contact Our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance with an application for a UK Tourism and Leisure Visitor Visa , contact our Immigration Barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

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Getting a visitor visa for family and friends

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland , See advice for Scotland , See advice for Wales

Your friend or family member can apply for a visitor visa so they can visit you in the UK. Visitor visas are usually for up to 6 months.

Bringing your partner to the UK to get married or register a civil partnership

Your partner can’t use a standard visitor visa to come to the UK to get married or register a civil partnership.

If you and your partner want to live in the UK after you get married or register a civil partnership, check if they can apply for a partner visa .

If you and your partner don’t want to stay in the UK together, your partner can come to the UK on a marriage visitor visa. This means they’ll have to leave the UK within 6 months. Check how to get a marriage visitor visa on GOV.UK .

Check if your visitor needs a visa

You’ll need to check if they need a visitor visa on GOV.UK if you don’t already know - it depends on their nationality.

If your visitor doesn't need a visa, they might need to get an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) before they travel to the UK. You can check if your visitor needs an ETA on GOV.UK .

Some visitors can scan their own passport at an ‘eGate’ instead of speaking to an immigration officer. Check who can use the eGates on GOV.UK .

If they can't use an eGate, they should still be prepared to explain why they’re visiting when they get to the border. If the Border Force thinks they might try to stay longer, they can refuse them entry

If you’re helping your visitor apply for a visitor visa

They’ll have to apply online .

Make sure your visitor puts their information in where it asks for the applicant’s details .

After you fill in the form, the visitor will need to have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre. Check where their nearest visa application centre is  before you apply, because it might be in a different country.

The online form asks you some questions to get to the visa you need. 

If you need more support with your application 

You should consider getting specialist advice if you’re unsure about the application. It might cost you money but it can save you time and hassle. Your local Citizens Advice can either help you or let you know where to get expert advice.

Documents you’ll need to include

You’ll need to include documents that support their application when you send it off. The online form will give you guidance on what to include, but here are some things to keep in mind.

If your documents aren’t in English or Welsh, you’ll need to provide certified English translations of your documents with the originals. Each translation has to include:

confirmation from the translator that it’s an accurate translation of the original

the date of the translation

the translator's full name and signature

the translator's contact details

Prove they’ll be returning to their country after their visit

You could show proof your visitor has a job or studies to go back to in their home country. You can also show they have family who depend on them in their home country.

Prove there’s enough money for the trip

You’ll have to provide evidence to show that the visitor’s trip can be afforded, whether it’s being paid for by them or by you. 

If the visitor is paying for themselves, they’ll have to include documents proving that they can afford it, for example bank statements or payslips.

If you’re paying for their visit (eg for their flights and accommodation), you’ll need to prove that you can afford the visitor’s trip as well as your own costs - for example your rent, mortgage and general expenses.

an estimate of how much the trip will cost - this needs to be as accurate as possible

proof of your income and where you work, for example payslips or an employment contract

proof that you have enough money to pay for the visitor’s stay, for example recent bank statements

proof that you’re in the UK legally, for example a copy of your passport or visa

Prove you have a genuine relationship

You’ll have to show how you’re connected to the person visiting you.

If the person visiting you is a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend, you might need to give stronger proof they’ll be returning to their country after their visit.

If your visa is refused

You can read the government’s guidance on reasons for refusing visas on GOV.UK, if you're concerned the visa you're applying for might be refused.

You can’t usually appeal if the visitor visa is refused. It's quicker and easier to apply again. Make sure you deal with the reasons your first application was refused.

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UK Visitor Visa

If you are a foreign national and wish to spend time in the UK as a tourist or visit your family and friends, you can apply for a UK Visitor Visa.

Call us on  0343 253 9104 for immediate help & assistance with your UK Visitor Visa. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.

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Benefits of Choosing IAS For Your Visitor Visa Application

If you are planning to travel to the UK and require a visitor visa, then our immigration lawyers are on hand to provide advice and application assistance.

Whether this is your first application or you applied on your own before but were refused the visa, we can help.

No matter the reason why you plan to visit, the IAS range of expert services can help ensure your application is submitted quickly and to a high standard. Benefit from:

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Tailored advice to ensure you are applying for the correct visa.

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A personal immigration lawyer who can answer all queries.

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Access to UK-specific knowledge of the immigration routes.

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Confidence your application will be complete and comprehensive.

Services we Provide

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Need help with an immigration issue? Book a one-to-one advice session with one of our legal caseworkers.

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We can complete your visa application on your behalf, taking the stress and hassle out of the process.

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Need to submit an application quickly? We can help you complete and send it off in as little as 24 hours.

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Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal with our legal support and guidance.

Visitor Visa UK Overview

If you want to stay in the UK, you will likely need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa (UK). Visitor visas in the UK allow you to travel for stays of up to six months and can be used for leisure and business, among other purposes.

There are several types of visitor visas depending on the purpose of your visit. Subcategories include a business visit visa , a tourist visa for UK holidays, an academic visit visa, a marriage visitor visa to get married or enter a civil partnership, and more. 

What Is The UK Standard Visitor Visa And Who Is It For?

As a general rule, all Standard UK Visitor Visas are short-term visas, limiting the holder to a maximum stay of six months. When your visa is valid, you can enter and leave the UK at will. 

  • Leisure – If you’re a non-EEA national looking for a holiday visa, the standard visiting visa to UK territories will cover you for up to six months for leisure. If you are coming for a family visit, sightseeing, or general travel, your needs fall under the UK standard visa category (otherwise known as a UK tourist visa). When considering UK visas for international travellers from non-EEA regions, a standard visitor visa is normally the path to take.
  • Business – If you need to enter the UK for short-term business requirements such as conferences, events, or business appointments, the general visitor visa UK will allow you to travel to the UK to conduct your business for up to six months. It will not allow you to conduct paid engagements with UK companies. For more extensive business activity, you may be required to apply for another visa type, such as a UK Business Visa.
  • Study – You can study for up to six months on a Student Visitor Visa. You must have evidence of your acceptance on a course or module that lasts less than 3 months and meet the criteria for the application.
  • Other reasons – The standard visitor visa allows you to travel to the UK for private medical treatment, for instance.

If you’re not a citizen of an EEA country or Switzerland, you must complete the online application form on the gov.uk website to get a standard visa.

However, UK visa eligibility requirements can be confusing, and there may be further exceptions depending on your country of residence. We advise contacting a legal expert or checking the Home Office website if you’re unsure whether you need a visitor visa for UK travel.

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What Documentation Do I Need To Prove My Eligibility For The Visitor Visa?

To prove your eligibility for the UK visitor visa, it’s essential to provide the Home Office with evidence as part of your UK visit visa application. As a non-EEA visa national, you’ll need to prove that:

  • You intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit and do not plan to stay for more than six months.
  • You have evidence of any activities you intend to perform in the UK, including business and other activities.
  • You can afford your inward and outward journeys, including flights.
  • You will have sufficient funds to support and house yourself and any dependents throughout your stay without accessing public funds.

To have your visa approved, you’ll need to give details of your current and previous passport numbers or an alternative valid travel identification . 

Any documentation must be accompanied by a certified translation if it isn’t in English or Welsh. 

Additional documents required might include:

  • Travel documents that detail the dates on which you plan to travel.
  • An immigration record and history of international travel. Visa UK laws require a lot of information to be provided.
  • An estimate for the cost of your visit as well proof of sufficient funds such as bank statements.
  • Your overseas contact details and address.
  • Details of any overseas employer or company for whom you are travelling to the UK.

Immigration rules are strict, and the Home Office refuses many visas due to a lack of supporting evidence. Here at IAS, it’s our job to help you understand what you need to do to submit a successful application . 

You can get support in organising and submitting supporting documents and evidence that can help prove your eligibility, and support your case. If you are seeking assurance and assistance, contact the team here at IAS . Alternatively, you can call 0343 253 9104 .

Our immigration lawyers are experienced and fully qualified – giving you the best chance of visa approval.

How Long Does a UK Visitor Visa Take to Process?

You can submit your visa application to the Home Office between three months and 48 hours before you plan to travel. Applications more than three months before your arrival won’t be accepted. Applications are typically processed within three weeks. You will be able to check your visa status after you submit it. 

Processing can take closer to three weeks and occasionally more, particularly for those outside the EEA and Switzerland. If you’re travelling long-distance from North America, South America, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, or Africa, it’s important to leave plenty of time while you await permission to travel. 

If you’re travelling for an urgent appointment you can’t afford to miss, you might choose one of the Home Office’s priority services: the Priority Service and the Super Priority Service. 

  • Priority Service – Processed within 5 working days – £500
  • Super Priority Service – Processed in a single working day – £1000

The priority services come at an extra cost but are reliable for ensuring your visa decision is delivered quickly. However, not all countries offer these services, so it’s worth checking at a local visa application centre or embassy where you apply first.

If you need to visit the UK for business or tourism as soon as possible and are struggling to compile your UK business or tourist visa application, the team here at IAS is here to help out.

Our qualified immigration lawyers can offer you a fast-track application package ensuring your urgent application is submitted to tight deadlines, and with the best chance of success. 

This includes booking a Home Office Same-Day Premium slot for you, checking your required documentation, writing a Letter of Representation to the Home Office, and more. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Can I Stay In The UK For Longer Than Six Months?

Visitors from many countries, including the United States, China, Pakistan, India, and other non-EEA countries, can apply for a long-term visit visa for UK travel. These are available at an extra cost and can be held for two, five, or ten years.

Long-term visitor visas still restrict you to a maximum single visit of six months or less. However, you can enter and leave the UK multiple times within the allotted time period. A long-term visitor visa to the UK is a great route if you know you’ll need to return multiple times over the years.

Non-EEA academic visitors and those receiving private medical treatment in the UK can access another solution for a longer-term stay. This is called the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) . This will mean submitting biometric information about yourself, such as your personal details, fingerprints,  a photo, immigration status, and more.

Still, it will not allow you to stay in the UK for longer than six months. This process is known as biometric enrolment and still requires you to prove evidence of sufficient financial support for your stay. 

How Much Does A Visitor Visa UK Cost?

Visitor Visa fees can vary for UK travellers from non-EEA countries. However, the standard UK visitor visa fees are the same – £115. If you’re planning on staying for longer than six months, it might be that you’re applying for a long-term standard visa, in which case there are different costs involved:

  • 2-Year Visa – £432
  • 5-Year Visa – £771
  • 10-Year Visa – £963

International travelling can be costly as it is – you don’t want to overlook planning for the correct visa fee. Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we often see applicants frustrated by visa costs. If you’re visiting the UK for a family wedding, holiday, or other short-term stay, then costs can pile up. 

The gov.uk website has a tool for checking the correct visa fees for your journey before applying, and we always recommend that applicants use this.

Appealing UK Visitor Visa refusal

There are several available options when faced with a Visitor Visa refusal. These options are outlined below:

  • Re-apply for your visa with a new application if refused entry
  • Submit a request for an appeal (only possible on human rights grounds)
  • Apply for a judicial review

The advantages of each option is explained in this table:

Every immigration case is different, and it is recommended that you work with an immigration adviser to ensure that your case is given the appropriate attention, and all your circumstances considered.

For expert support and advice with your UK Visitor Visa refusal case, contact our specialist immigration advisers today.

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Standard Visitor Visa Category – Visa Types

The visitor visa allows foreign nationals subject to UK immigration laws to enter the country for a short period for various reasons. This is because the standard UK visit visa covers a range of visas for UK travel and various sub-categories of visas, including:

Family Visit Visa

  • Family Visit Visa – For non-EEA nationals wanting to travel to the UK for a family visit, applying for the UK family visitor visa category is necessary. As standard, this visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to six months to see family. When visiting the UK under the family visit visa, you cannot work or claim public funds while here. You also can’t bring dependents with you, meaning that if you plan on travelling with other family members, you’ll need to ensure that each family member has a valid UK family visit visa.

It’s also the case that UK family visit visas are difficult to obtain compared to other types of UK visas. For foreign nationals subject to UK immigration laws, family visas have stringent requirements and a challenging application process.

You’ll need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself throughout your stay and provide proof that you fully intend to return home at the end of your maximum six-month stay. The family visitor visa (UK) requirements are difficult to meet, but our OISC-regulated immigration lawyers can help you understand the process.

Child Visitor Visa

  • Child Visitor Visa – Any non-EEA national under the age of 18 needs to apply for a child visitor visa before travelling to the UK. This visa falls under the standard visitor visa category and is required for anyone under 18 with UK travel plans. Whether travelling to visit family or friends, as part of an exchange programme, or for education, the child visitor visa covers you for up to six months of UK travel. Visa applications for child visas need to be thorough.

Whether the child or the parent is making the application, it’s necessary to prove that the under-18 will have suitable accommodation and care during their stay. This might include proving they have sufficient funds and travel plans as part of the application. You also need to confirm that the minor has a recognised parent or guardian responsible for their care in their home country.

Business Visitor Visa

  • Business Visitor Visa – It’s important not to confuse the business visitor visa with other UK work and business visas, such as the investor visa , the skilled worker visa , or the tier 1 entrepreneur visa . The Business Visitor Visa allows you to visit the UK for up to six months, and there’s a limited list of specific business activities you can perform here.

For example, some permitted activities on a business visitor visa include:

  • attending conferences and training
  • complete academic work
  • participate in some sporting events
  • negotiate and sign deals and contracts
  • carry out inspections

However, you can’t do paid work, work for a UK company or access public funds in the UK. You’re eligible for the business visitor visa regardless of whether you work for an employer or are a self-employed person.

Student Visitor Visa

  • Student Visitor Visa —If you’re a visiting UK visa national hoping to study on a short-term basis, you’ll need to apply for a student visitor visa. The student visa allows foreign nationals to study in the UK for more than six months. It is measured on a points-based system. A short-term study visa allows you to travel to the UK to study for longer, but it must be an English language course.

Essentially, if you or the applicant plans to travel and study at a UK institution for an undergraduate degree or other long-term course, the student visitor visa won’t cover your needs.

If, however, you’re an international student planning on studying for a maximum period of six months for a short-term qualification, then this is the visa you need to apply for.

Visitor In Transit Visa

  • Visitor In Transit Visa —If you’re travelling to the UK on a ‘stopover flight,’ we recommend checking your visa requirements by visiting the UK Home Office website. Visitor visas for travellers in transit work a little differently.
  • If you’re stopping off in the UK and plan to leave the airport while waiting for your next flight, you’ll likely need a visitor-in-transit visa .

If you’re stopping in the UK for up to 48 hours before flying somewhere else, you’ll need to prove to immigration authorities both your right to stay in the UK for this time and your intention to leave. For this type of visa, UK immigration laws require you to provide travel documents and proof of your inward and onward journey plans.

This kind of travel is known as ‘transiting landside’ and falls under the UK transit visa category of the standard visitor visa. You’ll need this visa if you plan on passing through immigration control before leaving the UK within 48 hours.

When it comes to transit visas, UK immigration laws take into account a range of different factors. Your UK visa requirements can vary depending on your nationality, your airline, and the nature of your stay (whether airside or landside transit). If you arrive in the UK for transit without permission, you risk being denied entry by an immigration officer.

Get in touch with our team of UK immigration specialists to find out how we can help you and your family.

Our UK Visitor Visa Services

Advice package.

Need some help to decide how to proceed with your visa application? UK’s immigration control is strict, and understanding which visa is right for you and how to apply can be a confusing process. Here at Immigration Advice Service, our qualified and experienced immigration lawyers can provide you with the  information and advice  you need to add clarity to your decision. We’ll support you in making an informed decision about your visa and help you to better understand your immigration status.

When you choose our advice package, you’ll be invited for a one-on-one Advice Session. This can take place either via Skype, phone or in person – we have immigration law offices across the nation.  Our immigration lawyers are fully qualified and OISC-regulated , so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands when you choose IAS. During your Advice Session, your assigned immigration lawyer will listen in detail to all the different aspects of your situation. They’ll ask plenty of questions until they have a comprehensive picture of your immigration matter. Then, they’ll be in a position to offer you the advice you need.

Our immigration lawyers will help you to understand the various specific visa categories and can provide you with a path of further steps to take in your visa application. It may be that for your UK visitor visa application to be successful, you need to provide supporting documents such as travel documents, birth certificates, employment contracts, and even bank statements. Applications are often about being able to prove your intent and ability to abide by UK immigration laws. Our lawyers will advise you on which additional documents can help increase your application’s chances of success.

You’ll benefit from an untimed Advice Session that addresses all of your visa needs. Want a chance to talk in detail about your case and receive detailed information in return about how to proceed? Our advice package is the service for you:

  • Discuss your case in detail  with a qualified professional who will explore the different paths and opportunities to fulfil your visa requirements.
  • Get a clear picture of which specific visa categories are applicable to you , your eligibility requirements, and what requirements you need to meet for a successful visitor visa application.
  • Receive comprehensive advice  about the right supplementary evidence and other supporting documents you’ll need to give your application an improved chance of approval.
  • Find out what kind of time frame you can expect  moving forward.
  • Benefit from support that lasts  beyond the session itself. For a week after your consultation, your immigration lawyer will be free to answer any follow-up questions you might have. We’re here to support you – that’s why we offer this at no extra cost to you.

Application Package

Having a visa successfully approved is rarely as easy as just filling in a short online application form or even visiting a local visa application centre. Applying to the UK Home Office can be a long and complicated process. You don’t want to spend a lot of time putting together an application, only to find that you’ve been unsuccessful – especially if it could have been easily avoided. That’s why so many people end up having to seek professional advice and help when attempting to travel to the UK from a non-EEA nation.

If you want to relieve some of the burden of the extensive process that a UK visitor visa application entails, we offer a package that’s specially tailored to offer you the assistance you need. We can help you to complete and strengthen your application by making sure that you’ve got all the supporting documents and evidence that you might need. For foreign nationality citizens travelling to the UK for tourism and business, it can be easy to overlook something and find yourself refused entry.

When you choose our application package, you’ll benefit from  comprehensive assistance in completing your visitor visa application . We’ll assign you a dedicated caseworker for advice and assistance throughout the process.

You’ll benefit from a thorough consultation and further guidance regarding visa application fees, eligibility requirements, evidence collation, and more. Your caseworker will then assist you in preparing and submitting your application. They’ll support you throughout the entire process, monitoring and keeping you informed as things progress.

Our expert immigration lawyers will help to:

  • Evaluate your individual case and eligibility  before proceeding with the visa application. There are a lot of categories of the standard visitor visa – you don’t want to waste your time applying for a visa that doesn’t apply to you.
  • Put together a plan of action for a successful application . Our immigration lawyers are fully-qualified and experienced professionals – no-one is better placed to accurately identify everything you’ll need to qualify for your visa.
  • Assist you in compiling a comprehensive portfolio  of supporting documents and evidence that proves your intent and eligibility. The vast majority of unsuccessful visa applications are at fault for a lack of evidence. We’ll make your case as watertight as possible.
  • Support your application with a Letter of Representation  to the Home Office. Your dedicated caseworker will write a thorough letter that emphasises your eligibility and strengthens your application
  • Complete the paperwork . Visa applications can be complicated to put together. Fortunately, your dedicated caseworker has done all this before. They know exactly what needs to be done and will help you finish and submit all the necessary forms to the Home Office.

Fast Track Package

You might be applying for a UK visitor visa for a number of different reasons. You may be travelling to the UK to attend a family wedding, a graduation ceremony, an important business conference, a private medical appointment, or something else that you can’t afford to miss. The fact is that visa applications can sometimes take a long time to put together and submit,  only for you to have to wait even longer for a decision after the visa processing time . Here at the Immigration Advice Service, we understand that you might not have that time to spare.

That’s why our immigration lawyers are here to help you get your application submitted and approved as quickly as possible. If you can’t afford to spend months waiting for your visa because of a deadline or important fixed appointment in the UK, you might be understandably anxious about getting things done as quickly as possible.  That’s what our premium fast track application package service is for  – we’ll work tirelessly to make sure urgent applications get over the line so that you can have one less thing to worry about. We’re here to help you meet your deadline.

Using our fast track application package means you can rest easy knowing that your visa application is at the top of our immigration lawyers’ priorities.  We have a fantastic track record of processing and pushing through applications  – sometimes in as little as 24 hours when people use the service. Visa processing time can be lengthy, but we’ll make sure that you get fast and effective service. We’ll get any general visitor visa UK applications submitted in as few working days as possible.

When you choose our fast track package, we’ll work to get things moving for you as quickly as possible. One of our expert immigration lawyers will get in touch and arrange a one-on-one advice session as soon as is convenient to you. We’ll also help to:

  • Put together your application as fast as possible . We’ll make sure that your application is as thorough and complete as it can be before being submitted. All of your supporting documents will be checked and compiled quickly and efficiently.
  • Book one of the Home Office’s Same-Day Premium Service slots . Our fast track package means that we’ll go above and beyond to get your application submitted and checked. Booking a Same-Day Premium slot with the Home Office ensures that you’ll get a decision on your visa in fewer working days than normal.
  • Assist you in the completion of your visa application . Doing things quickly doesn’t mean we’re going to compromise on quality. The fact is that it doesn’t matter how fast you put together and submit your UK visitor visa application if it’s not going to get approved. If you’re applying for a UK visitor visa because you need to travel to the UK from a non-EEA country for something important and time-sensitive, the last thing you need is for your visa to be denied. We’ll make sure your application meets the highest standards.
  • Write a Letter of Representation to support your case  and boost your application’s chances of success. Our immigration lawyers are experts with plenty of experience under their belt. They know exactly how to write a supporting letter that emphasises the merits of urgent applications to the Home Office.

Appeal Package

As frustrating as it may be, the fact is that rejections for UK general visitor visas are very common. UK immigration laws are strict and getting stricter, and the Home Office will often deny travel to the UK for weak applications that lack the right supporting documents and evidence.  UK visitor visa applications require a lot of evidence , and it’s easy to slip up and leave important information either absent or incorrect. However, if you’re intending on travelling to the UK either for business, leisure, or anything else, the Immigration Advice Service team can help you to appeal a visa rejection.

The key to successfully appealing a denied visitor visa application is to act quickly. When the Home Office sends you your refusal letter, it will state your eligibility for appeal and advise you on the required timeframe. If you subsequently choose to appeal and want the best chance of success possible, you’ll need to work in this timeframe and be able to comprehensively amend your application to meet the standards necessary. Fortunately, our immigration lawyers are well experienced in dealing with appeals.

When you choose to appeal your rejected visa application with the Immigration Advice Service, our dedicated experts can draw from a wealth of experience, insight, and knowledge to assess what may have been the reason for your denial of an entry visa. Then,  they’ll set about resolving any issues, help you to strengthen your case and assist with your appeal . Our appeal package allows you to benefit from the support of our experts in UK immigration laws. There’s the possibility that may have to go to a hearing or tribunal – we know that this can be intimidating and overwhelming, which is why our lawyers will offer to represent you and your case if necessary.

Receiving a visa refusal letter from the Home Office doesn’t necessarily mean the end of your hopes for travel to the UK. Visa appeals are commonplace and our immigration lawyers have a fantastic track record of successfully reversing visa decisions – they’ll offer you thorough guidance throughout the appeal process. With our appeal package, we’ll help to:

  • Investigate and assess your visit UK visa refusal . In most cases, visa applications for short term stay in the UK are denied because of a lack of supporting documents or mistakes in the paperwork. Our immigration lawyers will go through the reasons for your refusal and evaluate the potential for appeal.
  • Support and improve your case . When going to appeal, it’s important that you’ve got all possible supporting evidence ready and available alongside you. We can help boost your chances of appeal success by assisting you in putting together a supporting portfolio.
  • Complete your appeal application . When going for a visa rejection appeal, you need to make sure that you avoid any careless mistakes. The IAS lawyers have a lot of experience with appeals and they’ll help you to put together everything you need to submit your appeal.
  • Maintain communication with the Home Office . Visa appeals need to run to a strict time frame so it’s important to keep on top of things. We’ll liaise with the Home Office from the moment your appeal begins until it ends. No stone will be left unturned and no opportunities will be missed.
  • Represent you in person whenever necessary . Sometimes, visa appeals can go the distance. If you need to attend a hearing or a tribunal over your appeal, our expert immigration lawyers will be there to represent you should you wish it. We understand that these events can be a lot to take on – that’s why we’re happy to take on this burden for you.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

Table of Contents

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m studying in the uk – who can visit me with a standard uk visitor visa.

For international students choosing to study abroad in the UK, the question of who can travel under a visit visa to UK areas often comes up. Whether it’s for parents attending a graduation, friends and family members visiting for a short holiday, or something else, it’s important to understand who can visit you and which visa rules apply.

Study visa rules can vary so it’s a good idea to get a handle on how your own current visa affects the situation. If you’ve travelled from outside the European Union and the EEA, there’s a good chance that your visitor will have to apply for the standard UK visitor visa. International students from the United States, South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, and other non-EEA regions may have individual circumstances when trying to set up visiting arrangements, so we always recommend using professional advice if you’re unsure about the application. However, there are a few important distinctions you can make straight away:

If You’re : Travelling On A Student Visitor Visa

If you have chosen to study abroad in the UK on a student visa, falling under the standard visitor visa category, you may be wondering who can and cannot visit you while you’re studying for the six-month period of your stay. Both family and friends can, in fact, visit you during your undergraduate degree or postgraduate qualification. However, they are likely to require a visa and will need to submit a visa application.

If You’re : Travelling On A Student Visa

If you’re studying abroad in the UK on a student visa for a period over six months, you’re able to bring a partner or child with you to the UK during your stay. This visa allows you to stay for the duration of your degree or qualification, and this extends to your child or partner. However, other family and friends will still have to apply for a UK visitor visa to travel to the UK.

If you are an international student in the UK and you’re not sure whether your family and friends will need a visa to visit you, the gov.uk website has an interactive tool that you can use to check eligibility.

If one of your visitors is under the age of 18, you will need to submit a more specific visa application. The child visitor visa is needed for any under-18 non-EEA national visiting the UK.

Your visitor will essentially be applying for a UK tourism visa and will, therefore, need to be able to prove several things in order to qualify for the visitor visa while you’re studying in the UK:

  • Your visitor will need to prove that they intend to return to their home country.
  • Your visitor will need to prove that they won’t stay in the UK for longer than 6 months.
  • They can’t have obtained a visitor visa in the last 12 months.
  • They have to prove adequate funds for living expenses and living costs during their stay.
  • They aren’t allowed to work, conduct any business, or study during their stay in the UK.

When putting together a visa application for a visitor, you’ll need to supply several letters with your application. It’s important for the applicant to provide as much information as possible, part of which includes:

  • A letter from you – In order for someone to visit you in the UK while studying abroad, they need to be able to show that you have officially invited them. An invitation letter from you provides proof of the reason for their visit and will make you their official ‘sponsor’ throughout their stay. An invitation to visit UK-based students is important in proving eligibility in your application for a sponsored visitor visa.
  • A letter from the applicant – The letter from your visitor needs to be comprehensive, detailing and explaining as much as possible. It should cover who they are, the reason for their visit, what their relationship to you is, your current UK status, what they’ll be doing while in the UK, and more.
  • A status letter from your university – You’ll also need to acquire an enrolment status letter to add to your visitor’s visa application. This letter will be provided by your university and will confirm your education status and the details of your course and study.

Which Countries Need A Visa To Visit UK Territories?

If you’re planning on travelling to the UK and you aren’t a British citizen or an EU or EEA citizen, the likelihood is that you will need a visitor visa. UK law means that you’ll need to acquire one before travelling here, and immigration laws are quite tough in the UK so it’s important to make sure that you’ve got all the necessary travel documents. Otherwise, you might be denied entry by the immigration authorities when you get here. We always recommend using the Home Office website to check whether you need a visa to visit the UK.

The gov.uk website has a fantastic online interactive tool that you can use to check your visa requirements before travelling. The tool asks you a number of questions, including where you’re travelling from, and then offers a number of potential solutions.

European Single Market Visitors

Members of the European single market do not currently require permission to enter the UK for tourism, work or travel. This includes the 28 countries of the European Union (EU), and additional European Economic Area (EEA) members such as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Switzerland, while neither an EU or EEA member, is still part of the European single market and therefore benefits from the same right to live and work in the UK as other single market members.

Foreign nationals from EU nations, EEA nationals and Switzerland can visit the UK for a short term stay such as holidays and business events without needing to apply for the UK visitor visa.

The Visa Waiver Programme

Most foreign nationals visiting the UK from a non-EEA country will need to apply for a visa before travelling, but there are exceptions to this. One of these is the visa waiver scheme. Rather than apply for permission to enter the UK, nationals from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait can instead opt to get an electronic visa waiver (EVW), which allows you a short term stay in the UK (no longer than six months) so long as you are travelling for tourism, business, medical reasons or for study.

The visa waiver programme allows nationals from these four countries to opt-out of visa applications in favour of paying a premium and receiving permission to enter the UK. To apply, you’ll need:

  • Your current passport number and details.
  • Information about your resident status in the UK, including details such as the UK address and postal code you’ll be staying at and contact details while you’re here.
  • Detailed travel plans and travel documents such as flight information, including departure and arrival dates and times.

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Long Term Visitor Visa

Anne morris.

  • 24 March 2024

long term visitor visa

IN THIS SECTION

If you are looking to visit the UK on multiple occasions over a number of years, you may want to apply for a UK long term visitor visa. Whilst this will not allow you to stay in the UK for more than 6 months at any one time, it will enable you to enjoy frequent visits over the course of several years, without having to re-apply for a visa each time you want to take another trip.

In this guide to the UK’s long term visitor visa, we look at the visa requirements and application process, as well as what is permitted – and not permitted – under this visa route.

What is the long term visitor visa UK?

The long term visitor visa is the permission given by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), the division of the Home Office responsible for the UK’s visa system, to be able to visit the UK for a prescribed period of time. This could be, for example, for the purposes of tourism and leisure, such as visiting friends and family, or taking regular holidays. It could also be to carry out a range of different business activities , such as attending meetings or conferences.

If you are a visa national , ie; a citizen of a country that does not qualify for visa-free travel to the UK, you will need to obtain a visitor visa in advance to obtain entry clearance before arriving at a UK port-of-entry. Even if you are a non-visa national, it can often be advisable to obtain a long term visa for multiple visits . Whilst this will not necessarily guarantee entry to the UK on each occasion, as you must still persuade border officials that you are a genuine visitor and the reason for each visit, it can help to ensure a smoother process.

What does the long term visitor visa allow?

The rules relating to visitor visas are set out under ‘Appendix V: Visitor’ of the UK’s Immigration Rules, including how long this visa will last. In most cases, you will not be permitted to stay in the UK for more than a maximum of 6 months.

However, where you are looking to visit the UK a number of times, for example, for the purposes of visiting friends and family, or taking several different business trips, you may be able to apply for a visitor visa with a validity period of either 2, 5 or 10 years. This means that you will be able to visit the UK multiple times, although each stay must not exceed the maximum length of stay endorsed on your visa, in most cases, a period of 6 months.

The UK long term visitor visa can therefore be ideal, for example, for parents whose adult children have settled in the UK, where they would like to regularly visit their children and grandchildren. It can also be well-suited to those who need to visit the UK regularly for the purposes of business meetings or attending conferences over the course of time.

Other activities permitted under the long term visitor route, as set out under ‘Appendix Visitor: Permitted Activities’ of the Immigration Rules, include doing some volunteer work for a registered charity for a period of up to 30 days, provided this is not the main reason for your visit to the UK. It can also include undertaking a short course of recreational study, again for up to 30 days and as long as this is incidental to the main reason for any UK trip.

What are you not allowed to do under a long term visitor visa UK?

When applying for a long term visitor visa, UKVI will always carefully consider the reason for wanting a visa over a prolonged period of time. The UKVI caseworker dealing with your application must be satisfied that you will leave the UK at the end of each trip. They must also be satisfied that you do not intend to use your visa to live in the UK for extended periods through either frequent or successive visits, or to make the UK your main home.

Equally, the long term visitor visa is not designed for those looking to undertake paid employment in the UK. If you are planning to work, look for work or start your own business, you will instead need to apply for a visa under one of the various work routes .

Importantly, as you will not be allowed to work whilst in the UK on a long term visitor visa, you must have sufficient funds to support yourself throughout your stay. This is because you will not be granted access to public funds, even though you cannot legally get a job.

UK long term visitor visa requirements

The eligibility requirements for visitor visas are again set out under Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. To be eligible for any subcategory of visitor visa, you must show that:

  • you are genuinely seeking to visit the UK for a purpose permitted under the visitor rules
  • you are able to support yourself for the entire duration of each stay
  • you are able to pay for reasonable costs relating to each UK visit, without undertaking paid work or accessing public funds, and can cover each return or onward journey
  • you will not undertake any prohibited activities
  • you will leave the UK at the end of each visit
  • you will not seek to reside in the UK for extended periods of time through either frequent or successive visits, nor will you make the UK your main home.

When it comes to long term visitor visas, and the risk that this can be used to live in the UK for extended periods of time, you will need to persuade UKVI that you have stable finances, as well as strong ties to your home country. Essentially, UKVI must be satisfied that you are a genuine visitor, with good reason to regularly visit the UK over either 2, 5 or 10 years.

How to apply for a long term visitor visa UK

To make an application for a long term visitor visa, you must apply online from outside the UK using the GOV.UK website on form ‘Apply for a UK visit visa’. You must pay the relevant fee, submit your biometric information at an overseas visa application centre, where required, and provide proof of your identity and nationality. You will also need to provide various documents in support, depending on the reason for your multiple visits.

The earliest you can apply for a long term visitor visa is 3 months before you travel to the UK, and you should get a decision from UKVI within 3 weeks of attending a visa application centre. However, it is currently taking up to 5 weeks for decisions to be made.

Long term visitor visa supporting documents

The type of documents you will need to support your application for a long term visitor visa will depend on the reason for your visits to the UK. However, in all cases, you will need to satisfy UKVI that your intentions are genuine and you intend to return home after each trip. This means that you will need to provide a passport or other valid travel ID, together with additional documentation to prove the purpose of your proposed trips to the UK.

Additionally, you must show that you have enough money to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visits, and that any funds you rely upon are held in a regulated financial institution in relation to which the UKVI caseworker is able to make satisfactory verification checks as permitted under Appendix Finance of the Immigration Rules. For long term visitor visa applications, UKVI are looking for those with a stable income or sufficient wealth.

Importantly, as being granted a long term visitor visa does not guarantee entry to the UK, on your arrival at a port-of-entry you must also be in possession of sufficient documentation to persuade border officials that you are a genuine visitor, and that you are able to support yourself without undertaking work or accessing public funds during your stay.

How much is a long term visitor visa UK?

The cost of your visa will depend on how long you apply for. To apply for a standard single or multiple-entry visa lasting up to 6 months, the cost is £100. For a 2-year long term visitor visa the cost is £432 from 10 April 2024; for a 5-year long term visitor visa the cost is £670; and for a 10-year long term visitor visa the cost is £837. However, if you would like to expedite the time taken for UKVI to make a decision, there will be an additional fee for premium processing.

You may be able to get a decision from UKVI within as little as 5 working days using the priority service, at an additional cost of £250, or even by the end of the next working day using the super priority service, at a cost of £956. You will need to check with the visa centre at which you are making your application to see if these services are available.

If UKVI believe that you cannot meet all of the eligibility requirements for the duration of the visa applied for, you may be granted a shorter visa than that requested. If you are granted a shorter visa, you will not receive a partial refund of the application fee. Equally, if your application is refused, you will again not be entitled to a refund. Importantly, paying for one of the priority services does not guarantee a favourable outcome to your application for a long term visitor visa, nor the grant of a long term visa for the intended duration.

What happens if your long term visitor visa application is refused?

There are various reasons as to why your application may be refused. This could be because you fail to satisfy UKVI that you meet all of the requirements as a long term visitor for your intended purpose. UKVI must also be satisfied that you are a genuine visitor and that you intend to leave the UK after each trip. For example, if you are not able to show that you have stable finances and strong ties to your home country, an adverse inference may be drawn that you intend to work in the UK. Equally, if it is clear from any previous travel history that you are planning to make the UK your home, your application will be refused.

Additionally, you could fall for refusal under ‘Part 9: grounds for refusal’ of the Immigration Rules. In some cases, your application could be refused on mandatory grounds, whilst in others, this will be at the discretion of the UKVI caseworker deciding your application. For example, if you have been to prison for a criminal offence in the UK or overseas, where your sentence was for 12 months or more, your visa application ‘must’ be refused. In contrast, if you have been convicted of an offence for which you received a prison sentence of less than 12 months, or a non-custodial sentence, your application ‘may’ be refused.

If your application for a long term visitor visa is refused by UKVI, you will not be permitted to travel to the UK. In these circumstances, you should seek expert legal advice from an immigration specialist with a view to submitting a fresh application. It can be tricky to make a successful application following a refusal, but with a detailed explanation and proper evidence in support to address the reasons given for the refusal, it is possible.

Importantly, even if you are granted a long term visitor visa, this cannot be used as a means of living in the UK by spending 6 months, leaving and immediately returning, as this will breach the rule not to live in the UK for extended periods. Several long stays which reach the 6-month limit each time may arouse suspicion that your intentions are not genuine. In these circumstances, you may be refused entry. You also run the risk that your visitor visa will be cancelled altogether, presenting very real difficulties in applying for a new one.

Need assistance?

Travellers to the UK should note that even with a valid visitor visa in place, you may still be questioned at the UK border by immigration officials, to verify that you are a genuine visitor and will comply with the visitor visa rules. Where officials are concerned that you may stay longer than your visa date, or if your activities are prohibited under the visitor rules, you may be denied entry. For specialist UK visa and immigration advice , contact us.

Long term visitor visa FAQs

How do i get a uk long term tourist visa.

To make an application for a long term tourist visa, you must apply online from outside the UK. You must also pay the relevant fee, submit your biometric information, where required, and provide proof of your identity and nationality.

How much is a long term standard visitor visa UK?

For a 2-year long term standard visitor visa the cost is £432 from 10 April 2024; for a 5-year long term visitor visa the cost is £670; and for a 10-year visa the cost is £837.

How long visitor visa can stay in UK?

A standard visitor visa is typically for 6 months, although you can apply for a visa with a validity period of either 2, 5 or 10 years for regular visits of up to 6 months each time.

How much is a 2 year visitor visa UK?

The cost of applying for a 2 year long term visitor visa is £432 from 10 April 2024, although you can pay an additional fee to expedite the time it takes to get a decision.

Last updated: 24 March 2024

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Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator , and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

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About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility .

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners , we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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Travel demand to UK soars after ETA scheme for UAE nationals, stable airfares, and fast visa processing

Business aviation.

Airfares at Dh2,800 to Dh3,300 and easy visa processing attract more travellers to UK

STOCK UK travel

Dubai: UAE travel companies are seeing a significant rise in holiday bookings to the UK this summer, with agents reporting demand as ‘higher than usual.’

The UK remains a top destination for UAE travellers, a trend that has persisted for several years. However, this summer’s increased interest is attributed to several factors, including stable airfares ranging between Dh2,800 and Dh3,300 for direct flights (which is only a marginal increase compared to off-peak rates of Dh2,200 to Dh3,000).

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Moreover, streamlined visa processing procedures and the new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system for UAE nationals are also drawing UAE travellers to the UK. Travel agents have said these improvements have made travelling to the UK more convenient and affordable, further boosting its popularity among UAE vacationers.

“London remains the top hotspot in 2024, experiencing a 35 per cent increase in searches compared to last year,” said Melanie Fish, Head of Expedia Group Brands public relations.

She added, “July is poised to be the peak travel month, with the busiest travel days being July 11 and 19.” However, according to Melanie, for travellers who are unable to plan their holidays in advance, travelling on August 27 or 30 could be the best deal, as air ticket rates are lower these days.

Visitor numbers

Travellers from the UAE made 4.3 million outbound visits in 2023, with a total international tourism expenditure of $25.1 billion. According to Travel Britain, the official body for tourism in the UAE, the UK welcomed 477,000 visits from the UAE in 2023. Britain experienced a 26 per cent increase in visits from the UAE in 2023 compared to the previous year.

VisitBritain’s latest forecast estimates 543,000 visits from the UAE to the UK this year, up 15 per cent in 2023. “This also means a virtually full recovery of visits from the UAE to the UK to 2019 volume (98 per cent) and visitor spending 28 per cent higher than pre-pandemic,” said Carol Maddison, Deputy Director of Middle East and Asia at VisitBritain.

Stock Heathrow International Airport

UK tourism faced challenges over the past four years due to the pandemic and industrial strikes by Border Force workers at Heathrow International Airport, which continued until last month—however, expectations for even higher numbers of visitors from the UAE this year.

Carol said, “Visiting the UK is easier than ever for UAE nationals with the roll-out of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) Scheme, making travel more affordable, accessible and seamless for them.”

She added, “Combined with our strong airline connections, the scheme is boosting our competitive tourism offer and our welcome to visitors.”

Carol also said that VisitBritain has been competing hard in the Gulf with its Great Britain campaigns this year, inspiring more visitors to choose Britain for their next trip and working with partners, including Wego, to drive bookings. “We’re also working with the travel trade across the region to showcase Britain’s latest tourism products and experiences,” she said.

Higher visitor spends

The UAE ranks in the top ten for annual visitor spending worth a record £914 million (D4.2 billion) and in the top 20 for inbound yearly visits.

According to Visit Britain, the average spend is £1,918 (Dh8,870) per visit. This year, visitors are expected to spend an estimated £1.1 billion (Dh5.05 billion) on their trips, up 28 per cent from last year. Most visitors from the UAE are aged between 25 and 54 (77 per cent in 2023), and 76 per cent of all holiday visitors from the UAE (excluding British expats) are making a repeat visit to Britain within ten years.

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In 2023, 37 per cent of UAE visitors were British nationals, while 31 per cent were Emiratis. According to official statistics from Visit Britain, 81 per cent of departing UAE visitors (excluding British expats) say they are ‘extremely likely’ to recommend Britain for a visit, on par with the all-market average of 82 per cent.

Airlines boost capacities minimal disruptions are expected

A total of 202 flights operate from the UK to the UAE every week, offering 87,247 seats, according to recent date. Both regional carriers (Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and Saudia) and Britain’s national carrier, British Airways, have boosted capacities between the UAE, GCC nations, and the UK. Emirates offers the highest number of seats (62,754), followed by Etihad Airways (17,340). Sixty-three per cent of these flights are operated to London.

STOCK Heathrow International Airport

Earlier this year, British Airways resumed its services between London and Abu Dhabi after a four-year hiatus and has bolstered its operations in the UAE.

However, some disruptions are expected this summer at the UK’s many airports. According to a study, 2.06 per cent of scheduled flights 2023 were cancelled at Heathrow Airport. One of the world’s busiest hubs, the airport reported 450,165 planned flights, 9,466 of which did not go ahead. 33.14 per cent of flights from Heathrow arrived up to 15 minutes late to their destination, while 15.06 per cent of flights landed 16 to 30 minutes late.

Ease in visa procedures

According to applicants and travel agents, obtaining a UK visa from the UAE is relatively simpler than Europe’s Schengen visa procedures.

Monaz Billimoria, Deputy Regional Head, UAE at VFS Global, the agency managing the visa application process, noted that the surge in demand for UK visas had led the company to establish temporary pop-up centres across the country. “The UK remains a top-rated and increasingly sought-after destination, and we have observed a significant rise in applications,” Monaz said.

The temporary premium application centres have been set up in Dubai, Ajman, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain. Visa processing times are approximately 15 days after submitting biometrics, with most applicants receiving their visas within this timeframe.

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Mass IT outage: here's a list of companies and operations affected

  • A huge global IT outage is disrupting flights, banks, retailers, and media outlets.
  • The widespread disruptions have been linked to an issue with the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.
  • Operations affected include airlines in the US and Europe, supermarkets, and some 911 lines.

Insider Today

A mass IT outage has hit flights, banks, retailers, and media outlets around the world.

The issues appear to be linked to the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike .

Microsoft also acknowledged the issue in an X update early Friday, writing, "Our services are still seeing continuous improvements while we continue to take mitigation actions."

Here are some of the companies and operations affected.

Numerous airlines grounded flights early Friday morning, including the big three US carriers: United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines. In statements, they all cited technology issues.

Delta and American had both canceled their ground stops by 7 a.m. ET.

A United spokesperson told Business Insider that it was holding all aircraft at their departure airports while it works to restore systems. "Flights already airborne are continuing to their destinations," they added.

American has blamed the issues on CrowdStrike, saying they were because of a "technical issue with Crowdstrike that is impacting multiple carriers," according to BBC News.

The budget airlines Frontier, Allegiant, and Spirit also issued ground stops which were later canceled.

Frontier's was issued on Thursday night. "Flight operations are currently being impacted by a major Microsoft technical outage," it said in a statement.

Spirit said it was unable to rebook affected customers because of the outage.

Disruption also extended to Europe. The continent's largest airline, Ryanair, advised passengers to arrive early as the outage caused "disruption across the network."

KLM also said it had to "largely suspend operations" as the outage made "flight handling impossible."

British Airways, Wizz Air, Turkish Airlines, Eurowings, Lufthansa, and Qantas were also among those who said they were affected.

According to a Facebook post from Alaska State Troopers , emergency lines in the state are also affected.

The post said: "Due to a nationwide technology-related outage, many 911 and non-emergency call centers are not working correctly across the State of Alaska."

"We appreciate your patience and will update you when we know more," the statement added.

The major UK airports Heathrow, Gatwick, and Luton have reported issues, with some warning of delays and disruption.

Related stories

An X post from Gatwick Express , a train service for the airport, said the company was unable to access driver diagrams at certain locations, "leading to potential short-notice cancelations, particularly on the Thameslink and Great Northern networks."

A spokesperson for Belfast International Airport confirmed to BI that whiteboards were being used to handwrite flight information before systems were later restored. Whiteboards were also used at Singapore Changi Airport.

Hospitals and doctors' surgeries

Several hospitals and doctors' practices appear to have been affected by the outage.

In the UK, the NHS' EMIS system, which doctors use to book appointments, view patient notes, order prescriptions, and make referrals, appears to be having issues .

A spokesperson for the NHS told BI in a statement: "The NHS is aware of a global IT outage and an issue with EMIS, an appointment and patient record system, which is causing disruption in the majority of GP practices."

They said that long-standing measures were in place to manage disruption and that there was no known impact on 999 or emergency services, so people should use these services as normal.

"Patients should attend appointments unless told otherwise and only contact their GP if it's urgent, and otherwise please use 111 online or call 111," they added.

Two German hospitals canceled elective operations scheduled for Friday, Reuters reported.

NYCT Subway

Commuters in New York City and DC may also face delays Friday morning.

In an X post, the NYCT subway said: "Train arrival information is unavailable for A/B/C/D/E/F/G/J/M/N/Q/R/Z/Rockaway Park Shuttle/Franklin Av Shuttle due to a worldwide technical outage. Train service is unaffected."

The post said the tech outage also impacted Subway officials' ability to see train locations.

Broadcasters

Sky News also appears to have been hit by the outage. The UK news channel has been showing archive footage and briefly displaying an error message.

The news site appears to be up and running at the time of writing.

London Stock Exchange

The London Stock Exchange's website was also experiencing issues.

"RNS news service is currently experiencing a third-party global technical issue, preventing news from being published on www.londonstockexchange.com ," the company said in a statement.

"Technical teams are working to restore the service. Other services across the group, including London Stock Exchange, continue to operate as normal," it continued.

Retailers and fast-food giants

Bloomberg reported that McDonald's Japan suspended about a third of its stores in the country on Friday. The issue was with the stores' cash registers, the report said.

The grocery-store chain Woolworths told BI that some stores had "been impacted as a result of the global IT issue." All but six stores were open for business, but some had fewer functioning checkouts.

Delivery delays

FedEx and UPS are warning of delivery delays because of the outage.

In a statement on the company's website , FedEx said it was experiencing "substantial disruptions throughout our networks due to a global IT outage experienced by a third-party software vendor." The company said parcels due to be delivered on Friday might face delays.

A UPS spokesperson told BI that it continues to operate effectively but there may be some service delays due to third-party outage "impacting some UPS computer systems in the U.S. and Europe."

Some US state driver services are down

Drivers in some states are unable to access services because of the outage.

Georgia's Department of Driver Services posted on X that "due to the global Microsoft/Crowdstrike outage, DDS services are unavailable at this time."

Tennessee's Department of Safety and Homeland Security said some Driver Services Centers may not be able to process transactions, according to a post on X.

North Carolina's Department of Motor Vehicles driver license and plate agencies are also impacted and unable to assist customers, according to a CNN report.

Bloomberg reported that at the Ocean Park Marriott in Hong Kong, staff were using pen and paper to check guests in and said the outage was affecting their systems globally.

Marriott International later told CNN in a statement that "certain hotel systems" have been affected.

"We are actively working with our vendors to resolve issues that have impacted certain hotel systems," the company said in a statement to the publication. "We apologize for any inconvenience that guests may experience."

Watch: Global computer glitch grounds flights, knocks out 911

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Belarus broadens visa-free travel for 35 European countries

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FILE - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council of the Eurasian Economic Union at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on May 8, 2024. Dozens of Nobel Prize laureates are calling in an open letter on Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to free all the country’s political prisoners, following the release this month of 18 who are seriously ill. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP, File)

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TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Belarusian authorities on Wednesday expanded visa-free travel for residents of 35 European countries, including members of the European Union and the United Kingdom, as part of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko’ s efforts to improve relations with the West.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said Lukashenko has approved temporary visa-free travel for citizens of European nations arriving by rail or road, describing the move as a reflection of the country’s “openness and peacefulness.”

The new rules, which become effective Friday and last until the end of the year, allow European travelers to stay in Belarus for 30 days without visas. They broaden the existing visa-free regime for residents of European countries arriving by plane.

Lukashenko, who marks 30 years in power on Saturday, has ruled the ex-Soviet country of 9.5 million with an iron fist, relentlessly suppressing dissent and winning the nickname of “Europe’s last dictator” in the West. His isolation deepened after a brutal crackdown on protests that followed his re-election in an August 2020 presidential vote that the opposition saw as a sham.

More than 35,000 people have been arrested and thousands were beaten in police custody, triggering the EU and the U.S. sanctions that badly hurt Belarus’ Soviet-style economy.

Image

Valery Karbalevich, an independent political analyst, said the Belarusian authorities’ decision to expand visa-free travel for Europeans reflected an attempt by Lukashenko to reach out to the West as he prepares to seek a seventh five-year term in next year’s election.

“Lukashenko is trying to return to his policies of balancing between the West and Russia because he doesn’t want to hold the 2025 election in a ‘besieged fortress’ and wants the West to recognize its result,” Karbalevich said.

Lukashenko has survived the protests thanks to political and economic support from his main sponsor and ally, Russia, but in an apparent attempt to reduce his dependence on Moscow he recently signaled a desire to mend ties with the West.

Earlier this month, the Belarusian leader promised to release prisoners who were detained amid the post-election protests and are now seriously ill. So far 18 political prisoners have been released, including Ryhor Kastusiou , an opposition party leader who is suffering from a severe form of cancer.

Some were freed under an amnesty while others were pardoned. Those who were pardoned had to publicly admit their guilt.

Belarus’ Viasna human rights group counts about 1,400 political prisoners in the country, including its founder, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski . Of those, more than 200 people are seriously ill and require medical care, Viasna said.

The United States and the European Union have welcomed the release of some political prisoners but called on Belarus to free all those jailed during the 2020 protests.

Image

Belarus broadens visa-free travel for 35 European countries

Belarusian authorities have expanded visa-free travel for residents of 35 European countries, including members of the European Union and the United Kingdom, as part of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko’s efforts to improve relations with the West

TALLINN, Estonia — Belarusian authorities on Wednesday expanded visa-free travel for residents of 35 European countries, including members of the European Union and the United Kingdom, as part of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko' s efforts to improve relations with the West.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said Lukashenko has approved temporary visa-free travel for citizens of European nations arriving by rail or road, describing the move as a reflection of the country’s “openness and peacefulness.”

The new rules, which become effective Friday and last until the end of the year, allow European travelers to stay in Belarus for 30 days without visas. They broaden the existing visa-free regime for residents of European countries arriving by plane.

Lukashenko, who marks 30 years in power on Saturday, has ruled the ex-Soviet country of 9.5 million with an iron fist, relentlessly suppressing dissent and winning the nickname of “Europe’s last dictator” in the West. His isolation deepened after a brutal crackdown on protests that followed his re-election in an August 2020 presidential vote that the opposition saw as a sham.

More than 35,000 people have been arrested and thousands were beaten in police custody, triggering the EU and the U.S. sanctions that badly hurt Belarus’ Soviet-style economy.

Valery Karbalevich, an independent political analyst, said the Belarusian authorities’ decision to expand visa-free travel for Europeans reflected an attempt by Lukashenko to reach out to the West as he prepares to seek a seventh five-year term in next year’s election.

“Lukashenko is trying to return to his policies of balancing between the West and Russia because he doesn’t want to hold the 2025 election in a ‘besieged fortress’ and wants the West to recognize its result,” Karbalevich said.

Lukashenko has survived the protests thanks to political and economic support from his main sponsor and ally, Russia, but in an apparent attempt to reduce his dependence on Moscow he recently signaled a desire to mend ties with the West.

Earlier this month, the Belarusian leader promised to release prisoners who were detained amid the post-election protests and are now seriously ill. So far 18 political prisoners have been released, including Ryhor Kastusiou , an opposition party leader who is suffering from a severe form of cancer.

Some were freed under an amnesty while others were pardoned. Those who were pardoned had to publicly admit their guilt.

Belarus’ Viasna human rights group counts about 1,400 political prisoners in the country, including its founder, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski . Of those, more than 200 people are seriously ill and require medical care, Viasna said.

The United States and the European Union have welcomed the release of some political prisoners but called on Belarus to free all those jailed during the 2020 protests.

tourist visa britain

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Alien: Romulus

Aileen Wu in Alien: Romulus (2024)

While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe. While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe. While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe.

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    If you are an EU/EEA national, you can use the EU/EEA channel to get your documents checked. You only need your ID or passport. Adults must accompany children from the age of 17 and under. Non- EU/EEA nationals need the following documents when they show at the UK port of entry: Valid Passport. Visa (if applicable).

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  24. What is CrowdStrike, the company linked to the global outage?

    The global computer outage affecting airports, banks and other businesses on Friday appears to stem at least partly from a software update issued by major US cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike ...

  25. Mass IT Outage: List of Companies and Operations Affected

    Hospitals and doctors' surgeries. Several hospitals and doctors' practices appear to have been affected by the outage. In the UK, the NHS' EMIS system, which doctors use to book appointments, view ...

  26. Belarus broadens visa-free travel for 35 European countries

    TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Belarusian authorities on Wednesday expanded visa-free travel for residents of 35 European countries, including members of the European Union and the United Kingdom, as part of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko' s efforts to improve relations with the West.. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said Lukashenko has approved temporary visa-free travel for ...

  27. Belarus broadens visa-free travel for 35 European countries

    TALLINN, Estonia — Belarusian authorities on Wednesday expanded visa-free travel for residents of 35 European countries, including members of the European Union and the United Kingdom, as part ...

  28. Visas and immigration

    Check if you need a UK visa, how to apply, sign in, manage your application, biometric residence permits (BRPs), share codes. Visit the UK. Visit for tourism, business or a short stay (up to 6 ...

  29. UK Visas and Immigration

    UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is responsible for making millions of decisions every year about who has the right to visit or stay in the country, with a firm emphasis on national security and a ...

  30. Alien: Romulus (2024)

    Alien: Romulus: Directed by Fede Alvarez. With Isabela Merced, Cailee Spaeny, Archie Renaux, David Jonsson. While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe.