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UK Standard Visitor Visa

A Standard Visitor Visa to the UK for a short-term visit, medical treatment, business or tourism purposes

What is UK Standard Visitor Visa?

A UK Standard Visitor Visa has replaced several short-term visa categories: Business Visitor visa, Prospective Entrepreneur visa, Family Visitor visa, Child Visitor visa, Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa, Entertainer Visitor visa and Sports Visitor visa.

And this is precisely why the new visa is great: it covers a wide range of purposes previously spread out among separate categories.

Who needs UK Visitor Visa?

UK Standard Visitor Visa combines many UK short-term visas, including a UK visitor visa for tourists, the most common one, which is why the two are often used interchangeably. You can apply for a UK Standard Visitor Visa if:

  1. You go to the UK for tourism, for example, during annual leave or Christmas holidays.
  2. You are visiting your friends or relatives living in the UK.
  3. You are volunteering with a registered charity for up to 30 days.
  4. You are passing through the UK on the way to another country (‘in transit’).
  5. You have a medical condition that needs private treatment in the UK, or you are donating an organ.
  6. You are attending a conference or a business meeting or getting training.
  7. You are visiting a sport event, for example, a football game or a boxing match.
  8. You are coming to the UK as an entertainer, artist or musician to give a concert, perform a play or hold an exhibition.
  9. You are doing research or accompanying students on a study-abroad programme.
  10.  You are coming to the UK as a doctor or a dentist to act as a medical representative or an observer.
  11.  You are taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sitting the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which are British qualifications to obtain medical practice.
  12.  You want to get married in the UK and you have no intention to stay or settle in the country (you will need to apply for a special type of the UK Visitor Visa – Marriage Visitor visa).

UK Standard Visitor visa is a good option for you if you are coming to the country on a short-term visit for holidays, business development, to participate in a conference or to receive medical treatment. Experts at Imperial & Legal will help you get a UK visa as a tourist or in any other capacity.

Eligibility requirements for UK Standard Visitor Visa

If you want to get a UK visitor visa, you must be able to show to the Home Office the following:

  1. You have reasonable grounds for visiting the country – it is better if you can provide evidence.
  2. You will leave the country before your visa expires. In other words, you will leave the UK once your purpose is accomplished – you have spent your holidays in the country, you have visited your British friends or relatives, you have taken your exams, completed your training course, attended a sport event, etc.
  3. You have enough funds to support yourself and your dependants during your trip and you are not going to ask British authorities for help. You might have financial support from a third party, for example, the exhibition organiser, if you are an artist.
  4. You have enough funds to pay for your return or onward journey, if you are passing through the UK to another country.
  5. You will not live in the UK through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home.
  6. You will only do the permitted activities if you are coming to the UK on a short-term business trip.

How do I apply for Standard Visitor visa?

If you meet all the eligibility requirements, you will have to apply for a UK Standard Visitor visa online and pay an application fee (the service is accessible in almost any country, except North Korea).

If you apply for a Standard Visitor Visa to stay up to 6 months, the application fee will be £95 per person. If you can get a long-term Standard Visitor visa to stay up to 12 months, you will have to pay an application fee of £190.

If your family is coming with you to the UK, each member must file a separate application and pay the fee. All applicants must attend an appointment at a visa application centre to have their biometric information (photographs and fingerprints) taken.

It takes at least 15 days to get a UK visitor visa, but the earliest you can apply is 3 months before your visit, and it is highly recommended to do this as soon as possible – to make sure there is time to resolve problems, if any. It will save you time and money if you get support from qualified immigration advisers.

What documents will I need to apply for UK Standard Visitor visa?

  1. A valid passport with a blank page for your Standard Visitor visa or another travel document.
  2. Evidence that you will be able to support yourself during your trip, for example, a bank statement.
  3. Evidence of the purpose of your visit to the UK, especially if you are coming to study, to receive medical treatment or as an academic.
  4. Evidence that you will leave the UK in 6 months at the latest.
  5. Documents to support the information you provided in your visa application such as evidence of your income sources, ties to the country of residence, invitations and letters from the receiving party.

You must provide certified translations of any documents that are not in English.

Application Fee

Type of Visa

Fee (£)

Standard Visitor visa (up to 6 months, single or multiple entry)


Standard Visitor visa for medical reasons (up to 11 months)


Standard Visitor visa for academics (up to 12 months)200

Long-term Standard Visitor visa (2 years)


Long-term Standard Visitor visa (5 years)


Long-term Standard Visitor visa (10 years)


  • We are UK regulated immigration advisers
  • We will officially represent you before the Home Office
  • We will assess your case and evaluate your chances of success
  • We will analyse potential risks of visa refusal
  • We will prepare all the necessary evidence, documents, cover letters
  • We will provide certified translations of any documents
  • We will help you to fill in your visa application taking into account all the requirements
  • We guarantee legal support and advice at all stages

What you cannot do as a Standard Visitor to the UK

  1. Do paid or, for that matter, unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person (except for permitted activities).
  2. Apply for public funds or benefits.
  3. Stay in the UK for a long period of time through frequent or successive visits.
  4. Get married or register a civil partnership unless you have received a special type of visa, a Marriage Visitor visa.

You can do paid work if you are coming to the UK to do certain permitted jobs: artist, musician, athlete, expert in some profession, etc.; however, you will need to get a special visa for this called Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor visa.

What do I do if I get UK Standard Visitor visa refusal?

The Home Office is known to be very stringent and thorough while considering applications even for a UK Standard Visitor visa. The most common reasons for a visa to be refused are as follows:

  1. The Home Office is suspicious about your intention to leave the country before your UK Standard Visitor visa expires.
  2. You do not have enough money to support yourself during your trip to the UK and you have no sponsor.
  3. You have stated in your application that you are going to spend in the UK a sum which exceeds considerably your monthly and even annual income.

As a rule, an applicant is the one to blame for the refusal if they did not bother to confirm their income or prove that they will leave the country before their UK Visitor visa expires. A refusal letter from the Home Office usually says why the application has been refused and what documents the applicant needs to provide to get a positive decision on the UK Standard Visitor Visa. If this is the case, the applicant may provide the necessary evidence and reapply.

However, if you have provided either intentionally or by mistake false information about yourself and that was revealed during background checks, you will be banned from entering the UK for 10 years.

How to avoid a UK Visitor visa refusal? The best you can do is to book a consultation with experienced immigration advisers who will consider the case taking into account your personal circumstances, help you fill in your visa application correctly, make a list of documents you will need to provide and write a cover letter to minimise the risk of getting a refusal.

Even if you have already received a visa refusal, do not despair. Immigration advisers at Imperial & Legal will tell you what documents or other evidence you will need to provide to prove your good character, will assist you in preparing and submitting another UK Visitor visa application.

It will be more difficult to get a UK visa if you have previously been banned from entering the UK for 10 years. If you think the ban is ungrounded and violates your civil rights, you can go to court. Our experts will provide you with legal support and represent you in an immigration tribunal.

Book a consultation with Imperial & Legal
Timeframe: 1 day

Experts at Imperial & Legal are UK regulated immigration advisers.  You can have a consultation with them at the office, over the phone or via Zoom/Skype video call. During the consultation, our adviser will determine whether your case fits into the UK Standard Visitor visa category, clarify your goals and purpose, answer all your questions. As soon as the service agreement is signed, our experts will start working on your case.

Visa application preparation and submission
Timeframe: 1–2 weeks

Immigration advisers at Imperial & Legal will be your official representatives until you obtain a decision on your visa application. Our experts will prepare a customised list of documents you need to submit to get a UK Visitor visa, arrange for certified translation of documents into English, prepare a detailed cover letter based on immigration rules that reflects your circumstances, fill in official online forms, pay a fee and submit the application on your behalf. They will then book an appointment at a UK visa application centre for you to submit biometric information and will upload all the necessary documents.

Obtaining your UK Visitor visa
Timeframe: up to 3 weeks

You will get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Once you receive a positive decision and obtain your UK Visitor visa, you can visit the UK while your visa is valid but you cannot stay for more than 180 days a year.

We do not only support applicants for the UK Standard Visitor visa, but over the years, we have also been providing comprehensive support in UK immigration matters, establishing a business in the UK, tax planning, property search, investment in reliable assets, studying at UK schools and universities.


Success Stories on Standard Visitor Visa

Important questions about UK Standard Visitor visa

When can I stay in the UK for longer than six months under the UK Visitor visa route?

Usually, your UK Standard Visitor visa is valid for six months only, but you may be permitted to stay longer in the following cases:

  1. If you have come to the UK to receive medical treatment.
  2. If you are an academic, your UK Visitor visa can be extended for up to 12 months in total, the same applying to your family members.
  3. If you are a medical graduate doing a clinical internship or re-sitting a Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test.

Besides, if you plan to have several short-term trips to the UK in the coming years, you should consider applying for a long-term UK Standard Visitor visa for two, five or even ten years. Note that if you visit the UK regularly and stay for long periods (longer than 6 months a year), the Home Office may consider this an attempt to settle in the country and will cancel your visa.

What additional requirements will I have to meet if I am coming to the UK to receive medical treatment?

There are 3 categories of applicants for a UK Standard Visitor visa for medical purposes. Depending on the circumstances, you may get this visa if:

  1. You are coming to have medical treatment at a private hospital or another medical facility.
  2. You are coming to have treatment at a state-funded NHS hospital, as long as the care is paid for by your own government in full compliance with a reciprocal healthcare arrangement.
  3. You are donating an organ to a family member or close friend. This category includes not only coming to donate an organ, but also being assessed for suitability as a donor match.

If you qualify under the first category, you will need to prove that:

  • You have a medical condition that needs treatment or consultation in the UK.
  • You do not have a dangerous infectious disease and you are not a risk to public health.
  • Before your visit you have made arrangements with UK doctors for consultations or treatment.

It would be great to provide a letter from the receiving medical facility with details of the planned treatment, its duration and costs, as well as the location of the medical facility(-ies) where the applicant will be treated.

Those who are coming to have treatment at an NHS hospital under an international arrangement will have to submit an authorisation form issued by the government of their country officially confirming that the treatment will be paid for by this government, not the British one.

A donor must prove that they are donating their organ to a close relative, a partner or a friend. The main condition is that the recipient is a UK resident. All the evidence mentioned is provided in a letter from a lead nurse of the transplant team, also containing information on when and where the transplant (or tests for suitability as a donor match) will take place.

Where should an academic apply for a UK Standard Visitor visa to minimise costs, if they want to visit for more than 6 months?

If you have a degree at the highest academic level (PhD or higher), you have been working in your field of expertise for a long time and are not going to occupy a permanent teaching post at a British university, you can apply for a UK Standard Visitor visa valid for up to 12 months.

However, an application fee will be higher:

  • £190, if you apply through a visa application centre in your country;
  • £993, if you come to the UK on a Standard Visitor visa valid for up to six months and decide to extend your visa for up to 12 months in total.

As you can see, if you want to minimise costs, it will be a good idea to apply for a UK Visitor visa valid for up to 12 months before your visit, instead of paying extra costs for staying longer when you are already in the UK.

What information do I need to provide in an online application for a UK Standard Visitor visa?

The following information must be provided in an online application for a UK Standard Visitor visa:

  • Arrival and departures dates of planned travel to the UK.
  • Where you will stay during your visit.
  • The approximate cost of your trip.
  • Your current home address and how long you have lived there.
  • Your parents’ names and dates of birth.
  • Your annual income.
  • Detailed information about any criminal, civil or immigration offences you may have committed.

Depending on the circumstances, you might also be required to provide the following information to get a UK Standard Visitor visa:

  • Details of your trips abroad for the past ten years.
  • Your employer’s address and telephone number.
  • Name, date of birth and passport number of your unmarried partner or spouse.
  • Name and address of your sponsor paying for your trip to the UK.
  • Names, addresses and passport numbers of all family members living in the UK, if any.

Want to come to the UK to work, study or holiday?

We are OISC regulated immigration lawyers making applications on behalf of our clients for many years. Get in touch today to start your application.