You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:
- for leisure, eg on holiday or to see your family and friends
- for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
- for another reason, eg to receive private medical treatment .UK Visit Visa
Check if you need this visa if you’re visiting from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
You might not need a Standard Visitor visa if you qualify for British citizenship. Read the guidance on right of abode (ROA) to find out what you should do instead.
The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the:
- Family Visitor visa
- General Visitor visa
- Child Visitor visa
- Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
- Sports Visitor visa
- Entertainer Visitor visa
- Prospective Entrepreneur visa
- Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
- Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa
If you visit the UK on business
You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK for business-related activities, eg:
you’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
you want to take part in a specific sports-related event
you’re an artist, entertainer or musician and coming to the UK to perform
you’re an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
you’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post
you want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK
Check the the Visitor Rules to find the full list of business-related activities you can do with a Standard Visitor visa.
What you can and can’t do
take part in any of the business-related activities mentioned in the Visitor Rules
study for up to 30 days, as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit
take part in an exchange programme or educational visit (if you’re under 18)
do paid or unpaid work
live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership
get public funds
Read the guidance for more information about what you can and can’t do with a Standard Visitor visa.
How long it will take
You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.
You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country you’re applying from.
How long you can stay
You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months.
You might be able to stay for up to 11 months if you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment.
You, your spouse or civil partner and children might be able to stay for up to 12 months if you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research.
You must apply for a biometric residence permit if you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months.
You might be able to get a visit visa for up to 30 days if you’re a visitor under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement.
You can also apply for a long-term visit visa if you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit and your visa can last for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years.
You must always show that:
you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
you’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip
you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit
any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the
If you’re applying for a long-term visit visa
You must prove that:
you have a frequent and ongoing need to come to the UK
the reason why you need to come to the UK is unlikely to change while your visitor visa is valid
you plan to leave the UK at the end of each visit
You may be given a visa for a shorter period than requested if you don’t do this. You won’t get a refund of the application fee if you get a shorter visa or your application is refused.
Your visa may be cancelled and you may get a long-term ban on visiting if your travel history shows you’re repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods.
If you’re applying as an academic
You can stay in the UK for 12 months if you’re applying as an academic. You must prove you’re highly qualified within your field of expertise, on sabbatical leave from your home institution and visiting to either:
take part in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart
carry out your own research
take part in someone else’s research, teaching or clinical practice – as long as this doesn’t involve filling a permanent teaching post
If you’re applying to visit for private medical treatment
You must prove that you:
- have a medical condition that needs private consultation or treatment in the UK
- have made or paid for arrangements for consultations or treatment
- have enough money to pay for your treatment, support yourself without using public funds and pay for your return or onward journey
- will leave the UK once your treatment is completed, or when your visa expires
- are not a danger to public health if you’re suffering from an infectious disease, eg leprosy
If you’re applying as an organ donor
You can only visit the UK to donate organs to:
a family member who you’re genetically related to (eg your sibling or parent)
someone you have a close personal relationship with (eg your spouse or friend)
You must prove that the person you’re donating an organ to is legally allowed to be in the UK.