UK tourist visa 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
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 Visitor Rules
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.
When you apply you’ll need to provide:
- a current passport or other valid travel identification
- one passport sized colour photograph
You should also provide evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips for the last 6 months.
You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa.
You’ll also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English or Welsh.
Read the guidance for a full list of supporting documents you can provide.
You might need to provide additional documents if you’re visiting the UK:
- for private medical treatment
- to apply as an organ donor
- as an academic on sabbatical and want to stay for 12 months
- as a prospective entrepreneur
- to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
You can apply for a standard visitor visa if you’re under 18 and:
- you’ve made suitable arrangements for your travel and stay in the UK
- you have consent from your parent or guardian to travel to the UK
- you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey
- you have enough money to support yourself without working or getting help from public funds, or you have family and friends that can support you
You can travel to the UK without an adult (someone over the age of 18).
Your parent or guardian will need to provide their:
- written consent for you to travel to the UK
- full contact details
They’ll also need to provide proof that you have somewhere suitable to live during your stay in the UK, including:
- the name and date of birth of the person that you will be staying with
- an address where you will be living
- details of your relationship to the person who’ll be looking after you
- consent in writing so they can look after you during your stay in the UK
Travelling with an adult
When travelling to the UK with an adult (someone over the age of 18), you’ll need to identify them in your visa application.
If the person you’re travelling with isn’t your parent, you’ll need to provide specific information about them in your application.
Their name will appear on your visa, and you’ll be refused entry to the UK if you arrive in the UK without them.
You can identify up to 2 adults in your visa application, and your visa will only be valid if you travel with at least one of them.
The adult can apply for a visa at the same time, but you must each complete separate applications.
Apply from outside the UK online
Fill in the visa application form online.
When you apply, choose the option that best describes why you’re coming to the UK, eg choose ‘general’ if you’re visiting on holiday.
You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application.
You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in - check with your visa application centre.
Apply and pay for a visa online.
Apply from within the UK
You might be able to extend your visa if you’re already in the UK.
Documents you’ll need
You’ll need the following information when you apply:
- your passport details
- your address and how long you’ve lived there
- your parents’ names and dates of birth
- the dates you’re planning to travel to the UK
- details of where you’ll be staying during your visit
- how much you think your trip will cost
- your estimated annual income
You might also need:
- details of your travel history for the past 10 years (as shown in your passport)
- your employer’s address and telephone number
- your partner’s name, date of birth, and passport number
- the name and address of anyone paying for your trip
- the name, address and passport number of any family members you have in the UK
- details of any criminal, civil, immigration offences you have committed
Apply from North Korea
You can’t apply online if you’re from North Korea. You must instead:
- download the form and guidance
- read the instructions on how to apply
You may be able to extend your visa as long as the total time you spend in the UK is less than 6 months - eg if you apply for a 3 month visa, you can apply to extend it for 3 more months.
Read the guidance to find out if you can extend your visa.
You should apply before your current visa expires.
If you’re receiving private medical treatment in the UK
You can apply to extend your visa for a further 6 months if you:
- have paid for any treatment you’ve already had in the UK
- can and will pay the further costs of your treatment
- continue to meet the eligibility requirements
You must also get a medical practitioner or NHS consultant who’s registered in the UK to provide:
- proof of arrangements for your private medical consultation or treatment
- a letter saying how long your treatment is likely to take
- details of the progress of your treatment, if it’s already started
You must apply while you’re still in the UK.
How to extend your visa
- download the form and guidance and apply by post - the address is on the form
- download the form and apply in person at a premium service centre
How long it takes
A decision will be made:
- within 8 weeks for postal applications
- usually on the same day if you use the premium service
You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, eg:
- if your supporting documents need to be verified
- if you need to attend an interview
- because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)
Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your last visa expired.