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UK Visit Visa – Application and Requirements

UK Visit and Family Visas

Not everyone who visits the UK for vacation or to visit friends or family requires a visit visa. Nationals of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan—and many countries in South America do not need a visa for non-work or study related visits lasting less than 6 months. Citizens of the European Union (EU) and Switzerland currently do not need visas to visit, live, or work in the UK. If you are from a country who requires a visa, or you would like to apply for a family visa—reach out to the team at Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors today to identify the appropriate visa for your needs. We will ensure you meet the UK visit visa requirements and help you fill out your application—increasing the odds of being approved the first time.

Standard UK Visit Visa

There used to be multiple visas for visits of less than 6 months, but to simplify things there is now one standard visit visa. It replaces 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


Standard visit visas are sufficient for most short-term travel needs. Holidays, visiting friends and family, professional training, business conferences, business meeting, to take part in sports or creative events, to perform, in a short-term study or research program, physicians working on clinical, and other general visit objectives. You will only be able to stay for 6 months.

Standard Visa Restrictions

When filling out your UK visit visa application you will need to share what you will be in the country to complete. If you fall outside of the standard visa requirements, you will need to apply for a different type of visa. Appling for an incorrect visa is one of the most common reasons visas are denied. For example:

  • You can only participate in approved business-related activities (training, meetings, conferences, approved physician courses and clinical), but you may not work. If you will be working you will need a work visa instead.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you can participate in short-term exchange programs and educational visits.
  • If you are over the age of 18 you can only study for up to 30 days during a visit where leisure is your primary objective.
  • You can only get married if you are already in a legal civil partnership, otherwise, you may not marry, register for civil partnership.
  • You may not raise money or funds.

Exceptions To The 6 Month Rule

Most standard visas are valid for 6 months, but there are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • If you are coming to the UK for private medical treatment you may be approved for up to 11 months. You will need to pay a biometric residence permit application fee which is currently £179 fee.
  • Researchers on academic sabbatical may be able to stay for up to 12 months, including your spouse or civil partner. You will need to pay a biometric residence permit application fee which is currently £179 fee.
  • If you need to visit the UK frequently over a long period of time, you can apply for a 2, 5, or 10-year visa which allows you to stay for 6 months per visit. Long-term visas are only valid for 6 months after the age of 18.

How Soon Should You Apply For A Visit Visa

While you want to plan ahead, you can only apply for your standard visa 3 months prior to your travels. Standard UK visit visa applications are almost always processed within 3 weeks, depending on your country—a few days. In rare occasions, a remote meeting may be requested with the immigration office. At the very least, we urge you to reach out to a Gulbenkian Andonian solicitors to prepare you and advocate for you during your meeting. Regardless of the country, you are traveling from, working with a UK solicitor is essential.

Not Sure What Kind Of Visa You Or Your Loved One Needs?

If you or a loved one will be traveling to the UK for a short-term visit, it is essential that you apply for the correct visa. Even if approved for a visa that allows you in the country for the timeframe you desire, you must make sure that you do not violate the terms of your visa. In some cases, you may be eligible for more than one visa, so we will help you determine the most suitable choice.

Reach out today to work with a member of the Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors team to help with all your visa and immigration needs.