Visitor Visa

A visitor is someone who wishes to visit the UK for a temporary duration.

As a Standard visitor, you are permitted to carry out a number of activities including tourism, visiting friends or family or undertaking a short course of study.

You should apply for Standard Visitor visa if the following circumstances apply to you:

  • Your programme of study is 6 months or less in duration and you do not intend to carry out an internship or voluntary work
  • Your programme of study is by distance but requires you to be in the UK for face to face study for a period of 6 months or less and you do not need a Student visa
  • You are required to take resits and you need to be in the UK for 6 months or less

Standard Visitor limitations:

  • You cannot switch into another visa category once you are in the UK. That means you must leave the UK on or before the visa expiry
  • You are not allowed to work in the UK – this includes doing internships and voluntary work
  • You are not covered under the NHS (National Health Service), this means you will need to make sure you have adequate medical insurance to cover your stay in the UK
  • You cannot bring dependants with you

The UK separates countries into two categories for Standard Visitor visas: non-visa nationals and visa nationals.

Depending on your nationality you may not have to apply for this visa in advance of entering the UK. Check the website to see if you need to apply for this visa in advance.

  • Non-Visa nationals do not need to apply for this visa before entering the UK. All they need to do is ask for a visitor visa stamp at the immigration desk when entering the UK. You can obtain this visa upon entry to the UK from any country of departure. It is still advisable to have all the necessary documents required in case you need to show them.
  • Visa national must apply for this visa before entering the UK. You can make your application from any overseas post.

The Standard Visitor visa stamp you obtain upon arrival is considered to be for a single entry. If you intend to travel in and out of the UK during your stay, it is recommended that you obtain a Standard Visitor visa in advance.

Important: If you are planning on arriving in the UK via the Common Travel Area, you should apply for UK entry clearance as a visitor before travelling to the Republic of Ireland. More information can be found on the UKCISA web pages.

Useful Links
For information and guidance about how to apply for a Standard Visitor visa and the documents you will need to prepare please see our visa guidance document.

Nationals of the USA, Japan, South Korea and other non-visa nationals who are planning to travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland, and enter the UK as a short-term student can find more information on the UKCISA website.

All other Visa nationals can find more information regarding entry to the United Kingdom on the Government Home Office website.