The relevant Rules in respect of Visitors are divided into:-
- Standard (up to 6 months, with exceptions);
- Marriage/Civil partnership (up to 6 months);
- Permitted paid engagements (up to 1 month) and
- Transit (up to 48 hours)
You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:
- for leisure, e.g. on holiday or to see your family and friends
- for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
- for another reason, e.g. to receive private medical treatment
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, e.g.:
- 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 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.