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UK visitor visa - overview

31 May 2013

If you enter the UK as a visitor, you would be normally allowed to remain for a maximum of 6 months in any 12 months period with the exception of academic visitor, his/her dependant and a parent of a child at school, whose visa is granted for a 12 months period.

Depending on the purpose of your visit you should apply for a particular visa category. If your main purpose is tourism you can apply as a “general visitor”. To apply as a family visitor your family member must be a British citizen or settled in the UK.

If you wish to come to the UK for business, you should apply as a business visitor undertaking permitted paid engagements or as a prospective entrepreneur. In order to apply as business visitor your intention must be to visit the UK for no more than 6 months, you should be based abroad and do not intend to transfer your base to the UK, even temporarily and you should continue to receive your salary from abroad.

 If you wish to study in the UK for up to 6 months, you can come here as a student visitor. In order to apply you must have been accepted on a course of study in the UK. If you intend to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system, but you have not completed the arrangements for your course of study, you might be able to apply for a visa as a prospective student. No work is permitted under the student visitor or prospective student visa.

You might be able to come here as a sports visitor if you want to take part in any sporting events in the UK; or you can come as an entertainer visitor if you wish to perform or audition in the UK as an entertainer. If you want to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK, and you intend to leave the UK soon after the ceremony, you should apply to come here as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership.

The most common requirements for the visitor visa are:

  • you intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months (with the exceptions stated above);
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and
  • you are not in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area' (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

If you have any queries regarding the visitor visa application or any other immigration matter, please feel free to contact us.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.