If you wish to visit the UK for a holiday or to see your friends and family who live here, you may need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa before you come to the UK. This visa, once granted, will enable you to stay in the UK for no longer than six months. However, it is advisable to stay for the period declared in your application to avoid problems later on, for example if you would like to visit the UK in the future.
Who does not need a visa to visit the UK for a period not exceeding six months
If you are an EEA or Swiss national, you do not need to apply for a visa; there are also other visa exempt countries such as:
Argentina, Chile, Namibia, Australia, Hong Kong (SAR), New Zealand, Botswana, Japan, Singapore Brazil, Macao (SAR), South Korea, Brunei, Malaysia, United States of America, Canada, and Mexico. Please note that this list is not exhaustive.
Note been exempt from applying for visitor visa is not the same as not requiring a visa i.e. they don’t need to apply for the visa from their country of origin but they will be effectively be applying for visa on arrival .
However, sometimes it might be sensible for non-visa nationals to consider applying for a visa if there is a risk that the application might be refused i.e. if the applicant has any criminal convictions or does not have a clean immigration history.
You can check whether you need a visa via the following link https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
Application for a Visit Visa and fees
You need to apply for a Visit Visa online before you travel and pay the fees of £95. Also, you will be required to attend a biometric appointment and submit all supporting documents at the Visa Centre.
The earliest that you can apply is 3 months before you travel, and you should usually receive a decision within 3 weeks, however it might vary depending on what country you are applying from.
can check the current visa processing time here https://www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times
Visit visa – no permitted activities
Once granted a visa and in the UK, you will be not allowed to undertake any work, either paid or unpaid. Also, you cannot study, unless this is a course not exceeding 30 days, and it was not the main reason for your travel. Further, whilst in the UK on a visit visa you cannot marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership. Please also note that there is no recourse to the public funds. For further guidance what you can do and what you cannot do while in the UK on a visit visa please see p22-35 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/793361/Visit-guidance-v8.0ext.pdf.
A standard Visitor Visa will allow you to come and visit the UK for a short period of time. Whilst considering making an application you need to make sure that you are able to provide enough evidence to show that you have the genuine intention to return to your home country at the end of your visit.
You also need to prove that you have enough money to support yourself whilst in the UK. In order to do so, you usually need to submit evidence of settled life in your home country with your application i.e. documents evidencing employment, family, or property.
Moreover, you need to make sure that you submit evidence of your accommodation in the UK and proof of how you are able to pay for your expenses and your return ticket.
Please note that this is only general guidance; if you need further advice on your specific circumstances or help with any visa application please contact a solicitor, who will be able to guide you on the application form and minimise the risk of visa refusal.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY ANY UK IMMIGRATION MATTER, PLEASE CONTACT SOLICITOR TITO MBARITI, A UK IMMIGRATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS SOLICITOR, FOR A FREE INITIAL ADVICE ABOUT YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS.