UK visitor visa


The visitor visa is the most popular single route for individuals coming to the UK for tourism, visiting family as well as business visits.

There are specific categories of the visitor visa (and only ‘family visitors’ currently enjoy a full right of appeal in the event of any refusal of their visa application).

Reasons why you may wish to visit the UK

There are obviously numerous reasons why an individual may wish to come to the UK for a short period. In addition to visiting family, sightseeing or visiting on business, people may wish to visit the UK to get married, arrange plans for studying in the UK, undertake a short course, attend important events, visit the UK as a representative of a company or conduct research or sit a test in the UK.

General requirements for coming to the UK as a visitor

Individuals intending to visit the UK must be able to demonstrate that they wish to visit the UK for no more than six months and that they will leave the UK at the end of the visit.  In addition, individuals must be able to show that they have sufficient funds to maintain and accommodate themselves (and any dependents) in the UK without assistance from public funds.

The exceptions to this general rule are for ‘academic visitors and ‘parents of children at school in the UK’ who are entitled to stay in the UK for a maximum period of 12 months.

Categories of the “Visitor Visa”

It is important that if you intend to visit the UK that you apply for the correct category of visitor visa before entering the country as you are required to comply with the conditions on your visa.  Any breach of visa conditions during your stay in the UK may result in adverse consequences and it is therefore recommended that you ensure that your intentions for coming to the UK are adequately reflected in the type of visitor visa you apply for.

The most common categories of Visitor Visa are as follows:

Visiting family (Family Visitor)

Visiting friends (General Visitor)

Tourism (General Visitor)

Academic visitors (Business Visitor)

Advisers, consultants, trainers, trouble shooters who are employed abroad by the same company which has the UK branch (Business Visitor)

Individuals undertaking specific, one-off training in techniques and UK work practices (Business Visitor)

Visitors for private medical treatment in the UK (Special Visitor)

Visitors intending to marry in the UK (Special Visitor)

Parents of a child under 12 at school in the UK (Special Visitor)

Those coming for a specific event, tournament, or series of events as individual competitors or as members of an overseas team (Sports Visitor)

Those coming to the UK for a short time without a work permit to take part in certain major arts festivals, music competitions and charity events (Entertainer Visitor)