You can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor for tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months) and other permitted activities.
Depending on your nationality, you’ll either:
- have to apply for a Standard Visitor visa before you travel to the UK
- be able to visit the UK for up to 6 months without needing a visa
You must meet the eligibility requirements to visit the UK as a Standard Visitor, even if you do not need a visa.
The rules on what you’ll need to enter the UK may be different if you’re travelling from Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man.
What you can and cannot do (‘permitted activities’)
You can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor:
- for tourism, for example on a holiday or vacation
- to see your family or friends
- to volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity
- to pass through the UK to another country (‘in transit’)
- for certain business activities, for example attending a meeting or interview
- to do a short course of study, a placement or to take an exam
- to take part in research or an exchange programme if you’re an academic
- for medical reasons or to donate an organ
- do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person
- claim public funds (benefits)
- live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent or successive visits
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership - you’ll need to apply for a Marriage Visitor visa
Proving your eligibility
You must prove that you:
- meet the eligibility requirements
- are only planning to do permitted activities
If you need a Standard Visitor visa, you must prove this when you apply online.
If you do not need a visa, you may be asked questions at the UK border about your eligibility and the activities you plan to do.
If you’ve previously been refused entry to the UK or have a criminal record, you may want to apply for a Standard Visitor visa (even if you do not need one).
How long you can stay
You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months.
You might be able to stay for longer if you’re:
- coming to the UK for medical reasons
- an academic - you, your partner and your children may be able to stay for up to 12 months
- a graduate doing a clinical attachment or retaking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test