1. Overview

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • for leisure, eg on holiday or to see your family and friends
  • for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • for another reason, eg to receive private medical treatment

Check if you need this visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

Your application won’t be accepted and you won’t get a refund if you have the right of abode in the UK (eg you’re a British citizen). You need to apply for a certificate of entitlement instead.

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, eg:

  • 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

You can:

You can’t:

  • do paid or unpaid work
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • get public funds
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership

Read the guidance for more information about what you can and can’t do with a Standard Visitor visa.

How long it will take

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.

Example You can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June.

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 longer if:

  • you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment - up to 11 months
  • you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research - you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months

If you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a biometric residence permit.

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.

Long-term visit visas

If you can prove you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.

If you’re under 18 years old when you apply, your long-term visit visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18.

Fees

A Standard Visitor visa costs £87.

The fee for a long-term visit visa depends on its length:

  • 2 years - £330
  • 5 years - £600
  • 10 years - £752