Standard Visitor visa
You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:
- for leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
- for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
- for another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment
Your application will not be accepted and you will not get a refund if you have the right of abode in the UK (for example 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, for example:
- 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
- are 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.
If you’re being paid by a UK company to visit as an expert in your profession, you should apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa.
What you can and cannot do
- take part in any of the business-related activities mentioned in the Visitor Rules
- study for up to 30 days, as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit
- take part in an exchange programme or educational visit (if you’re under 18)
- convert your civil partnership into a marriage
- pass through the UK in transit (on your way to another country)
- 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 cannot 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 when you apply from outside the UK.
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 (£190 fee)
- 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 (£190 fee)
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 Chinese citizen visiting under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement.