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
Check if you need this visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
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.
Find out about paying for a faster decision.
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.