UK visitor needs a travel visa for visiting London if not exempted. Know the steps to apply for UK visitor visa, fees, sponsor, fund, document requirement
Apply for UK visitor visa needs to follow the UK Government immigration policy and procedures. If you have the right documents, sponsor and funds to cover your stay, you can expect a UK visa.
Steps to apply for UK visitor visa
UK Government advises the following steps for faster processing and issuing a UK visa. Tourists always need to check the UK Govt. website for correct and update information. The visa fees, procedures, policy are in constant review.
- The requirement of the UK Visitor Visa
At first, click here to check whether you need a UK visitor visa or not. It will also tell you the type of visa.
Apart from the UK Student Visa, most of the tourists need UK Standard Visitor Visas which are issued to
– General visitor/Tourist
– Family Visitor
– Child Visitor
– Business Visitor (including visas for academics, doctors and dentists)
– Sports Visitor
– Entertainer Visitor
– Prospective Entrepreneur
– Private Medical Treatment Visitor
– Approved Destination Status (ADS). It allows non-EU visitors to the UK to enter the country for a period of up to six months.
- Document preparation for visa application
Documents ready for submission of visa application. Find a list of required documents at the UK Government website.
English version- Documents for Visitor Visa
Chinese version- Documents for Chinese Tourists
Also, you need to check whether you need a TB (Tuberculosis) test or not. Find the details at Gov.UK TB test-related page
- Apply online & book an appointment
Apply online for a Standard Visitor Visa. There is no exception for it except the North Korean. Also, book an appointment at a visa application centre situated in the applicant’s own country.
Keep all the required documents in hand. We suggest you download the application form & Guidance prior to starting an online application. It gives an idea of what kind of information the UK Government would like to know.
- Attend an appointment
On the appointment day, you need to prove what you told in your visa application. Give all the relevant documents to the visa/centre official.
The centre will take your ‘biometric information’ like fingerprints and photograph, supporting documents etc. You will also know when you get a visa decision generally it is 3 weeks.
- What you can bring to the UK
Once a visitor visa is granted, you need to check what you can bring to the UK. So prepare yourself according to the list mentioned in the Gov.uk website about duty-free goods, banned & restricted items etc.
- Documents in hand to show at the airports
Check which documents you need to show to the UK border officials at the airports. Keep these documents in hand luggage.
Prove why you are visiting the UK. Confirm them you will leave the UK within the visa period. More details are given here
- After arrival in the UK
Welcome to London. There are so many things to see London. Hope you have the right plan to see this historical city. You can take help from our London Guide website.
Check your visa to know when you leave the UK. Buy your return Air-Ticket if not bought earlier & book a taxi to pick you up in good time.
Frequently Asked Questions: UK Visitor Visa
Q:01- What documents do I need for UK tourist visa? (Documents for the UK Visa)
Find the list of documents by visiting the following Gov.uk guideline links. It helps you to prepare your own checklist.
English version- Documents for Visitor Visa
Chinese version- Documents for Chinese Tourists
UK Visas & Immigration department expects you to submit supporting documents as evidence for visiting the UK. Provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
A current passport or other valid travel identification. You need a page in your passport that is blank on both sides for your visa. Your passport must be valid for the whole of your stay in the UK.
Bank statements/Building society book as Proof of earnings such as a letter from employer confirming employment details (start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details)
Where 3rd party/Sponsor (a business, a friend or a relative) is providing financial support to you e.g., documents to show they have sufficient resources to support you in addition to themselves and any dependent family should be provided.
More documents may be required based on your circumstances, types of standard visitor visa etc.
Q:02- How much is the UK visitor visa fees? (Visa application fee)
The visa application fee depends on how long the visa valid for. Apply for a visa and book an appointment with payment ranging from £95 to £822. You can pay an extra £220 for a decision within 5 working days or £956 for a decision within 1 working day.
We strongly advise you to check the visa application fees with the visa application centre & Gov.uk visa fees page as it changes frequently.
Q:03- Which sponsor documents required for UK visitor visa? (UK visa sponsor letter + document)
The requirement of sponsors documents depends on the applicant’s home country & circumstances, type of visa & visa period etc. In general an “Invitation Letter” is required with the submission of the following more and fewer sponsors documents.
Invitation letter: a letter of invitation addressed to the UK embassy or Consulate. Write in this letter application full name, passport number, passport expiry date, your relation to the applicant, applicants dates of travel, where they will be staying and the purpose of their visit to the UK etc. If you provide financial support, Also mention it in the letter.
ID documents: Passport, Driving License
Birth certificate: If applicants is a parent or sibling, the birth certificate is fair enough to prove the relationship.
Financial statements: Bank statements, Pay Slips, Employment certificate of the sponsor if the sponsor provides financial support towards the applicant’s travel cost.
Accommodation: If you mention in your invitation letter that the applicant will be staying with you, attach one or more of the documents like mortgage copy, rent copy, council tax, Deed of ownership etc.
Q:04- How can I bring my family members on Family Visitor visa? (Family visa)
You can bring your family members to the UK to meet and stay with you for a maximum of 6 months on a general circumstance. Previously Family visitor visa is granted on this occasion. But now the Standard Visitor visa has replaced the Family Visitor visa including other types of visa.
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
Q:05- What is the minimum passport validity to enter the UK? (Passport validity)
According to UK Gov guideline, a valid passport or a national identity card ( for EU nationals) is must enter the UK. It should cover the whole of the UK stay.
So, 6-month or 3-month passport validity is not mentioned anywhere in the UK Gov guideline. But, the airlines may ask you the 6 months validity and may refuse your board in.
If you have time, it is better to get your passport renewed for avoiding any hassle at the airport. Many countries require 6-month validity on the passport from entering the date to the country.
Q:06- What is the TB (Tuberculosis) test requirement for the UK visa? (TB test for the UK visa)
UK visitors need to have a TB test if they are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. Residents of all countries do not need a TB test. Find the list of the countries who requires a TB test
TB test certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of x-ray. It needs to attach to the UK visa application.
If you need a TB test, you can make an appointment online with Home Office approved TB test clinic in your country. Cost of TB test for the UK visa is an additional fee to the visa application fee.
Q:07- When you can apply for a UK visitor visa? what is the UK visa processing time after application submitted? (When & how long take to approve UK visa)
You can apply 3 months before you travel. (example your planned travel date 15 June, so apply 15 March or after).
You can expect the visa decision any day within 3 weeks. It takes sometimes to 60-90 days depending on the applicant’s circumstances, and visa documents. The length of time taken to process visa applications depends on the nationality of the applicant and the country where you’re applying.
Click here and follows the step by step guide (total 8 steps) carefully. You can select the option ‘I will do it myself. At first, you have to select your country of residence.
VFS Global is an official partner of UK Visas and Immigration.
Q:09- How long can I stay in the UK on a visitor visa? Is there any exception? (Stay in the UK on a tourist visa)
Your visa is usually granted for a period of 6 months. i.e you can stay up to 6 months.
There is an exception like private medical treatment – up to 11 months and academic research purpose for up to 12 months. They also need to apply for a biometric residence permit.
Based on your circumstances and requirement, you may also be allowed to get a long-term Standard Visitor visa. It lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. But still, you can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.
Q:10- Can I renew my UK tourist visa before it expires? Visa extension policy? (UK visa renewal or extension)
There is no provision for extending UK Tourist Visa to stay for more than 6 months. If your visa period is less then 6 months, you may extend it. It will be total for 6 months.
You need to apply online through the UK Government website while you are in the UK.
You can not extend your visit beyond the maximum allowable time. Also, you can not switch to another immigration category. It is essential that you leave the country before your visa expires, or you may not be allowed to travel to the UK again for any reason.
The maximum total time you can stay in the United Kingdom is six months.
Q:11- Do I need to book a flight or hotel before applying for the UK visa? (flight hotel booking before applying for a visa)
It is not suggested at all to buy a flight ticket or confirmed hotel booking on payment until your UK visa is approved.
But if there is an opportunity to book a flight and hotel booking without making any payment, you can do so. Take a print-out and attach if Visa Processing Agent ask for it.
Q:12- Is return ticket compulsory for a UK tourist visa? (Return ticket buy)
You do not require proof of return or onward travel as a matter of routine. It is very unusual to ask for a return ticket unless there is some doubt about your returning.
However, nationals not requiring visas are advised to keep return tickets. Also, hold the documents as proof of sufficient funds to accommodate and support themselves for the duration of stay.
Q:13- What to do at London airport? Airport procedures for first-time flyers? (Airport & immigration system)
When you arrive at the London airports (Heathrow airport, Gatwick airport or Stansted airport), you are expected to walk a long way to reach the immigration area.
If you do not fill up the immigration card in the plane, you need to do it here. Then take a queue at the ‘other country passport holder.
After the immigration clearance, take your luggage and come out using the green channel if you have nothing to declare.
Q:14- I have a Schengen visa. Do I still need a UK visa to visit? (Schengen visa for the UK)
Yes, you need a UK visitor visa. The United Kingdom is not a part of the Schengen area. So you need to take a visa for UK Visit if applicable.
Q:15- Can I take my pet with me to the UK? (Bring Pet to the UK)
Yes, you can enter the UK with your pet subject to fulfil some conditions. Your animal must have a microchip, pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate, rabies vaccination administered at least 21 days before travel, and tapeworm treatment (dogs only), blood test taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination and at least three months before travel etc, It also varies EU & Non-EU countries.
There are more FAQ on UK visa in our Bangladesh chapter
UK Customs – Hand Luggage Allowances
There are restrictions on what items you can take in your hand luggage and hold luggage when boarding a plane to the UK. Its worth to follow for avoiding any hassles, Please Click this link- Luggage restrictions, Bringing goods into the UK (EU Nationals), Bringing goods into the UK (Non-EU Nationals)
Please click HMRC website to know details what items you can bring into the UK or which items are banned. When arriving in the UK you may be required to pay customs duty on some goods, for example, wine and cigarettes. Check which rules apply to you before you travel. Tax when bringing in goods from abroad
Apart from the Gov.uk website, IATA Travel Centre provides valuable information on passport, visa & health regulations. It will also help you how to apply for UK visitor visa You may also want to know the London weather and top London attractions.