UK Visitor Visa (Tourism or Leisure) - Top 10 FAQs
Most visitors to the UK will need to make an application for a UK visit visa from their country of residence, before travelling. In this post we answer some of the questions that are most frequently asked by individuals who wish to visit the UK as a Standard Visitor for the purpose of tourism or leisure.
What are the eligibility requirements for a UK Visitor Visa application?
In making an application for a UK Visitor Visa you will be required to prove:
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
- You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
- You’re able to support yourself and your dependants during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you);
- You are able to pay for your return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey);
- You have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules.
What can I do as a Standard Visitor in the UK?
As a visitor to the UK for the purpose of tourism or leisure, you will be permitted to:
- Visit friends and family and/or come to the UK for a holiday;
- Take part in educational exchanges programmes;
- Attend recreational courses for a maximum of 30 days;
- Volunteer with a registered charity for a maximum of 30 days.
What does it mean to be a “Genuine Visitor”?
In order to succeed with an application for a UK Visit Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that you are a genuine visitor. This means that you will need to show you are genuinely seeking entry to the UK for a purpose permitted by the visitor routes, will not undertake any prohibited activities during your stay in the UK, will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits and will not make the UK your home
The Visit guidance lists factors which will be considered by a Caseworker in assessing whether an applicant is a genuine visitor. Theses include your:
- Previous immigration history to the UK and other countries;
- Financial circumstances as well as your family, social and economic background;
- Personal and economic ties to the UK.
In assessing your genuineness, the Caseworker will also consider the cumulative period of time you have spent in the UK over the last 12 months and the duration of your previous visits compared to what was stated on your visa application form or on arrival to the UK.
If you intend to visit the UK for any other reason including to marry or form a civil partnership, to receive private medical treatment, or to undertake business activities, you must apply for the specific visit corresponding to the purpose of your visit.
What reasons could a Caseworker have for doubting that I am applying as a Genuine Visitor?
The Visit Guidance provides a non-exhaustive list of reasons a Caseworker may doubt whether you are a Genuine Visitor. This includes whether or if:
- There are discrepancies between the statements made by you and your sponsor in your application;
- You, your sponsor or other immediate family member has, or has attempted to, deceive or mislead the Home Office in a previous application to enter the UK;
- It has not been possible to verify the information you have provided.
Although the existence of any of the above reasons will not result in the automatic refusal of your application, it will be essential to address each of these circumstances in your application.
How much funds do I need to show for a UK Visitor Visa?
You must have access to sufficient resources to maintain yourself adequately for the duration of your visit to the UK. There is no set level of funds you need to show this.
Some thought should be given to the activities you intend to undertake, and your living expenses, in the UK. This is because, when assessing your application, a Caseworker will consider the likely cost of your stay and assess any source of revenue that will continue to be available to you whilst visiting the UK. A Caseworker will take into consideration your income or savings against any financial commitments you have in your country of residence in deciding whether you are able to support yourself financially during your visit.
What does it mean to make “frequent or successive visits” to the UK?
Although there is no specific maximum period of time which you can spend in the UK in any period, as long as each visit does not exceed 6 months, your application for a Standard Visitor Visa will be refused if a caseworker has reason to believe that you are living in the UK through frequent or successive visits. In assessing your application a Caseworker will consider your travel history including, how long you spend in the UK on each visit and how frequently you are returning to the UK.
How do I make an application for a UK Visitor Visa?
An application for a UK Visitor Visa must be made online. A Standard Visitor may apply for a visit visa of 6 months, 2.5 years or 10 years validity. This allows multiple visits to the UK within the period of validity, unless the visa is endorsed as single or dual-entry), but if it is a ‘multiple entry’ visa, you still cannot remain in the UK as a visitor for more than 6 months on any individual visit.
As part of the application process you will be required to attend a Visa Centre to enrol your biometrics and have your passport scanned as part of the application process. Once your application form is submitted online, you will be able to upload your supporting documents online and book an appointment to enrol your biometrics.
How much does it cost to make a UK Visit Visa application?
The Home Office application fee for a Standard Visitor Visa is £95. You may need to pay an additional fee for a biometric appointment at a Visa Centre.
How long will it take for my UK Visit Visa application to be decided?
An application for a UK Visitor Visa is typically decided within 3 weeks of making the application and attending a visa application centre. It may be possible to apply for a priority service to speed up the process depending on the country you are applying from. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be delays in processing your applications and priority services may be limited.
What happens if my application for a UK Visitor Visa is refused?
You are unlikely to have a right of appeal if your application for a Standard Visitor Visa is refused. If you need to challenge a refusal, it is likely you will have to do so by way of judicial review.
You may wish to speak to our barristers for expert legal advice on making a fresh application following the refusal of your visitor visa. It will be essential for you to make a carefully prepared application which addresses each reason from your refusal to be addressed in order to succeed with a fresh application.
Contact Our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance with an application for a UK Tourism and Leisure Visitor Visa, contact our Immigration Barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.