Visitors to the UK
There are many categories of visitor visas under UK immigration law. A visitor is someone who generally intends to be in the UK for a short period, for example, to visit friends / family, to do business, to do a short course of study or to receive private medical treatment.
GENERAL VISITOR: TOURIST OR VISITING FRIENDS / FAMILY
If you want to come to the UK as a tourist or to visit friends / family you should apply as a general visitor. To visit the UK in this capacity you must be able to show that:
- you intend to visit the UK for no more than six months;
- you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit, and
- you have enough money to support yourself and live in the UK without working or needing any help from public funds.
If you are employed abroad but want to visit the UK for short periods to undertake business related activities you may be eligible to do so as a business visitor. However, some business visitors may need to qualify under the employment rules (where you engage in certain activities) or the student rules (where training is intended).
Anyone wishing to visit the UK as a business visitor should:
- be based abroad and not intend to transfer their base to the UK, even temporarily; and
- receive their salary from abroad, although it is acceptable to receive reasonable travel and subsistence expenses whilst in the UK; and
- not be involved in selling goods or services direct to members of the public;
- not be replacing someone in the UK, including for temporary leave periods;
- not be coming to the UK do work placements or internships.
If you want to come to the UK in order to do a short course of study during your visit, you can apply to do so as a student visitor. You must be aged 18 or over, and you must have been accepted on a course of study provided by:
- an education provider that holds a sponsor licence under Tier 4 of the points-based system; or
- an education provider that is accredited by an accreditation body approved by the UK Border Agency; or
- an education provider that is inspected or audited by either the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education in Scotland, Estyn in Wales, Northern Ireland's Education and Training Inspectorate or the Independent Schools Inspectorate; or
- an overseas higher education institution that offers only part of its programmes in the UK, holds its own national accreditation, and offers programmes that are of an equivalent level to a UK degree.
VISITOR FOR PRIVATE MEDICAL TREATMENT
You can apply for a visit visa to travel to the UK for private medical treatment. You must be able to show that you:
- have made suitable arrangements for the necessary private consultation or treatment;
- have enough money to pay for the treatment;
- have enough money to support yourself and live without working or getting any help from public funds while you are in the UK, and
- intend to leave the UK at the end of your treatment.
Other categories of UK visitor visas include Academic Visitor, Child Visitor, Doctor taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board Test (PLAB), Olympic and Paralympic Games Visitor, Sports Visitor, Entertainer Visitor, Parent of a Child at School and Visitor for Marriage.