How to Apply for Standard Visitor Visa UK?
This guidance relates to UK standard visitor visa requirements under Paragraph V4.2-V4.10 of Appendix V, Immigration Rules. Moreover, also explains how to apply for UK standard visitor visa application successfully?
1. Immigration Rules
UK Standard Visitor Visa Requirements and Guidance 2021
Paragraph V4.2-4.10 Appendix V for Visitors
The paragraphs V4.2-4.10 of Appendix V for Visitors, Immigration Rules, elucidate the UK standard visitor visa requirements. Therefore, any visa-national, such as an Indian, Pakistani, Nigerian, Ghanaian Citizen applying for a standard visitor visa UK, needs to satisfy that they:
- will leave the UK at the end of the visit
- will not stay in the UK for extended periods through frequent and successive visits
- are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor only for a permitted activity
- will not make the UK their main home
- have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable expenses relating to:
- return or onward journey
- dependant family members such as spouse and accompanied children
- any planned activity such as tourism, sightseeing, private medical treatment etc.
- if applicable, have a Third-Party sponsor such as a genuine family member, friend, business partner, who will bear the trip expenses
- will not undertake any prohibited activity set out in paragraph V 4.5 – V 4.10 of Appendix V:
- no intentions of doing work and indulging in any prohibited activities
- no intentions to study except as permitted in paragraph 25 of Appendix 3
- can only receive permitted payments
- no intentions to access medical treatment other than private medical treatment or to donate an organ
- no intentions to marry or form a civil partnership, or to give notice of this except for in case of marriage visit visa
- Each applicant needs to meet the UK standard visitor visa requirements, even if travelling in a school party, family, or tour group
- All travellers also need to pass the suitability requirements under Part V3 (3.1-3.16) of Appendix V
- The requirements under Paragraph V 4.5 to 4.10 relates to the prohibited activities. Therefore, if a visitor will breach these Condition of Stay then standard visitor visa will be cancelled
- In limited instances, a visitor can apply for extension
- First time visitors may only apply for short-term 6-months visitor visa. However, repeat, and frequent visitors may apply for 2, 5 or 10 years long term visa
- It is not possible to switch standard visitor visa to work or study visa in the UK. Only prospective entrepreneurs can switch to work visa such as global talent, startup or innovator visa
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2. How to Apply for UK Standard Visitor Visa?
UK Standard Visitor Visa Application Requirements and Guidance
An applicant can apply for UK standard visitor visa application online; however, the process usually consists of the following steps:
- Specify the Purpose of Visiting the UK
- Gather Supporting Documents
- Fill the Online Form
- Prepare/upload the Final Documents’ Bunch
- Wait for the Decision
- Passport Collection
Therefore, briefly, the standard visitor visa process starts with a reason or need of visiting the UK. The primarily UK standard visitor visa requirement is to clearly specifies the purpose of the visit. Afterwards, an applicant needs to gather the supporting documents and start filling the online form. Once an applicant can gather the requisite documents and fill the online form then needs to review these before making the payment. Moreover, on the appointment day at a UKVAC, the applicant goes through the biometrics. Thereafter, the UKVAC forwards it to the British High Commision (BHC) for assessment. Once the decision is made then the BHC informs the applicant to wait for further information from the UKVAC for passport collections.
1. Specify the Purpose
If an applicant intends to apply for the UK standard visitor visa application, then the first step is to clearly specify the purpose of visiting. Indeed, the most common purposes of visiting are:
- meeting family, relatives, or friends
- general tourism for leisure and sightseeing
- business relating purposes such as attending meetings, job interviews etc.
Please note, if an applicant applies for the UK standard visitor visa for tourism or meeting family then it is commonly known as a tourist or family visitor visa, respectively. However, the less frequent purposes of visiting are:
- Academics doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
- Clinical Attachment for a Doctor or dentist
- Visiting for a Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
- To take part in sports and creative events
2. Gather Supporting Documents
In fact, an applicant needs to furnish supporting documents to substantiate the information provided in the application form. Therefore, proper supporting documents plays a critical role in proving that the applicant is a genuine visitor. Accordingly, the aim of the supporting documents is to prove that the applicant:
- has ample funds to support the trip costs, without recourse to public funds
- intends to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the visit i.e. strong ties to the home country
- can meet the costs of an onward journey
Indeed, the supporting documents such as passport, bank statements, marriage or civil partnership certificate, family form, income tax certificates and returns etc help in establishing an accurate presentation of the circumstances. However, there is no need for submitting meaningless supporting documents such as credit card statements.
3. Fill the Application Form
After gathering the supporting documents, starts filling the online application form. Indeed, the online form is simple. If an applicant has done homework, then it may not take more than 1-2 hours to fill and finalize the form.
After completing the online application form, it is advisable to review the form and supporting documents. If necessary, an applicant may take a printout of the draft application form. Therefore, after reviewing may proceed forward to select the relevant application centre in their country/city.
If there are more than one application centres in a country, then the online application form enumerates a list of all available application centres. For instance, in Lebanon, there is only one application centre. However, in Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, China there are several application centres.
Indeed, an applicant choose the service type (standard, priority, or super-priority) on the application form. Moreover, the online application form also indicates whether priority and super priority visa service are available at a particular application centre. Therefore, if an applicant opts for priority or super-priority service then the final application form will highlight SERVICE OPTION: Priority service. And the total fee appears in the online form that will be inclusive of the priority or super-priority service charges.
Furthermore, the UK visa processing time indicates that 15-40% of the applicants use the priority service. However, the purchase of priority or super-priority does not guarantee a favourable outcome or processing of an application within the requisite time, especially if the application is non straightforward due to adverse travel history and complex personal and professional circumstance, which necessitates additional checks and verifications.
Please note: an applicant cannot make any changes in the application form after making the fee payment. Therefore, it is important to review the form 2-3 times before making the payment. Moreover, immediately after making the payment an applicant receives an email from [email protected] with either of the following captioned subjects:
- UK visa application: payment refused [Applicant’s Name] or
- UK visa application: payment confirmation – what to do next [Applicant’s Name]
If the payment is refused, then an applicant may try again using the same or different Credit/Debit card. Hopefully, after 2-3 failed attempts and talking to the bank may finally be able to make the payment. However, in most of the cases, the payment process is quite hassle-free! Accordingly, after receiving the payment confirmation email, take a printout of the online application form and supporting documents checklist.
4. Prepare/upload the Final Documents’ Bunch
Review the final application form and supporting documents for minor corrections and typing errors. And finalize the documents’ bunch i.e. take the printout of the final PDF of the UK standard visitor visa application form plus the supporting documents. And if necessary, then also a cover letter. Moreover, once an applicant finalizes the online application form and pays the fee the system automatically provides for the checklist of supporting documents. Therefore, if some documents are missing then an applicant has an opportunity to add the remaining documents.
Go to the application centre at the appointment date- try to reach 15 mins prior to the appointment time. And wait for the turn. The staff of the application centre will cursorily review the documents and then take the biometrics. And once the submission process is complete then give you a receipt.
Can a person apply for the family members?
No, an applicant needs to personally submit the application. Moreover, every applicant needs to go through biometrics. Therefore, a family member such as a spouse/father can’t submit the application on behalf of spouse/children.
6. Wait for the Decision
The standard visitor visa is a non-settlement visa, therefore, UKVI’s Service Standard is to process 90% of tourist, family, or business visa applications within 15 working days or 3 weeks. Please note, the settlement visa processing time is usually 12 weeks or sixty working days.
If a person has purchased the priority or super-priority service then the processing time is 5 working days or the next working day, respectively. Moreover, an applicant can contact for an update on application status by an email or calling the UKVI International Contact Centre, which cost £5.48 per query and £1.37 per minute, respectively.
UK Visitor Visa Decision Email
An applicant usually receives the UK visa decision email after 10-15 working days. Indeed, the decision email confirms that the UK standard visitor visa application has been concluded and UKVAC will contact the applicant when the passport is ready for collection.
7. Passport Collection
Once the UKVAC receives the passport from UKVI then accordingly informs the applicant for passport collection. However, if the application remains unresolved even after 12 weeks or sixty working days then an applicant needs to contact the UKVI.
What if the UK standard visitor visa is refused?
If an applicant is not able to establish bona fide in the application then instead of a visa, the passport is returned with a Refusal Letter. Accordingly, the refusal letter states the reasons for refusing the application.
3. Final UK Standard Visitor Visa Application Form
UK Standard Visitor Visa Requirements and Guidance
The finally filled standard visitor visa online application form (PDF) usually has the following sections:
- Summary information
- Travel information
- Personal information
- Passport details
- Spouse/partner details
- Dependant details
- Parent details
- Employment, Income, and expenditure sections
- Accommodation details in the UK
- Travel history (UK)
- Travel history (other countries)
- Other history
- Convictions and other penalties
- Medical treatment
- Extra information
- English language
4. Trip Itinerary (Tour Details)
UK Standard Visitor Visa Requirements and Guidance
If an applicant is applying for a UK tourist visa, then it is expedient to provide a trip itinerary. For instance, a 15-day trip itinerary may include the following tour details:
Day 1, 2, 3, 4- Glimpses of London
Trafalgar Square (Charing Cross Station)
Westminster- Church, Parliament Buildings and Big Ben
London Eye (Ride)
Boat ride on the Thames
Tower of London (Inside)
Day 5, 6, 7, 8- Museum Days
Natural History Museum
Science Museum (South Kensington Station)
Victoria and Albert Museum
Leicester Square/Oxford Circus
Day 9, 10, 11- Gardens Days
Kew Gardens (full day)
Sherlock Holmes Museum
Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
Hyde Park (Walk)
Day 12 and 13 – Shopping and Glimpses of London
5. Supporting Documents
UK Standard Visitor Visa Requirements and Guidance
The supporting documents required for standard visitor visa usually includes the following:
- Print out of the UK visa online application form
- Current valid passport
- Previous passport, if available
- Translation of documents, which are not in English/Welsh
- Invitation letter, if applicable
- A UK address for staying during the visit
- Residential address in the Home Country
- Telephone or mobile number
- Business/Employment details
- Tax registration certificate
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
- Salary slips (for employed persons)
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Family certificate, if applicable
- Conveyance/Mortgage Deed or Rental Agreement of the address in the Home Country
- Evidence of assets
Additional supporting documents are required for the following types of standard visitor visa applications:
- child visitors (V 4.11 – V 4.13)
- private medical treatment (V 4.14 – V 4.16)
- organ donors (V 4.17 – V 4.20)
- Chinese nationals under ADS agreement (V 4.21)
- academic seeking a 12-month visa (V 4.22)
6. Assessment Procedure
UK Standard Visitor Visa Requirements and Guidance
An ECO evaluates an applicant’s intentions on the principle of balance of probabilities. However, for proving genuine intentions the onus of proof is on the applicant. Accordingly, an applicant needs to provide clear and conclusive evidence to establish personal circumstances and credibility. Moreover, in the context of the assessment process, the balance of probabilities means the overall credibility of the applicant and authenticity of the evidence. Nevertheless, the principle of balance of probabilities is not applicable for refusal on suitability grounds. Furthermore, the assessment process usually concludes with:
- Grant of visa as per the request of the applicant. For instance, the grant of 6-months visa if an applicant has applied for a 6-months visa
- Borderline decisions: grants of a visa, which is less than the expectations of an applicant. For instance, the ECO grants a single entry visa for 30 days, instead of the 6-months multiple entry visa.
- a refusal due to the failure of the applicant to meet the UK standard visitor visa eligibility requirements
- a refusal on the suitability grounds, which may also include a re-entry ban or 10-year deception ban
UK Standard Visitor Visa Requirements and Guidance
How difficult is to get a UK standard visitor visa?
Since the New Immigration Rules in April 2015, it has become slightly more difficult to get the UK standard visitor visa. However, if an applicant clarifies the purpose and properly documents the application then chances of success are quite high. Please note, in 2019, the UK visitor visa success rate 2019 was 87.46%.
Do Non-Visa Nationals Needs to Apply for Standard Visitor Visa?
Citizens of 111 visa national countries require to have a visa for travelling to the UK. And, nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE can get an electronic visa waiver (EVW) for travel to the UK. In fact, the EVW is only for visiting up to 6 months for meeting family, tourism, business, study and private medical treatment. However, non-visa nationals such as citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc may not need a visa for coming to the UK as a visitor. However, in terms of paragraph V 1.3 of Appendix V, a non-visa national is required to apply for a visit visa if they are intending to:
- marry or to form a civil partnership, or to give notice of marriage or civil partnership, or
- travel for more than 6 months for private medical treatment or visiting academics
Do EU citizens need to apply for UK Visitor Visa?
At present, EU citizens don’t require a visa to travel to Britain. However, after Brexit, with the end of the free movement, most of the EU citizens may be able to travel to Britain without a visa, like non-visa nationals such as American, Australian, Canadian citizens.
What is the Standard Visitor Visa GWF Number?
A GWF number is an automatically generated number once an applicant initiates an online application. However, if an applicant fails to finalize the application within 30 days, the application automatically lapses. Please note, the printout of the application form before the payment will not have barcodes. However, the printout of the final application form after the fee payment will have barcodes on the top right side of every page- with GWF number at the bottom of the barcodes. Moreover, GWF number with barcode is machine-readable, which is automatically generated once an applicant pays the application fee. Accordingly, the final PDF form is generated automatically. Nevertheless, it may take a few seconds or minutes before the final PDF form becomes available for printing and downloading. However, at times due to workload, it may take a few hours before the final form is available for printing and downloading.
What are mandatory documents for UK Standard Visitor Visa?
A travel document such as a national passport, is a mandatory supporting document for UK standard visitor visa. Moreover, translation of documents not in English or Welsh is also mandatory.
What are the Bank Statement Requirement for UK Visitor Visa?
A bank statement is an easily verifiable document, therefore, is critical for establishing the income and savings to bear the trip cost. Although, there is no min or max bank balance requirements for the UK standard visitor visa application; however, an active last 6-months bank statement with a minimum average balance of US$2-3K can be helpful.
Is Travel History Necessary for UK Standard Visitor Visa?
Indeed, applicants with frequent but short international travels have a better chance of getting a standard visitor visa as these indicates financial stability and intentions to return home. However, at times, UK visitor visa application of an applicant with above-average travel history gets refused due to the inability of an applicant to explain circumstances in a befitting manner.
Is Invitation Letter Necessary for UK Standard Visitor Visa?
A sponsor letter is not a mandatory document. For instance, a person applying for a UK tourist visa can furnish a trip itinerary instead of an invitation letter. Nevertheless, if a third party is sponsoring the trip costs than needs to provide:
- Name and Address
- Copy of the British Passport or Residence Permit
- Bank Statements
- Accommodation details such as Land Registry or Tenancy Agreement
- Reason for Sponsoring the Trip
- Undertaking to Maintain and Accommodate the Visitor
Is Cover Letter Required for UK Standard Visitor Visa?
It is optional and only recommended for complex applications.
What are Photograph Requirements for UK Standard Visitor Visa?
For the last 3–4 years there is NO NEED of TAKING a Passport Size Photo with the application at the UKVAC. Certainly, the staff of the application centre takes an electronic photo of the applicant, in tandem with the biometrics i.e. scanning of fingers + thumbs. In case of a successful assessment/decision, the British HC or Embassy use the electronic photo for visa vignette.
Is it possible to Book Ticket and Hotel without Payment?
In fact, it is quite a normal practice to provide the ticket and hotel booking without payment.
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