A UK visa is the permission slip that lets people from other countries enter, stay temporarily, or move to the UK permanently. Most of the time, a visa is either a stamp in your passport or a piece of paper given to you by a UK consulate or embassy in the country where you live.
If you are given a visa, it means that you are allowed to come to the UK and that you meet all the requirements for the visa you were given. People want to apply for a UK visa for different reasons, such as:
To work and get things done
For short visits and travel
To be with family members who are already in the UK
To go from one country to another by way of the UK
To stay in one place
As a refugee or someone who needs help from the international community
As someone without a country
As someone who needs to be let in
Who Needs a Visa to the UK?
People from the European Economic Area, Switzerland, and Commonwealth countries don’t need a UK visa to enter the country. Visit this page to see a full list of all the countries whose people need a visa to enter the UK.
How to Get a Visa for the UK?
How you apply for a visa to the UK depends a lot on what kind of visa you want. Especially if your visa falls into one of the categories of the Points-Based System. Even though most of the requirements for each category are the same, the system evaluates them in different ways. There are also other rules that vary from one category to the next.
When should I try to get a visa for the UK?
You can apply for a UK visa no earlier than three months before you plan to travel here. But keep in mind that it could take up to three weeks for your visa application to be processed. Apply ahead of time so you can give the consulate enough time to process your visa.
What are the documents I need to get a UK visa?
Every person who wants to apply for a UK visa must meet a set of standard requirements. These rules depend on the type of visa and the applicant’s home country.
What is the Point-Based System (PBS)?
The Point-Based System (PBS) of the UK Visa is a way to control who comes to the UK from outside the country. It replaced the old system, which was much more complicated and hard to cover.
Applicants for visas are judged by the PBS system based on how many points they can get by meeting visa requirements. Each visa requirement is worth a certain number of points, and the applicant must get a certain number of points in order to get the visa.
UK Visa Types
Different people want to get a UK visa for different reasons. Because of this, the United Kingdom has a system for visas that is based on the reason for the visit and has different types of visas.
Here are the types of UK visas:
Visas for family.
Visas for work and business
The UK has strict rules that make it hard for many visa holders to get a job, but it also has Working Visas for high-level professionals from other countries who want to live and work in the UK for a short or long time.
Types of business and work visas
Foreigners with good skills:
Global Talent Visa
Foreigners with skills who have a job offer in a shortage area
Visa for Senior Expert Workers in the UK
Visa for International Athletes in the UK
Visa for the UK Minister of Religion
Youth mobility and short-term workers from other countries
Visas that the government gives out
Visa for the UK Youth Mobility Scheme
Visa for a domestic worker
Exempt Vignette Visa
UK Business Visas
Students from outside the UK who want to study in the UK can get these types of student visas.
Categories of student visas
Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
Visa for Short-Term Study
Visas for tourists and short trips
The UK is a very popular place to visit, both for short trips and longer stays. Visitor visas for the UK are given out for short stays, tourism, and other similar reasons. The UK government rarely gives a tourist visa for more than six months. With this type of visa, as with many others, it is illegal for foreigners to get a job in the UK.
Short trips for business are pretty much the same.
Visas for tourists and short trips
Marriage Visitor Visa
Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa Parent
Permitted Paid Engagement Visa
Visa for Short-Term Study
UK Visitor Visa
Visa for a tour group from China
Visas for family
The UK Family Visa is given to people who want to visit family in the UK. This type of Visa is for people whose family members work and live in the UK and who want to join them as their dependents for more than six months. Dependents can be a husband or wife (spouse), a partner, fiancé, fiancée, or proposed civil partner, children, parents, or other family members.
The different kinds of family visas
UK Spouse visa
UK Parent visa
Visa for UK children
The UK Transit Visa is for people who aren’t from the European Economic Area (EEA, which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) or Switzerland and are passing through the UK on their way to another country. With this visa, you can apply for a long-term transit visa if you can prove that you need to travel through the UK often to get to your final destination, but you don’t want to stay or live there permanently. People can get these long-term transit visas for 1 to 10 years.
Categories of transit visas
Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV): For people who have to change flights in the UK without leaving the airport.
Visitor in Transit Visa: This is for people from other countries who have to leave the airport and take a different way to get to their next destination. This visa is good for a maximum of 4 days.
Temporary Refugee Visas are for people who are at the UK border and are about to enter because they had to leave their home country because their life was in danger. This visa is only available to people who are already in the UK.
The visa is only good until the person who has it is no longer in danger and can go back to their home country. Visa for Stateless Persons is for people who don’t have citizenship in any other country but live in the UK. This visa is good for 2 to 6 years, and it may be renewed.
Also read: What to do if you don’t want a UK retirement visa
Permits to live in the UK
Permission to stay for a long time
The UK Settlement permit, also called Indefinite Leave to Remain, is for people who have lived in the UK for a long time on a temporary visa and now want a permanent one. People who have lived outside of the UK for at least two years and want to go back or who have lost their passports are eligible for the visa.
Foreigners who already live in the UK with e refugee or humanitarian status and want to settle there permanently or for family reunion. Most of these visas require the applicant to have lived in the United Kingdom for at least 5 years.
EEA Residence Permits
Permits to live in the EEA:
EEA Residence Card
UK Registration Certificate – EEA (QP)
Permanent Resident Card for the UK – EEA (PR)
The EEA family permit had to do with the right to live.
EEA family permit related to retained rights of residence
Certificate of entitlement for right to abode in the UK
Other Residence Permits
With a UK Residence Permit, you can stay in the UK for a short time.
Returning Resident Visa
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
Residence Permit for People from the Commonwealth
Settlement visa if you are a refugee or need help because of a disaster.
Electronic Visa Waiver
The Electronic Visa Waiver is set up for people from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates who want to come to the UK for up to six months to do business, travel, study, or get medical care.
If people from these countries want to come to the UK for other reasons or for longer amounts of time, they need to apply for a different type of visa.
How to fill out an Electronic Visa Waiver application?
Here is where you must fill out the online application.
You can apply for this visa as early as three months before your trip and as late as two days before. With this visa, you can’t bring your family with you; everyone must apply on their own.
It’s easy to apply for this visa, and you only need to give the following information:
Information from a passport;
The candidate’s place of residence in the UK;
It includes the dates you plan to arrive and leave.
Note: To apply for this visa, the candidate must pay £15.
If you need to, you can change the information on this visa, such as the airport, train station, bus station, or similar place, the time you enter the UK, and other similar things.
After the application, the candidate will get a link to download the visa in his or her email in one day. So, it must be printed and shown at the UK borders when entering.
What a person with a UK visa needs to know?
Even if a foreigner has a visa, they may have to go through Immigration Control (examination) whenever they cross the UK border. In some cases, the visa might also be taken away at the border.
Any kind of overstaying or breaking the rules on a visa, whether you are in the UK or not, is a crime.
Visas give the answers you need to:
Who should be allowed to come to the UK and why,
Who should be allowed to live in the UK temporarily or permanently, and why,
Who meets the requirements and who can’t get into the UK,
Who needs to leave the UK because their visa has run out or for some other reason
Visas can sometimes make it illegal for the holder to do things like:
Getting a job or doing some other kind of work in the UK,
use of public money;
staying in the UK without registering with the police (without getting a police registration certificate);
Study in England;
The person in charge is supposed to report to a certain Medical Officer of Environmental Health.
The holder can be told about these rules in the following ways:
Included with the passport or other travel document;
In a notice in writing;
In the passport;
In the form for getting a visa;
Do I need a flight booked in order to apply for a UK visa?
For a UK visa application, you don’t have to book a flight. The UK government lets you apply even if you don’t have one. You should still send in a travel itinerary with the dates you plan to enter and leave the country.
How long does it take to get a UK visa?
A UK visa could take up to three weeks to process. The time it takes to get a UK visa now depends on several factors and varies from one application to the next. These things:
what kind of visa you want to get,
the country you are applying from,
your situation in particular,
how many visa requests the UK consulate or visa processing centre is getting at the moment, etc.
Can I get my visa faster?
Depending on the type of visa you want, you may be able to use the “priority service” or even the “super-priority service” when you file your application.
For an extra £500, you can use the “priority service” to get a decision on your application within five working days. The “super priority service,” on the other hand, costs £800 on top of the visa fee and lets you get a decision by the end of the next business day.
What is the Health Fee for Immigrants?
When you apply for a visa to the UK, you have to pay a fee called the Immigration Health Surcharge. Once you have a visa and are in the UK, you have the same right to use the NHS as a UK citizen. Please keep in mind that you will still have to pay for things like prescriptions, dental care, eye exams, and help getting pregnant.
The health surcharge costs £300 per year for a student visa or Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa, and £400 per year for all other visa and immigration applications.
Why Does a UK Visa Get Turned Down?
Some of the most common reasons why people don’t get UK visas are:
Documents are missing. This is the main reason why applications are turned down most of the time. Your application will be turned down by the embassy if you don’t have one document. You won’t even get a second chance to send in what is missing. You will have to start a whole new app.
Your documents have information that is wrong or doesn’t match up.
You don’t have enough money to pay for your stay in the UK.
Not being able to speak English well enough.
Documents are not set up correctly.
What Can I Do If My Visa Gets Turned Down?
If your UK visa application is turned down, you can either give up or:
Try again to get the visa. If you apply again, make sure you don’t make the same mistake or that your situation has changed so that you can meet the requirements.
Make a case based on human rights. You should have a good reason to appeal a decision to not give you a visa.
You can ask the court to review the decision. You can do this if you have a good reason to think that your application was turned down illegally or for no good reason, or if your application file was handled in an unfair way.
Will I get my money back?
No, you can’t get your money back for the fee you paid. The fee for a UK visa is needed to cover the costs of processing your application. If your visa is denied or you decide to pull your application while it is being processed, you will not get your money back.
Also, if your first application for a UK visa is turned down, you will have to pay the fee again when you try again.
Can I get a UK visa if I’ve been in trouble with the law?
Even if you have been a criminal in the past, the UK authorities will still take your UK visa application and process it. But the Home Office will look at your application differently than it looks at applications from people who have never been convicted of a crime.
In these situations, the length of your sentence and how much time has passed since then are very important. If you have been jailed for:
4 or more years.
One to four years, unless at least ten years have passed since the sentence ended.
Less than a year, unless at least five years have gone by since the sentence ended.
Your application will also be rejected right away if you have been convicted of or admitted to a crime for which you received a non-custodial sentence or an out-of-court settlement in the 12 months before your application is decided.
Should I tell the police about myself?
If your visa sticker says “Police registration” or “Register with police within 7 days of entry,” you must register with the police once you have a valid visa and are in the UK.
After you get to the UK, you have seven days to go to the police to get registered. Keep in mind that if you don’t register with the police, your visa may become invalid and you may have to leave the UK.
With a valid visa, can I go abroad while I’m in the UK?
People with UK visas can go abroad while they are in the UK. But, depending on where they are from and why they are travelling, they may have to meet other requirements.