Visa Information, Visa Requirements, Visa Application Guidelines, Immigration Rules and Inquiry

Visiting the United Kingdom

Note: If you wish to travel to the UK as a visitor, you are normally allowed to stay for a maximum of 6 months.
Types of Visit Visa


General Visitor - adult traveling to the UK as a tourist or to visit friends

Child Visitor - children aged under 18 years old traveling to the UK for up to 6 months (or up to 12 months if they are accompanying an academic visitor). This includes children who want to study in the UK for up to 6 months.


Family Visitor - traveling to the UK to visit members of your family:

  • spouse, civil partner, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister;
  • grandfather, grandmother, grandson or granddaughter;
  • spouse or civil partner's father, mother, brother or sister;
  • son or daughter's spouse or civil partner;
  • stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother or stepsister; or
  • a person you have been living with in a genuine and subsisting relationship, like marriage or civil partnership, for at least 2 years before the day you apply.
...the family member you are visiting must:
  • be a British citizen;
  • be settled in the UK;
  • have been granted asylum in the UK; or
  • have Humanitarian Protection status.


Business Visitor - people who want to do business in the UK for a short time. This includes academic visitors, visiting professors, overseas news media representatives and film crews on location.

Note: you may need to apply under the points-based system if you want to carry out certain work activities or receive training.

Visitors undertaking permitted paid engagements - visitors undertaking permitted paid engagements is for a defined list of visitors who are invited to come to the UK because of their particular skills and expertise. 

They may apply for up to 1 month without the need to be sponsored under the points-based sytem. The category is for visiting examiners or assessors; lecturers; overseas designated pilot examiners; qualified lawyers; and professional artists, entertainers and sportspersons.

Prospective entrepreneur - for people who are in discussions with venture capitalists or UK government departments to join, set up or take over - and be actively involved in the running of - a business in the UK. It enables them to enter the UK for a maximum of 6 months so that they can secure funding to meet the financial criteria for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) of our points-based system.

...(detailed explanation in a later post)


(4) VISITING TO STUDY (different from Student Visa)
To study in the UK for up to 6 months (or up to 11 months if you will be studying an English Language course), and you will not work while in the UK.

Student Visitor - for an adult to undertake a short course of study in the UK (such as a beginner's English Language course or a work-related training course).

If you want to study a longer course, or you want to work (including on a work placement) alongside your studies, you should apply under Tier 4 of the points-based system (Student Visa).

Student visitors are allowed to travel to the UK for 6 months (or 11 months if they will be studying an English Language course). When you enter the UK, Border controls will stamp the duration of your permission to stay in your passport. You cannot extend your stay beyond this period.

Parents of children at school - parents whose children under 12 years old are receiving their school education in the UK under Tier 4 (Child) of the points-based system. can travel to the UK as a parent of a child at school if your child is:

  • under 12 years old; and
  • attending an independent fee-paying day school under Tier 4 (Child) of the points-based system or under the student category that existed before 31 March 2009. must also be able to show that:

  • you are not seeking to make the UK your main home;
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • you have adequate and reliable funds to maintain a second home in the UK;
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • you were not last admitted to the UK under the Approved Destination Status Agreement with China; and
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey.


Sports Visitor - visiting the UK for short periods to undertake sports-related activities

You can travel to the UK as a sports visitor if you are a sportsperson who wants to:

  • take part in a specific event, tournament, or series of events (including charity events and exhibition matches) as an individual competitor or a member of an overseas team; or
  • join an amateur team as an amateur sportsperson (provided you receive no payment except for travel and other expenses);
  • make a personal appearance or take part in a promotion such as a book signing or television interview;
  • negotiate a contract or discuss a sponsorship deal;
  • take part in a trial (which must not be in front of an audience, either paying or non-paying);
  • do a short period of training, as an individual or as part of a team.


Entertainer Visitor - visiting the UK for a short time to take part in some major arts festivals, music competitions and charity events

You can travel to the UK as an entertainer visitor if you are:

  • taking part in a music competition as a professional entertainer;
  • an internationally famous person taking part in broadcasts or public appearances, provided you are not being paid;
  • taking part in an audition, provided this is not in front of an audience (either paying or non-paying);
  • an amateur entertainer coming for a specific engagement as an individual performer;
  • part of a group of amateur entertainers (such as a choir or youth orchestra) coming for a specific engagement;
  • a professional entertainer taking part in a charity concert or show, provided the organisers are not making a profit and you are receiving no fee;
  • an amateur or professional entertainer taking part in a cultural event sponsored by a government or recognised international organisation, or a major arts festival, or a cultural event or festival included in the UK Border Agency permit free festival list - see Appendix R of the Immigration Rules;
  • a member of the technical or support staff (such as a dietician, bodyguard or press officer) of amateur or professional entertainers, attending for the same event; or
  • an official (such as a choreographer, stage manager or designer) attending the same event as the entertainer.


Visitors for marriage or civil partnership - traveling to the UK to get married or register a civil partnership, and you and your partner intend to leave the country within 6 months, you can apply for a visa as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership. 

Note: If you want to live in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership ceremony, you cannot travel as a Marriage Visitor.


Visitors for private medical treatment - traveling to the UK for a short time to receive treatment for a medical condition. 

Note: You will not be able to receive treatment from the National Health Service.

For further clarification read:

- How to Apply for a UK Visa - General Visitor


- How to Apply for a UK Visa - Family Visitor


- How to Apply for a UK Visa - Business Visitor

- How to Apply for a UK Visa - Sports Visitor


- How to Apply for a UK Visa - Entertainer Visitor


- How to Apply for a UK Visa - Medical Visitor

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