UK Tourist Visa: 2021 Updated Requirements and Steps.
If you’re planning a short trip to the UK, it’s best to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. This visa serves multiple purposes including vacationing, sightseeing, and leisure activities. If you’re from a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA), this visa will let you stay in the UK for up to six months.
How to Apply
Before you dive into the application process, first check if you actually need a visa. EEA, Swiss, and Commonwealth citizens generally don’t require one. You can check your eligibility on our website.
If you do need a visa, you can start the application process by clicking here. After choosing your preferred language, you’ll be asked to enter your home country.
Make sure to tick the box that confirms you’ve checked the availability of biometric enrolment locations near you. Finally, choose “tourism, including visiting family and friends” as your reason for visit.
Step 1: Fill Out the Online Form.
To get started, you’ll need to create a user account with your email address and password. If you’ve applied before, just use your existing login information. Fill in all the required fields like your name, nationality, reason for visiting the UK, and other details. If there’s a mismatch between your form and attached documents, your application will be declined.
Step 2: Gather Required Documents.
After you’ve filled out the online form, print a copy. Next, gather all the necessary original and copied documents listed on our website.
Step 3: Book a Visa Interview.
You’ll need to set an appointment at the nearest visa center depending on where you live. A full list of centers is available on our website. Print the email confirmation of your appointment and bring it, along with your other documents, to the visa center.
Step 4: Attend the Interview.
At the visa center, you’ll provide biometric data like a digital photo and fingerprints. Hand over all the needed documents either in original or photocopy form. Some centers may keep your documents during the processing time.
Note: If you’re 18 or older, you’ll have to visit the visa center yourself. Those under 18 should come with an adult.
Step 5: Visa Outcome.
After completing the previous steps, you’ll receive a letter indicating the result of your application. A successful application gets you a sticker, known as a vignette, on your passport. If denied, you’ll get a letter stating why, but you can appeal.
Common reasons for denial include missing documents, applying for the wrong visa, or lacking sufficient financial evidence. You can appeal the decision or correct your errors and apply anew.
Validity and Extension.
A Standard Visitor Visa is generally valid for six months. Academics can get a one-year visa. If you wish to extend your stay, you can apply for an extension. For long-term stays, consider a Long-Term UK Visa, which can last two, five, or ten years.
Processing Time and Cost.
It typically takes up to three weeks to process a tourist visa. We recommend applying at least three months before your planned trip. The cost for a short-term tourist visa is £95.