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Visitors come to the UK for a variety of temporary reasons.  Some may come to visit family or sight-see.  Others may want to do business in the UK, receive private medical treatment here or get married here.

Visit visa application process

The visit visas and the requirements differ depending on the reason for the visit and so type of visa sought.

All visitors need to meet the validity, eligibility and suitability requirements for the category they are applying in and satisfy the genuine visitor requirement.

Apart from undertaking limited permitted activities or unless their visit visa particularly specifies this, visitors cannot work or study in the UK or receive medical treatment or get married here.

Non-visa nationals

Nationals of some countries don’t need to fill a visit visa application before visiting the UK and can seek entry on arrival, for example, EU nationals.

On arrival, they must be able to confirm to Border Force officers that they meet the requirements to enter the UK as a visitor, in particular, that the purpose of their trip meets the eligibility requirements.

Visa nationals

People from other countries must obtain a visit visa before they travel to the UK. They must apply for a visit visa ahead of travelling to the UK.

It is important that to ensure that an application is made on the correct basis and that the necessary evidence is provided to ensure the best chance of success.

Visiting family or friends or for a holiday

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa to the UK for personal use, this could be to visit family or friends or go sightseeing.

Visitors can undertake voluntary work for a registered charity for up to 30 days.

They can also study for up to 6 months at an accredited institution that is not state-funded. They must provide evidence of having been accepted on a course ahead of travelling.

Business Visitors

Business Visitors can come to the UK to undertake permitted business activities.

The activities that can be undertaken are specified in the Immigration Rules and include:

  • attending meetings and conferences, trade fairs and site visits
  • training and skills-sharing by an employee of an overseas company with a UK branch
  • installing, repairing or servicing equipment where there is a contract between an overseas company and a UK customer
  • delivering or collecting goods as a driver on an international route
  • receiving or delivering work-related training
  • giving a performance or having auditions as a musician, entertainer or artist – some festivals are Permit Free
  • taking part in sports tournaments, trials or short training as a sports person

Non-visa nationals seeking entry on arrival in the UK for business reasons, such as those travelling into the UK from the EU, must be clear that the purpose of their visit is to undertake a permitted activity.

They should carry evidence of this with them to show Border Force officers, such as a service agreement between an overseas company and a UK customer.

Medical Treatment

Visitors may come to the UK to receive private medical treatment or act as organ donor.

The treatment must be arranged before travelling to the UK and evidence of it must be provided including that the costs have already been met.

Marriage or Civil Partnership

Visitor wanting to come to the UK to get married must intend to get married during their visit.

Those wishing to settle in the UK with a UK-based spouse must apply separately for a visa for this purpose from outside the UK. It is not permitted to switch to this status in the UK following marriage.

Permitted Paid Engagement

Expert in their field, for example, academics or professional performers or sportspersons, can come to the UK to undertake specific pre-arranged paid engagements for up to one month.

Transit visitor

Travellers who are passing through the UK on the way to another destination can enter for up to 48 hours.

Some visa nationals do not need to fill a visit visa application for transit ahead of travelling if they are travelling onto specific countries or hold a residence permit for other particular countries.

Our visit visa application solicitors

Our specialist team of personal immigration solicitors in Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields can advise on all types of visit visas, including initial applications and challenging refusals.

Our Fees

In accordance with rules published by the SRA, as of December 2018 all firms offering this type of work must publish details of prices and personnel undertaking the work.  Please see our dedicated fees page for more information.

Contact Us

You can talk to us by telephone on 0191 232 9547 (ext. 2307 or contact us by email at immigration.enquiries@davidgray.co.uk

Alternatively, you can book an appointment and visit us at one of our North East offices:


56 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5XU 

South Shields:

142 Fowler Street, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 1PZ

Our FAQs

How long can you stay in the UK for on a visitor visa?

Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months.

Who is a visa national?

A visa national is a person from a country who needs to obtain a visit visa before traveling to the UK.

The David Gray Visit Visa Applications Team

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