United Kingdom Visa Types
The United Kingdom is one of the most famous destinations for travelers from all around the world. It inspires not only because of its rich culture - living in the UK is perceived as a great opportunity for growth. It provides favorable conditions for starting a new job, enrolling in a university, or starting a family. What else should you check before your journey?
What should I know about the UK visa?
A visa is a travel permit allowing entry to the UK for those who are not eligible to visit it without any other document. There are many types of visas available, depending on the purpose behind your journey.
The Common Travel Area is an agreement guaranteeing open borders between the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. It means that if you are a British or an Irish citizen, you may freely travel between these destinations only with an identity document.
What is more, if you are a citizen of the EEA (European Economic Area), the Commonwealth, or Switzerland, you are exempt from the British visa requirement. Any short-term visit requires presenting your valid passport to the immigration officers.
- Visa Waiver
To come to the UK, citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates must apply for the EVW - Electronic Visa Waiver. This single-entry travel permit is valid for 6 months, allowing travel to Britain for tourism, business, and educational purposes.
What are the UK visa types?
While traveling to Britain, you should remember to prepare suitable documentation and apply for the right visa to stay in the UK.
The Standard Visitor Visa is valid for 6 months and grants foreign nationals entry to the UK for reasons including relaxing on holidays, meeting with relatives, participating in business events, taking part in short study courses, and undergoing medical procedures. The Visitor Visas do not allow any paid or unpaid work. Moreover, if you would like to get married in the UK, you should apply specifically for the Marriage Visitor Visa.
The Work Visa is intended for those who wish to perform work in Britain. Its requirements feature a job offer from a company registered in the UK, a Certificate of Sponsorship, and good knowledge of the English language. There are many subcategories of the Work Visa, differentiating the types of performed work. The most popular ones are Skilled Worker Visa, Temporary Worker Visa, Innovator Visa, and Investor Visa.
If you travel to the UK with the intention of enrolling in an educational course, you should obtain a Student Visa. The three major subcategories are the Short-Term Study Visa (valid for 11 months), the Standard Student Visa (allowing for a longer stay), and the Child Student Visa (intended for minors aged 4-17). To require this travel permit, collect the following documents: a study offer from an educational facility registered in Britain, a certificate declaring your good command of English, and proof of sufficient financial funds.
The Family Visa was created to facilitate travel for those whose spouse, partner, or a family member living in the UK has British citizenship. Its subcategories, differentiating the character of your stay, include the Spouse Visa, the Unmarried Partner Visa, and the Fiancé Visa. After residing in the UK for an extensive amount of time, you may apply for the ILR, the Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The Transit Visa is required while you visit the British port of entry on your way to another destination. To obtain this permit, you must prove that you possess the funds to continue your journey and that you may legally enter the default country.
What are the basic UK visa requirements?
Whether you have decided to personally visit the British Embassy or fill in the electronic application form first, the requirements are the same for all applicants. To proceed with the registration, you will be asked for the following:
- two formal photographs in color
- passport with at least 3-months validity at the moment you leave the UK
- proof of accommodation
- proof of good financial standing
- proof of visa fee payment
- completed travel itinerary
Moreover, on your arrival at the chosen port of entry, the border control officers will require certain documents: a valid passport, a landing card, and a visa permit.
How does the UK visa application process look?
You may apply for a UK visa at the British Embassy in your country, however, it is much more convenient to start the registration process online. However, the application is not fully remote, and you will still be asked to participate in a visa interview. Follow these few steps and enjoy your journey to the UK:
- Find out if you need a UK visa and choose the suitable visa type
- Fill in the online visa application form
- Gather the necessary documentation
- Schedule an appointment at the Embassy
- Participate in a visa interview at the Embassy
- Receive your visa confirmation
The application form you need to complete is a questionnaire including inquiries about your full name, nationality, marital status, passport number, personal number, and the purpose of the travel. Providing this information is mandatory to be allowed entry to the UK.
For how long is the UK visa valid?
The standard short-term visa allows multiple entries to the UK for half a year. The long-term visa categories, describing specific circumstances of the visit, may be issued for 2, 5, or 10 years. However, in this case, each visit cannot be longer than 6 months.