Whether you’re looking to visit the UK for a short holiday, apply for a student visa, move to or retire to the UK, or simply enjoy an extended visit to your second home – we will help you understand the different types of UK visas, which UK visa you will need and how to apply for your visa.
Different Types of UK Visas
- Visit the UK as a Standard Visitor – Issued to applicants for leisure, tourism, visit to family or friends, business activities, study course, medical treatment and other permitted activities. The UK Standard Visitor Visa is valid for six (6) months and can be extended in special circumstances such as receiving medical treatment. This is the most common and popular UK visa issued for short visits. The UK visa fees are as follows:
- Standard Visitor visa INR 10,299/- (6 months validity)
- 2 year long-term Standard Visitor visa INR 34,649/- (6 months stay per visit)
- 5 year long-term Standard Visitor visa INR 61,749/- (6 months stay per visit)
- 10 year long-term Standard Visitor visa INR 76,999/- (6 months stay per visit)
- Visit the UK for a Permitted Paid Engagement – Issued to applicants who have been invited as an expert in their profession by a UK-based organisation or client. This visa is valid for up to one (1) month and cannot be extended. The applicant will have to prove that the event or engagement relates to their expertise, qualifications and main job in their home country
- Visa to pass through the UK in transit – Issued to applicants passing through the UK to another country. There are two types of UK transit visas: Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) and Visitor in Transit Visa. If the applicant will be changing flights in the UK and not be going through UK border control, they can apply for a Direct Airside Transit Visa. if they’ll be going through UK border control but leaving the UK within 48 hours, they must apply for a Visitor in Transit Visa. If they’ll be staying longer in the UK, they must apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.
- Marriage Visitor Visa – Issued to applicants who want to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK and are not planning to stay or settle in the UK after their marriage or civil partnership. If the applicant wants to convert their civil partnership into a marriage – they can apply for a Standard Visitor visa. The applicant can use this visa to visit the UK for up to six (6) months.
- Visit the UK in a Chinese Tour Group – Issued to a Chinese citizen who wants to visit the UK as part of a tour group through the approved destination status agreement (ADS). The tour group must include a minimum of 5 people and be organised by an ADS licensed Chinese tour operator. This category visa is valid for up to 30 days only.
- Student Visa – Issued to students (above 16 years old) who have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor. The UK student visa is valid for up to five (5) years depending upon the degree level. If it’s below degree level, the student can usually stay in the UK for up to two (2) years. This visa can be extended or switched to a Graduate visa after successfully completing the course.
- Child Student Visa – Issued to students (between 4 and 17 years old) who want to study at an independent school and have an unconditional offer of a place on a course at the respective school in the UK. The length of stay depends on the student’s age on the date of application and the length of the course. For instance, students under 16 years can stay up to six (6) years plus 4 months afterwards, whereas students above 16 years can stay up to three (3) years plus 4 months afterwards.
- Study English in the UK – This is a short-term study visa issued to study English language for up to 11 months in the UK. An applicant can stay in the UK for the length of their course plus an extra 30 days as long as their stay is no longer than 11 months.
Short-Term Work Visas:
- Temporary Work – Charity Worker Visa – Issued to applicants who wish to undertake unpaid voluntary work for a charity. The visa is valid for a maximum of 12 months, or the time on the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.
- Temporary Work – Creative Worker Visa – Issued to applicants who want to work as a creative worker, for example as an actor, dancer, musician, entertainer or film crew member. This visa is valid for a maximum of up to 12 months, or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter.
- Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange Visa – Issued to applicants who want to visit the UK for a short time for work experience or to undergo training, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme or participate in an Overseas Government Language Programme. This visa is valid for up to 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme they’ve applied for) or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.
- Temporary Work – International Agreement Visa – Issued to applicants who have been contracted to do work covered by international law or treaty while in the UK. For instance, working for the foreign government or as a private servant in a diplomatic household or providing a service under contract as a contractual service supplier or independent professional.
- Temporary Work – Religious Worker Visa – Issued to applicants who want to undertake religious work in a non-pastoral role or religious order. This visa is valid for up to a maximum of 24 months, or the time on the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days – whichever is shorter.
- Temporary Work – Seasonal Worker Visa – Issued to applicants who want to visit the UK to work in ‘edible horticulture’ for up to six (6) months – for example, picking fruits and vegetables.
- Youth Mobility Scheme Visa – Issued to applicants who want to live and work in the UK for up to two (2) years, are aged 18 to 30, have £2,530 in savings and have certain types of British Nationality or are from certain countries or territories (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Monaco, San Marino, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan). With this visa, one can live and work in the UK for up to 24 months. Please note, the Youth Mobility Visa does not cover the India Young Professionals scheme.
- Graduate Visa – Issued to applicants who wish to stay in the UK for at least two (2) years after successfully completing a course in the UK. If they have a PHD or other doctoral qualification, it will last for three (3) years. After expiry of the visa, one cannot extend a Graduate visa. However, they may be able to switch to a different visa, for example a Skilled Worker visa.
To apply for the above short-term visas, the eligibility requirements are:
- You must be 18 years or above;
- A certificate of sponsorship and reference number from the UK sponsor;
- Sufficient money to support yourself in the UK, at least £1,270 for most visas (unless you’re exempt).
Investor, Business Development and Talent Visas:
- Innovator Visa – Issued to applicants who want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK. The business idea must be something that’s different from anything else on the market and has to be endorsed by an approved body, also known as an endorsing body. The applicant must have at least £50,000 in investment funds to apply for an Innovator visa if they want to set up a new business. This visa is valid for two (2) years.
- Start-Up Visa – Issued to applicants who want to set up and run an innovative business in the UK. The business idea must be something that’s different from anything else on the market. Applicant must be endorsed by either a a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs. This visa is valid for two (2) years.
- Global Talent Visa – Issued to applicants who are a leader or potential leader in academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology. Before applying for the Global Talent visa, an applicant needs to have either won an eligible award or successfully applied for an endorsement to prove that they are a leader or potential leader in the respective field. This visa is valid for up to five (5) years.
- Entrepreneur Visa (Tier 1) – This visa is no more available. If an applicant wants to set up or run a business in the UK they may be able to apply for an Innovator visa or a Start-up visa.
- Investor visa (Tier 1) – Issued to applicants who want to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK.
Other Work Visas and Exemptions:
- UK Ancestry Visa – Issued to applicants who are either a Commonwealth citizen, a British overseas citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British national (overseas) or a citizen of Zimbabwe. They must also prove that one of their grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. With this type of visa, one can stay in the UK for five (5) years. The UK Ancestry Visa permits an applicant to study, work (paid or voluntary) or bring their partner or child to the UK.
- Get an exempt vignette – Applicants who do not need a visa to work in the UK because they’re exempt from immigration control can apply for Get an Exempt Vignette. For instance, a diplomat, or working for a diplomatic mission in the UK, and they were outside the UK when offered the post or an overseas government minister on official business, or travelling with one as part of their job or a member of Commonwealth or Overseas Territories armed forces posted in the UK or training in the UK or a head of state, or working for a head of state (eg. on a state visit) or exempt from immigration control for any other reason. Some family members may also be able to get an Exempt Vignette.
- Frontier Worker Permit – Issued to applicants who want to work in the UK but live in another country. The eligibility criteria is, they’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, they live outside of the UK and they began working in the UK by 31 December 2020.
- British National (Overseas) Visa – Also known as BNO Visa, this visa is issued to applicants who are from Hong Kong and are a British National (Overseas). It allows an applicant to work, live and study in the UK. This visa is valid for up to five (5) years and can be extended if the applicant wishes to stay longer.
- Overseas Domestic Worker Visa – Issued to applicants to visit the UK with their employer if they live outside the UK, are a domestic worker in a private household and have worked for their employer for at least one (1) year. Domestic workers include cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, nannies and those providing care for the employer and their family. The applicant can stay in the UK with the employer for up to six (6) months.
- Representative of an Overseas Business Visa – Issued to applicants who are the sole representative of an overseas business planning to set up either a UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary, or an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK. This visa lets an applicant stay in the UK for an initial period of three (3) years and can be extended for another two (2) years.
- Turkish Businessperson Visa – Applicants who have special visa to stay in the UK as a Turkish Businessperson can apply for this visa. This visa is valid for up to three (3) years and can be extended as many times as they like, as long as all eligibility requirements are met.
- Turkish Worker Visa – An applicant can apply to extend their Turkish Worker visa if they already have permission to stay in the UK as a Turkish Worker.
- Apply for a Service providers from Switzerland Visa – Issued to those working for a company based in Switzerland and their employer needs them to work on a pre-existing contract in the UK.
Issued to applicants who want to live with a family member in the UK for more than six (6) months. A Family visa can be applied to live with their spouse or partner, fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, child, parent or relative who’ll provide long-term care for the applicant. The applicant must live in the UK for a certain amount of time before they’re eligible for settlement (‘indefinite leave to remain’). In some circumstances the applicant cannot apply for, or switch to, a family visa. For instance, you cannot apply for a family visa if your family member is in the UK temporarily on a work visa or student visa or if your family is on a UK visitor visa, they usually need to leave the UK to apply for a UK family visa. The processing period for a UK family visa is up to 12 weeks when applying from outside the UK.
Long-Term Work Visas:
- Skilled Worker Visa – Issued to applicants to work in the UK with an approved employer. This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. This visa is valid for up to five (5) years and can be extended accordingly.
- Health and Care Worker Visa – Issued to medical professionals to visit the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.
- Intra-Company Visas – Issued to applicants to do an eligible job at their employer’s UK branch. There are two types of Intra-company visas: Intra-company Transfer Visa and Intra-company Graduate Trainee Visa. The maximum total stay allowed for an Intra-company Transfer visa is up to ten (9) years in a 10-year period, whereas the maximum total stay allowed for an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa is up to five (5) years in a 6-year period.
- Minister of Religion Visa (T2) – Issued to applicants who’ve been offered a job within a faith community (for example as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK. This visa is valid for up to three (3) years and one (1) month, or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.
- International Sportsperson Visa – Issued to an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who’s recognised by their sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of their profession internationally and if their sport’s governing body is endorsing the visa application. This visa has replaced the Sportsperson (T2) visa and the sporting part of the Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa (T5). With this visa, one can stay for up to three (3) years and extend as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.
How to apply for your UK Visa
You can apply for your UK visa at the nearest UK VFS application center in your country. To do this, identify your visa type, fill out the application form, pay the visa fee and schedule a visa appointment all at once online and thereafter visit the UK VFS with the essential documents on the appointment date for submitting your visa application and Biometrics (digital photograph and fingerprint scan). After a successful submission and positive examination of your documents, you will receive your passport and visa back from the British High Commission within the set time frame.
Considering the complexities in getting a UK visa, if you want to use the services of a travel agent to help you with your visa application, make sure they are a competent and experienced agent. This protects you.
Why choose our Visa Experts for your UK visa application?
Established in 1978, we have a deep understanding of the UK Immigration laws and associated regulations. We will understand your requirements, review your travel history, advise you on what documents are required, the correct procedures to follow, and ensure that your application is completed and prepared correctly and in order before submission to the British High Commission.
We provide free visa consultations initially as we understand that your trip to the UK is very dear to you and you need to be sure that you are choosing the right travel agent. We welcome you to talk to us.
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