The Standard Visitor Visa is the most common and popular UK visa for Indians to travel to the United Kingdom for tourism, business or visiting family or friends.

In this article, we explain the essential information you will need to apply for a UK visa from India.

What is Standard visitor visa? The UK visa eligibility criteria, the UK visa document requirements, the UK visa fees, validity, processing time and duration of stay in UK, the UK VFS application centers and UK visa status.

Standard Visitor Visa Overview:

A Standard Visitor Visa is issued to applicants who wish to travel to the United Kingdom for a short period of time (six months or less). It is issued for tourism, family visits, business activities, medical treatment, participation in events or other short term purposes.

Earlier, the British High Commission use to issue different types of short terms UK visas on the basis of travel type. Now, the Standard Visitor Visa has replaced the UK Tourist Visa, Family Visitor Visa, General Visitor Visa, Child Visitor Visa, UK Business Visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists, Sports Visitor Visa, Entertainer Visitor Visa, Prospective Entrepreneur Visa, Private Medical Treatment Visitor Visa and Approved Destination Status (ADS) Visa.

A standard visitor visa holder is allowed to engage in the following activities during his / her stay in the UK:

  • Tourism or sightseeing
  • Holiday or vacation in the UK
  • Visit family or friends
  • Undertake business related activities such as meeting, conference or training
  • Participate in music, sports, social or similar events
  • Volunteer with a registered charity
  • Take part in school exchange programme
  • Undertake short courses of study
  • Do academic research  
  • Receive medical treatment

On a standard visitor visa, some of the activities an applicant is not permitted to do:

  • Take up a job (paid or unpaid work)
  • Run a business or undertake undeclared business activities
  • Direct selling of good /services
  • Live for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • Switch immigration status while in UK
  • Receive private medical care
  • Get married on a visitor visa

UK Tourist Visa Eligibility Requirements:

The UK Government wants to ensure that the applicant will return back to their home country after the end of their UK trip, so it is necessary to prove your strong ties with India. Strong ties can be in the form of current employment, financial savings, personal assets and properties and family dependents.

Applicants for UK visa in India must prove that they are a ‘genuine visitor’. This means:

  • The applicant is genuinely seeking to enter the United Kingdom for a limited period of time as mentioned in the application.
  • The applicant will leave the UK at the end of the trip.
  • If visiting family or friends or for business purpose, the applicant has a genuine professional or personal relationship with the host.
  • The applicant has sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents (spouse, children, in-laws) during the entire trip.
  • The applicant has a well-established stable life in their home country.
  • The applicant is not using the UK standard visitor visa as a means for extended stays to live in UK through extensions or multiple successive visits.
  • The applicant has proof of any business, medical or other activities they wish to undertake while in the UK.
  • The applicant will not work in UK for a remuneration or for free.

UK Visa Fees:

Your UK visa fee depends on the type of visa you apply for and the intended duration of your stay in UK. Below is the visa cost:

  • Standard Visitor visa : INR 10,299/- (6 months stay)
  • 2 year long-term Standard Visitor visa : INR 34,649/- (6 months per visit)
  • 5 year long-term Standard Visitor visa : INR 61,749/- (6 months per visit)
  • 10 year long-term Standard Visitor visa : INR 76,999/- (6 months per visit)

UK Visa Validity and duration of stay:

A Standard visitor visa is a multiple entry short-stay visa issued for a validity of 6 months. Applicants can stay for up to 6 months in the United Kingdom. If an applicant needs to visit the UK frequently over a lengthy period, they may apply for a long-term Standard visitor visa that is issued for two (2), five (5) or ten (10) years, with a limit of 6 months on each visit, i.e. even though the visa validity is longer, the holder will be able to stay for a maximum of six (6) months on every visit to the UK.

UK Visa Processing Time:

The UK High Commission generally takes the decision within a time period of 15 to 20 calendar days. It can take longer if additional information is required or an interview is required or if it’s the peak travel season.

When to apply for a UK visa from India:

Applicants should make sure they submit their application within the given time frame.:

  • The earliest: Three (3) months before the intended date of travel to the UK.
  • The latest: Three (3) weeks before the intended date of travel.
  • We recommend that you apply at least four (4) weeks prior to your trip.

UK Tourist Visa Requirements:

The general requirements for Standard visitor visa are as follow:

  • Duly completed online application form
  • Valid passport + Old passports if any
  • UK Visa fee
  • Proof of finances: bank statements, fixed deposits, personal assets, property documents, investment documents etc
  • Proof of accommodation for the entire stay: Hotel details or residential address of the friend or relative in UK
  • Evidence of stable employment in India: Leave letter, pay slips, employee ID. If self employed: business documents. If freelancer: copy of professional certification, contract copy. If retired: pension book. If student: School / college / institution ID
  • Flight ticket reservation. Tentative plan with intended travel dates
  • Itinerary of the trip: Places to visit, intended dates of travel, business schedule etc.
  • If visiting family or friends in the UK: Invitation letter, passport copy and contact details of the person inviting in UK
  • In the case of sponsorship from spouse, parents or guardian: Sponsorship letter from the sponsor, bank documents of the sponsor, passport copy of the sponsor
  • In the case of sponsorship from UK: Sponsorship letter from the UK host, bank statement, passport copy, address and phone number of the host
  • For business travel: Letter of invitation from host company, Covering letter from Indian company, company registration etc.
  • For medical treatment: Letter from the Hospital and other related documents
  • For attending sports / music / social events: Invitation letter and other related documents.

How to apply:

The UK visa application must be made online. As part of your application for a UK visa, you will have to submit your biometrics at the VFS Global visa application center. Every family member (including children and infants) planning to travel to the UK should also file a separate application. There is no personal interview required but the British High Commission reserves the right to call applicants for face-to-face interview if it sees fit.

UK Visa Application and Submission:

The UK High Commission in India does not handle the collection and release of the United Kingdom visa applications. To submit the application documents for a UK visa, you are required to lodge your application and biometric capture in person at the UK Visa Application Centre i.e. VFS Global centers in India.

Result of your UK Visa Application:

Applicants will be notified by e-mail and short messaging service (SMS) when the application has been processed. Either, the applicant’s passport can be picked up at the UK Visa Application Centre (VFS) where the application was lodged, or can be delivered by a courier service, if the applicant has opted for this alternative. You can also track your visa application status online. Use the Reference Number present on the invoice/receipt issued by the Visa Application Centre along with your last name to access this service.

Why should you hire a travel agent for your UK visa application?

Admittedly, the UK visa application process can be very lengthy, complex and confusing. It is a complicated process especially for first-time applicants who are not familiar with the procedure. We strongly recommend hiring the services of a reliable travel agent for a successful visa application. An experienced travel agent will have in-depth knowledge of the UK Immigration laws and policies and can prepare the visa application accordingly, optimizing the chances of positive results.

Why not let our Visa Experts support you throughout your UK Visa process?

Our visa services include:

  • Expert consultation.
  • Error-free application process.
  • Complete review of your visa file.
  • Fill the application form online.
  • Book visa appointment at UK VFS.
  • Provide comprehensive checklist of documentation.
  • Accurate preparation of the visa application.
  • Full Support till the end of the visa application has been a part of the travel industry for over 40 years. We are an experienced team of Visa Experts, at your service, to meet your specific visa requirements and we will work with you every step of the way until your visa is granted. You can always contact us for a free consultation session and we can guide you on how to go about the entire visa application process.

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