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UK Visitor & Tourism Visa Specialists

Our team of qualified solicitors can offer detailed legal advice. Call our team on 0161 503 0553 for immediate legal advice for your unique circumstances.

What is a Visitor Visa?

A Visitors Visa (also known as the Standard Visitor Visa) is most often used for a short stay in the UK which allows the applicant to visit and stay in the UK for up to 6 months. After being approved for a Standard Visitor Visa, an individual can enter the UK for the following reasons: 

  • tourism or holidays

  • visiting friends and family

  • certain business activities (including attending meetings etc)

  • short courses of study

  • taking part in research

  • exchange programs for academics

  • medical reasons (receiving private medical treatment)

From 1st December 2020, the Standard Visitor Visa replaced the following types of visas that were previously available in the UK:

  • Family Visitor visa.

  • General Visitor visa.

  • Child Visitor visa.

  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists.

  • Sports Visitor visa.

  • Entertainer Visitor visa.

  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa.

  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa.

  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa.

How long can I stay in the UK on a Visitor Visa?

The standard amount of time you could be granted for a UK Visitor Visa is 6 months. This could be shorter or longer depending on your application. You might be able to stay in the UK for longer on the grounds of private medical treatment which means your stay could be extended up to 11 months. Alternatively if you are an academic and meet certain requirements, you could apply to stay for up to 12 months.


Our experienced team of immigration solicitors at MSD Solicitors will be able to provide expert legal advice on your eligibility and the documents you may need to provide in evidence to support your application.

Who is eligible for a UK Visitor Visa?

The applicant must demonstrate that is genuinely seeking to enter the UK for the purposes of a visit, tourism or short-term stay. The applicant must show that they intend to visit the UK for no more than six months and that they will leave the UK at the end of their proposed stay in the UK.

The applicant is also required to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to maintain and accommodate themselves (and any dependents) without access to public funds. 

The UK Immigration authorities must be satisfied that:

  • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;

  • You will not live in the UK for extended periods;

  • You are genuinely seeking entry as a Visitor;

  • You will not undertake any Prohibited Activities;

  • You’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip.

If I am eligible, can I still be refused a Visitor Visa?

All applications are reviewed at the discretion of the UK Immigration Authorities. This means that if they deem that your application does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, your application may be refused. At MSD Solicitors, our dedicated and experienced immigration solicitors will work closely with you to ensure you have the best chance of approval. Speak to a legal expert today to help you with your application.

What are the restrictions on a Visitor Visa?

When you enter the UK on a Visitor Visa, there are certain activities that you are not allowed to perform. These include: 

  • attempting to work in any form (including paid, unpaid or as a self-employed person)

  • live in the UK for an extended amount of time by applying for multiple Visitor Visas and frequently visiting

  • claiming public funds such as employment benefits, housing benefits or tax credits

  • attempt to attend a course of study which lasts longer than 6 months

  • give notice or attempt to marry or register a civil partnership. If you are planning on doing this, you'll need a Marriage Visitor Visa instead

What is a Marriage Visitor Visa?

A Marriage Visitor Visa is used if you are intending to register your marriage or civil partnership or intend to get married during the course of your stay in the UK. The Marriage Visitor Visa may allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months whilst you register your marriage. This type of visa is suitable for individuals who do not intend to stay or settle in the UK after getting married or registering their civil partnership. 

On a Marriage Visitor Visa, you are not allowed to: 

  • apply for or receive public funds such as benefits 

  • apply to bring in family members or dependants - they must apply separately

  • live in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits

  • extend your visa or switch to another visa

  • any form of employment including paid or unpaid work or self-employment activities - except for permitted activities related to your work or business overseas, such as attending meetings

  • study or apply for any academic course in the UK

If you think you need a Marriage Visitor Visa, get in touch with one of our experienced immigration lawyers who will be able to advise you on eligibility requirements and application processes. 

When should I apply for a Visitor Visa? How long does it take?

If you need to apply for a Visitor Visa, you must apply before you intend to travel to the UK. The earliest you can apply for a Visitor Visa is 3 months before you intend to travel. Our dedicated solicitors can help you apply for your visa and book an appointment at your local visa application centre to provide your required documents. 

Once you have applied and shared the required documentation, your decision is usually sent to you within 3 weeks. You may be able to get a faster decision on your visa, depending on which country you're in. 

How much does a Visitor Visa cost?

The application fees for Visitor Visas may vary depending on the length of time you intend to stay in the UK for. The standard fee is £95 for the application which is payable to the UK Immigration Services. 

Long-term Standard Visitor Visas may cost: 

  • 2 years - £361

  • 5 years - £655

  • 10 years - £822

These fees are separate from any immigration legal advice you may need to support your application. Take a look at our legal fees to find out how we can help. 

Can I extend my stay in the UK on a Visitor Visa?

Under specific circumstances, you may be able to extend your visa as long as the total amount of time you have spent in the UK does not exceed 6 months. For example, if you have been granted a Visitor Visa for 3 months, you might be able to extend this to 6 months. If you are eligible for this, you have to apply whilst you are still in the UK and before your visa expires.

If you want to stay for longer than 6 months, you may be eligible if you are:

  • a patient receiving private medical treatment which requires further appointments

  • an academic who needs to stay longer than your initial visa - you must demonstrate that you still meet the eligibility requirements.

  • a graduate doing a clinical attachment or retaking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test

Can I switch my Visitor Visa to another type of UK Visa?

Once you are approved for a Visitor Visa, you are not permitted to switch to another type of visa. If you need to do something other than visiting the UK for example you want to gain employment or apply for longer-term study, you will need to leave the UK and apply for the relevant visa

I need legal advice to apply for a UK Visitor Visa

MSD Solicitors are experts in immigration law and visa applications. Our team of experienced immigration solicitors can help you find out which type of Visa you need to apply for and help you submit your application. We also correspond with the relevant legal bodies and provide clarity on government guidance, processes and eligibility criteria. Our dedicated team can help you speed up your Visitor visa application by ensuring that all required documents and supporting evidence are correctly organised. Get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss your unique requirements.

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