Visit the UK as a Standard Visitor (2023)

You may be able to extend your stay if you have permission to be in the UK for less than 6 months. You can extend your stay up to a total of 6 months.

You can only apply to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months if you’re:

  • a patient receiving medical treatment
  • an academic and you still meet the eligibility requirements
  • a graduate retaking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or doing a clinical attachment

You must apply to extend your stay and pay the £1000 fee regardless of your nationality.

You need to apply while you’re still in the UK and before your current visa or permission expires.


It costs:

  • £1000 to extend your stay as a Standard Visitor
  • an extra £800 if you use the super priority service

You’ll also need to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken - there’s no fee for this.

If you have permission to be in the UK for less than 6 months

You may be able to extend your stay as long as the total time you spend in the UK is no more than 6 months. You must meet the eligibility requirements and pay the £1000 fee.

For example, if you have been in the UK for 3 months, you can apply to extend your stay for 3 more months. This applies if you needed a visa to visit the UK and also if you did not need one.

(Video) UK Visitor Visa Application Process | All you need to know

If you need to stay longer for medical treatment

If you’re already in the UK, you can apply to stay for a further 6 months if you:

There is no limit on how many times you can extend your stay. It costs £1000 each time you extend.

Documents you must provide

You must get a medical practitioner or NHS consultant who’s registered in the UK to provide details of your medical condition that needs further treatment.

If you’re having treatment at an NHS hospital under a reciprocal healthcare arrangement, you will need to provide another authorisation form from your country’s government saying they will pay for your treatment.

If you need to stay longer as an academic

If you’re already in the UK and have permission to visit for less than 12 months, you can apply to stay for up to 12 months in total.

Your partner and children can apply to stay for up to 12 months too. They must have their own application and each pay the £1000 fee.

You must prove you:

  • are highly qualified in your field of expertise, for example you have a PhD or higher
  • were working in that field of expertise at an academic institution overseas prior to your arrival in the UK
  • are not filling a permanent teaching post

If you’re an academic, but not a senior doctor or dentist, you must also prove you’re visiting to do research or a formal exchange.

(Video) Gov.UK | Standard Visitor/Tourist Visa Online Application | Step by Step Process using Mobile Phone.

If you’re a senior doctor or dentist, you must also prove you’re visiting to do research, clinical practice, a formal exchange or to teach.

Before you extend your stay, check if you need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. You may need one if you’re researching certain subjects at postgraduate level or above.

If you need to stay longer to retake the PLAB test

If you’re already in the UK, you can apply to extend your stay for up to 6 months to retake the PLAB test.

You must provide written confirmation from the General Medical Council that you’re retaking the test.

If you want to do a clinical attachment or dental observer post

If you pass the PLAB test, you can apply to stay longer to do an unpaid clinical attachment or dental observer post.

You can stay in the UK for up to 18 months in total.

You must provide written confirmation:


  • of your clinical attachment offer
  • that you’ve not done a clinical attachment in the UK before

You must not treat patients.

Proving your identity and providing your documents

When you apply, you’ll be asked to make an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point to provide your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo).

You’ll also need to submit the supporting documents that prove your eligibility. You can:

  • upload your documents into the online service
  • have them scanned at your UKVCAS appointment

You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

Apply to extend your stay as a Standard Visitor

Once you’ve started your application you can save your form and complete it later.

Apply now

Continue your application

You can sign back into your application if you’ve saved it. Check your email and follow the link to return to your application.

Get help to apply online

You can get help with completing the online form if you:

(Video) Standard Visitor Visa UK Documents

  • do not feel confident using a computer or mobile device
  • do not have internet access

You can only use this service if you’re applying to extend your stay in the UK.

You cannot get immigration advice through this service.

How long it takes to get a decision

If you use the standard service, a decision will usually be made within 8 weeks of providing your supporting documents and proving your identity.

If you use the super priority service a decision will be made:

  • by the end of the next working day after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is on a weekday
  • 2 working days after your UKVCAS appointment if your appointment is at the weekend

Working days are Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.

Once you’ve got your decision letter, your biometric residence permit will take up to 10 working days to arrive.

You’ll be contacted if your application is complex and will take longer, for example:

  • if your supporting documents need to be verified
  • if you need to attend an interview
  • because of your personal circumstances (for example if you have a criminal conviction)

Once you’ve applied you can stay in the UK until you’ve been given a decision, as long as you applied before your permission to be in the UK ended.

(Video) UK Visitors Visa - Full Process Explained: UK Immigration And Visa Updates: UKVI News


How long can I stay in the UK as a standard visitor? ›

You can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor for tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months) and other permitted activities. You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You might be able to apply to stay for longer in certain circumstances, for example to get medical treatment.

Is UK standard visitor visa single entry? ›

If you need a visa, you must apply for a Standard Visitor visa before you arrive in the UK. Your visa will be multiple entry, so you can leave during breaks and return to the UK using the same visa as long as it is valid.

How long does it take to get a standard visitor visa for UK? ›

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks once you attend your appointment at the visa application centre, if you are applying for a visa to visit the UK: for a holiday or to see family or friends.

Do US citizens need a visa for UK? ›

Quick Facts. TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: Not required for stays less than six months.

How often can I visit the UK as a US citizen? ›

One of the most common UK immigration myths is that there is a maximum permitted stay of 180 days in a year (or six months in 12 months) for UK visit visa holders. This myth has been propagated not just by migrants but also by advisers and even UK Border Force staff. In reality, there is no such rule.

How many times can US citizen visit UK? ›

This means that the visa-holder can depart and re-enter the UK as many times as they want within the visa's validity period, up to a maximum of 6 months.

Is UK visitor visa difficult to get? ›

It's not easy to get the UK tourist visa, there is a long list of required documents. Check the following list : Valid passport.

Can I get UK tourist visa without interview? ›

In these cases, you can submit a written statement or provide other documentation in place of an interview. If you believe that you may be eligible to apply for a UK visa without an interview, you should contact the UK visa application centre or the British embassy or consulate in your country for more information.

How much bank balance is required for UK visa? ›

You'll need either: £1,334 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses in London. £1,023 per month (for up to 9 months) for courses outside London.

What documents do I need for UK visitor visa? ›

These include:
  • bank statements or letters issued more than 1 year before the date of application.
  • credit card statements.
  • driving licence.
  • educational certificates that are not listed as required for your visa.
  • evidence of car ownership.
  • personal photographs.
  • notarial certificates.
  • business cards.
Jan 18, 2021

Who can enter UK without visa? ›

EU , EEA and Swiss citizens can travel to the UK for holidays or short trips without needing a visa. In other cases, find out if you need to apply for a visa to enter the UK . You can cross the UK border using a valid passport which should be valid for the whole time you are in the UK .

Do I need a visa to go to UK from USA with green card? ›

Do Green Card Holders Need Visa for UK? Yes, they do. If you would normally require a visa to enter the UK, then you will have to apply for one even if you have a Green Card. Unfortunately, a Green Card does not allow the holder to enter the UK just like it does not allow them to enter the European Union.

Which countries can enter UK without visa? ›

Nationals of countries/territories who do not need a visa to enter the UK: All EU countries, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, ...

What do US citizens need to enter UK? ›

Your identity document (for example your passport or identity card) will be checked when you arrive at a UK port or airport to make sure you're allowed to come into the country. It should be valid for the whole of your stay. You may also need a visa to come into or travel through the UK, depending on your nationality.

Can I stay in the UK for 6 months and then come back? ›

You may be able to extend your stay if you have permission to be in the UK for less than 6 months. You can extend your stay up to a total of 6 months. You can only apply to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months if you're: a patient receiving medical treatment.

Can American citizen stay in UK? ›

Because Americans are known as non-visa nationals in the UK, to answer the question do American citizens need a visa for UK? They don't.

What is the 180 day rule UK? ›

If you've spent time outside the UK

You must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months. If you think you're affected by this rule, the Home Office has guidance about how to calculate your time in the UK ('continuous residence').

How can I move to UK from America permanently? ›

The following work visas offer a pathway to getting a permanent residency – or your indefinite Leave to Remain (IRL):
Get a UK Visa and Residence Permit
  1. Skilled Worker visa.
  2. Health and Care Worker visa.
  3. Intra-company visas.
  4. Minister of Religion visa (T2)
  5. International Sportsperson visa.

How many countries can a US citizen visit? ›

As of 15 July 2022, holders of a United States passport may travel to 186 countries and territories without a travel visa, or with a visa on arrival.

Why is UK tourist visa so expensive? ›

The UK visa fee system is already amongst the most expensive in the World. Charging high fees for biometric appointments, due to a shortage of appointments, makes it even more expensive and more unaffordable for migrants. There should be significant cuts in excessive fees that migrants currently have to pay.

Why would a UK tourist visa be denied? ›

Such are the cases of: Failing to present an employment and professional qualification that matches the presented financial situation. Incapacity to provide documents that support the purpose of travel and stay in the UK. The inability to offer unchanging declarations about the purpose of travel and stay.

What is the fastest way to get a UK visa? ›

If you're eligible you can choose the 'priority service' when you apply. You'll need to pay £500 in addition to the application fee. You'll get a decision within 5 working days.

Can I walk in for UK visa? ›

Walk In Without Appointment*

If you need to submit your visa application on an urgent basis, walk into our Visa Application Centre and opt for this service. VFS Global will process your visa application without a pre-booked appointment.

Can you be denied entry to UK? ›

It's not uncommon for travellers to be refused entry to the UK at the border. Even if you are entitled to visa-free travel to the UK, or if have been granted a UK visa in advance of travel, you're not guaranteed entry into the country.

What is the difference between visitor visa and tourist visa in UK? ›

A UK visitor visa - also known as a UK tourist visa - enables people to visit the UK for business, leisure, to get private medical treatment or donate an organ. This type of visa is popular for individuals who wish to come to the UK for tourism, business, or visiting their family members.

Does UK Immigration check your bank account? ›

You must ensure that your funds are not held in an institution that the UK Visas and Immigration Agency are unable to verify. You can find the Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration list of acceptable institutions on the UK government website.

Do you need to show bank statements for UK visa? ›

Bank or building society statements must cover a 28-day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of your application. The Home Office would normally expect a banking or building society record to: be on official stationery or an electronic record.

How long does it take to get a UK visa in America? ›

The UK Visas and Immigration global service standard for processing non-settlement visas is 15 working days and 60 working days for settlement visas.

How many countries can you visit with a U.S. green card? ›

At a Glance: U.S. green card holders can travel to over 170 countries without needing a visa. Most countries will first consider your passport, not your green card. However, passport and green card together with your visa are necessary before entering the country.

Do U.S. citizens need a visa for Paris? ›

American passport holders are not required to obtain a visa prior to visiting France for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

What is the strongest passport in the world? ›

Japan has the world's most powerful passport for the 5th year in a row. Holders can visit 193 out of 227 global destinations visa-free. South Korea and Singapore are tied in 2nd place on the index, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 192.

What countries do not accept U.S. passport? ›

What countries do not accept U.S. passport? The only destination where it is forbidden for US citizens to travel to is North Korea, due to its closed border status for both US citizens and citizens of other countries.

Which countries are visa-free for USA? ›

Let's Look At The US Passport Visa-Free Countries

Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

Can I visit the UK for more than 6 months? ›

You can extend your stay up to a total of 6 months. You can only apply to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months if you're: a patient receiving medical treatment. an academic and you still meet the eligibility requirements.

How many times can I visit UK in a year? ›

There is no limit on the frequency of visits or specified maximum period visitors are allowed to spend in the UK in any 12-month period. However, if you spend more time in the UK than in your country of residence the Immigration Officer may have grounds to believe that you live in the UK.

Can I stay in the UK for 6 months leave and come back? ›

The 180 days rule myth.

For this reason, we will explain it below. Nothing prevents a person who has been granted a six-month visitor visa from staying in the UK for the entire six-month period of their visa and returning to visit the UK not long after receiving another six-month visitor visa.

How much bank balance do I need for visitor visa? ›

The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank.

How much money do I need to show for UK tourist visa? ›

There is no set level of funds required for an applicant to show this”. The main point is that the case officer needs to be satisfied that your application is genuine and the funds you have access to fit with the purpose of your visit.

What happens if I stay longer than 90 days in UK? ›

If you overstay 90 days in the EU, you risk deportation. Countries can legally imprison you, deport you, or give you a limited number of days to leave. That said, deportation is rarely enforced for a visitor who isn't attempting to work illegally or claim benefits.

How do you count 183 days in UK? ›

You spend 183 days or more in the UK in the tax year under consideration; You have a home in the UK for a period of more than 90 days and you are present in the home on at least 30 separate days (note there are further conditions in relation to this test which you should also consider);

How long can a US citizen stay in Europe? ›

With a valid U.S. passport, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. Do not overstay! You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area. To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa.

Can you work on standard visitor visa UK? ›

You cannot do paid or unpaid work for a UK company or as a self-employed person as a visitor. You'll need to apply for a work visa. If you're being paid by a UK organisation as an expert in your profession, you may get permission to visit the UK for a Permitted Paid Engagement.

What does a rolling 180 day period mean? ›

Spending your 90 days within a 180-day period— The 90 days you are allowed to spend in the Schengen zone are eligible for a 180-day period. This period is commonly referred to as a “rolling timeframe” because it's constantly moving— each day you spend in Schengen advances your 180-day period.

Is return ticket mandatory for visitor visa? ›

A valid passport and an onward or return ticket and visa are required before entering.

Does UK immigration know when you leave? ›

The coalition government committed in 2010 to reintroducing exit checks. From 8 April 2015, we will collect information on passengers leaving the UK as we do for those entering. Exit checks will provide us with vital information that confirms a person's exit from the UK.


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