In this article, we are going to discuss:
1. Where you can find the latest UK visitor visa application form; and
2. 45 other things that you should know before submitting your UK visitor visa application.
#1 Where can I find the UK Visitor visa application form in 2020?
On this page, you should see a big green button that says ‘Apply now‘.
By accessing the UK visitor visa application using the above method, you will ensure that you are using the most up-to-date UK visitor visa online application.
#2 Is the UK visitor visa application form the same for all UK visitor visa applications?
Yes. The UK visitor visa online application is the same whether you are applying for:
- A standard 6 month UK visitor visa;
- A long-term UK visitor visa;
- A family visitor visa; or
- Other UK visitor visa types.
#3 Do I have to submit the visitor visa UK application form online?
All application forms must be submitted online (unless you are applying from North Korea, in which case, there is a paper-based UK visitor visa application form).
#4 Do I need an immigration lawyer to complete the visitor visa UK application form?
You do not need an immigration lawyer to complete the online application form.
In fact, thousands of applicants process their own visas without any assistance of an immigration lawyer.
With this being said, it is worth stressing that you should carefully read Appendix V of the Immigration Rules.
Appendix V will also detail the conditions of this visa and the activities you are permitted to undertake.
We also would recommend reading the free UK visitor visa articles (such as this one) that we have on this website. This is because we talk about best practices that you should follow when submitting a UK visitor visa application in order to submit the strongest application possible.
What will happen if I do not meet the Immigration Rules as they relate to a UK visitor visa?
Not meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules is likely to result in your application being refused.
If your UK visitor visa application is refused, unfortunately, you will lose all the UK visitor visa fees that you paid.
In addition to this, having a visa refusal will appear on your immigration record and subsequent applications may take longer to process as a result.
In light of this, we would strongly recommend reading our UK visitor visa requirements in 2020 guidance.
#5 How do I submit a valid UK visitor visa application?
To submit a valid application, Paragraph 34 of the Immigration Rules must be complied with.
This states that, for an application to be valid, it must:
- Be made on the correct application form, or using the correct online method;
- Have all of the mandatory sections of the form completed;
- Be accompanied with payment of all of the corresponding fees;
- Be accompanied with an accepted proof of identity, such as a passport;
- Be made under the relevant Immigration Rules;
- Include the applicant’s biometric information;
- Include the written consent of parent(s)/guardian(s) if the applicant is under 18 years old;
- Be signed where indicated.
What happens if I do not submit a valid application?
If you do not submit a valid application, then your application will likely be treated as if it was not submitted in the first place.
In some cases, your application will simply be refused.
The third possible outcome is that the Home Office may exercise flexibility and offer you the opportunity to rectify your mistake.
#6 When, technically, is the UK visitor visa application form submitted?
The visa application form will be submitted on the date that the Home Office fees are paid.
For a detailed breakdown of the fees and costs that you will have to make, check out our UK visitor visa fees and costs in 2020 article.
#7 Is it OK if I start a new UK visitor visa application by creating a new account?
As long as you have not submitted the application form (by paying the Home Office fees), it is absolutely fine to create a new account in order to create a fresh UK visitor visa application.
#8 What if the question on the UK visitor visa application form is unclear or ambiguous?
If you are unsure how to answer a question on the visa application form, we would suggest that you answer to the best of your ability and expand on the answers in a covering letter.
This is especially the case because the UK visitor visa online application form only allows a certain number of characters per answer and this may not be enough for you to properly explain circumstances particular to your application.
In any event, submitting a covering letter is something that is absolutely recommended as it will likely increase the chances of a successful UK visitor visa application.
Our sample letter for a UK tourist visa application article will provide you with a good template that you can use.
#9 What will happen if I input inaccurate information on the application form (even by mistake)?
Your application may be refused under the general grounds of refusal if the decision maker considers that you have given, whether or not to your knowledge:
- False information, representations or documents have been submitted in relation to the application (including false information submitted to any person to obtain a document used in support of the application); or
- There has been a failure to disclose material facts in relation to the application.
This is because the Home Office caseworker may feel that you have intentionally deceived them.
Therefore, if you make a mistake on your application form, there are two options:
- You withdraw the application and submit a fresh one; or
- You clarify the position in the supporting letter that you submit as part of the application.
#10 What if I do not know an answer to a question on the application form?
If you do not know an answer to a question, it is generally advised that you answer honestly to the best of your ability and then expand on this in the letter of support.
#11 Can someone other than the applicant complete the UK visitor visa application on their behalf?
In many cases, a legal representative completes the application on behalf on an applicant, with their knowledge and consent.
In other cases, it is a family member of friend that completes the application on behalf of an applicant – usually because they have a better grasp of English (or the Immigration Rules) than the person applying.
Both cases are fine – in reality, a majority of UK visitor visa applications are completed by someone other than the applicant. In such as case, they normally complete the UK visitor visa application as if they were the applicant.
#12 Will I receive a confirmation email after submitting the UK visitor visa application?
You will normally receive a confirmation email after submitting your UK visitor visa application.
However, this is not always the case, which is highly inconvenient, I know!
#13 Will a UK visitor visa allow me to work in the UK?
Under Appendix V, you will not be permitted to work in the UK.
However, you are permitted to undertake general business activities. These are fully outlined in Appendix 3 of the visitor guidance and include:
- Attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews
- Carry out site visits and inspections
- Negotiate and sign deals and contracts
- Provide training and trouble shoot business related matters
#14 Can I extend a UK visitor visa?
If you are already in the UK on a valid visitor’s visa, you may be able to extend your stay in certain circumstances, for example if you are receiving private medical treatment, you may be able to extend for a further 6 months as long as you continue to meet certain eligibility criteria.
This official guidance explains in detail under what conditions you can extend your visitor’s visa.
You must apply for an extension before your current visa expires.
Applications must be made from within the UK and be made online at this link.
The fees are as follows:
- £993 to extend a visitor’s visa
- £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.
- If you opt to have your visa decision by the next working day following your UKVCAS appointment, this super priority service costs an extra £800.
As long as you applied for an extension before your current visa expires, you are entitled to stay in the UK until a decision is made on your application (because of Section 3C leave).
#15 How much will this visa cost in 2020?
As we discuss in our UK visitor visa fees and costs in 2020 article, the cost of a visitor visa depends entirely on the duration and type of visitor visa that you apply for.
The table below sets out the current fees:
|Length of visa
|Standard 6 month visit visa
|Standard 2 year visit visa
|Standard 5 year visit visa
|Standard 10 year visit visa
|Short term student studying English language for more than 6 months but not more than 11 months
|Private medical treatment visa – more than 6 months but not more than 11 months
|Short term student visa (up to 6 months)
|Visiting academic – more than 6 months but no more than 12 months
#16 When is the UK visitor visa fee paid?
Once all of the questions on the online application form have been completed, the next stage is payment and this will be taken online as part of the application form process.
#17 Is the Home Office fee paid on the online application form?
Yes. The UK visitor visa online application form will automatically take you to a payment page which will allow you to pay online via card.
Once the fee is paid, you will then be allowed to make an appointment at the visa application centre. The appointment booking is also done on the website.
#18 Will I receive a refund if my online application form is refused?
No. Unfortunately, if your application is refused, you will not be eligible for any form of refund.
#19 Can someone other than the applicant pay for the online application form fee?
Yes. Someone other than the person applying for the visa may pay the online application form fee as long as they hold sufficient funds and a valid credit/debit card.
It is quite often the case that banks reject the payment for UK visa fees. This is because it is sometimes the case that payments are flagged as part of the bank’s fraud detention measures.
If this happens, this issue can normally be addressed if the account holder contacts their bank and let them know that it is not a fraudulent payment and that they do indeed authorise the payment.
#20 Will the online application form fee increase?
The answer is very likely yes.
The online application form fee usually increases in March or April of every year.
#21 When should I start learning the UK visitor visa requirements?
It is important that you familiarise yourself with the UK visitor visa requirements in 2020 early on in the process.
This will prevent a rushed application that does not sufficiently address the Home Office caseworkers potential concerns – thereby reducing the likelihood of a successful application.
In addition to this, by preparing early, you will have adequate time to gather the best supporting evidence for the visit visa application – some of which may take some time to acquire.
#22 What are the requirement for this visa?
For a detailed account of the UK visitor visa requirements, check out this article here.
In summary, however, in order to meet the requirements of a visitor’s visa, your application must satisfy these general requirements:
- You propose to undertake a permissible activity, as outlined in Appendix V of the Immigration Rules, for a period not exceeding 6 consecutive months
- You are able to maintain and accommodate yourself, and any dependents, for the duration of your trip from resources at your disposal without employment or recourse to public funds
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit and will be able to cover the costs of your onward travel
- Your application does not fall for general grounds for refusal – (for example previously overstaying in the UK illegally)
#23 Will the online application website discuss the UK visitor visa requirements in detail?
Unfortunately, no. The online application website will not discuss the UK visitor visa requirements in detail.
It is therefore important that you do not rely solely on the UK visitor visa online application or the official gov.uk page as a source of information.
The best approach to take will be to read Appendix V as well as other useful resources (such as this website!).
In particular, reading this UK visitor visa article will put you in a better position to submit a strong application.
#24 How long will it take the Home Office to process the application?
In general, allow three working weeks for standard processing of your visitor visa application.
Be aware that processing times can take longer depending on the particular circumstances of your application, or if you submit your application during peak travel times – generally around school holidays.
This is particularly important to bear in mind when making travel arrangements.
The UK visitor visa visa processing times will also vary depending on whether you apply using a priority decision service or not.
#25 What are the different priority decision services?
Depending on where the UK visitor visa is being submitted from, you may have the option to speed up the decision making process by opting to pay for one of the priority services offered by VFS or TLS.
The following are the three different level of services that are generally available
- A standard service where your application will be decided within the normal timescale of 3 weeks;
- A “priority service”. This will normally reduce the process time to 5 working days; or
- A “super priority” service. This will normally reduce the process time to the next working day.
#26 Is there an English language requirement for this application?
Unlike a UK spouse visa, there is no English language requirement for the visitor visa application.
#27 Do I need to take and submit a valid TB test for this application?
Those applying for a 6 month standard visitor visa will not need to submit a Tuberculosis (TB) test as part of their application.
This is because you will only need to provide a TB test if you are applying to come to the UK for more than 6 months and are resident in the countries that are listed here.
#28 Is it possible for me to appeal a refused visit visa application?
Generally, if your visitor visa application is refused, you have no right to appeal against the decision.
However, you can always seek the advice of a solicitor or an immigration advisor, as each application is different.
#29 Will I have an interview as part of the UK visitor visa process?
A decision maker may wish to interview you, or your sponsor, or request any further information or clarifications.
It is also important to note that if you refuse to attend an interview when requested, or if you are asked to provide additional information within the stated time period and fail to do so without reasonable cause, then your application can be refused purely because of this.
#30 What documents will I have to submit as part of the application?
We have provided a helpful article that discusses the required documents for a UK visitor visa application in 2020 here.
#31 What are considered permissible activities under the general visitor’s visa?
As a visitor, you are allowed to undertake a number of activities.
The list below offers a general overview of permitted activities, but it is not an exhaustive list.
You are advised to refer to Appendix V for specific guidance and details of the criteria you must fulfil in certain cases.
- Business activities: you may undertake general or corporate business activities such as attend meetings or seminars, sign contracts, attend an interview, meet clients, conduct an audit, troubleshoot or provide training. You may also carry out your overseas role for a specific activity in the UK, for example as a tour group guide.
- Creative/artist: you may take part in auditions
- Form a marriage/civil partnership: you may wish to celebrate your wedding/civil service ceremony in the UK. Note that this differs to contracting a marriage/civil partnership with the intention to then settle in the UK.
- Legal: you may be attend a court hearing if summoned by UK court
- Private medical treatment: you may have private medical treatment providing certain criteria is met
- Religious: you may conduct pastoral work
- Science, research and academia: you may share skills and knowledge on a specific project.
- Sports: you may take part in a sports tournament or a promotional activity
- Study: you may do an educational or cultural exchange, or take a short recreational course
- Tourism: you may visit the UK on holiday as a tourist, or visit friends/family
- Transit: you may transit the UK en route to another country
- Work related training/shadowing: you may undertake a clinical attachment or dental observatory post as long as these are unpaid and do not involve treatment of patients
- Volunteering: you may undertake incidental volunteering as long as it lasts no more than 30 days in total and is for a UK registered charity.
#32 Can children apply as visitors?
Minors (individuals under the age of 18) are advised to have written consent from their parent(s) / legal guardian(s) if they wish to apply for a visa.
They must also demonstrate that adequate arrangements have been made for their reception and care in the UK.
#33 Can children travel to the UK as visitors?
Minors – individuals under the age of 18 – may travel to the UK without being accompanied by their parent(s) / legal guardian(s).
However, it is important to note that, upon arrival in the UK, further verifications are likely to be conducted by Immigration Officers.
#34 Can I visit the UK multiple times on the same visa if it is still in validity?
The majority of visas issued have the condition of being ‘multiple entry‘ and are valid for 6 months.
Multiple entry means that you can enter and leave the UK multiple times as long as the duration of the visa has not expired at time of travel.
If your visa is not a multiple entry visa, it will be endorsed single or dual entry visa.
It is important to note that if it is deemed that you are spending longer in the UK than in your country of habitual residence, or that you are not respecting the conditions of your visa, you will be in breach of the Immigration Rules and your visa may be cancelled, or you may even be banned from the UK for up to 10 years.
#35 What are the conditions of a visitor’s visa?
You are not allowed to work or study – unless these fall under the criteria of a permissible activity – or have recourse to public funds.
If there is a particular endorsement on your visa vignette, for example “to accompany ….” then you must travel in the company of the person mentioned on your visa vignette.
Equally, if you indicated a date of travel on your visa application form but your plans then changed, ensure that your visa vignette is valid on the day you travel.
#36 Can I travel on the day my visa expires?
Your visa is valid up until and including the date stated on the visa vignette.
However, it may be appear suspicious if you decide to travel to the UK on the date your visa expires.
#37 What if I do not travel during the validity of my visa?
If you do not travel and the validity of your visa expires, then the visa will no longer valid.
You must apply for a new visa which must be valid at the time you travel to the UK.
#38 What if there is an error on my visa?
If you notice before you arrive in the UK
If you find that your visa has been issued with an incorrect endorsement, for example a spelling error, you must contact your visa application centre immediately to correct it.
If you notice after you arrive in the UK
If you find that your visa has been issued with an incorrect endorsement you can request to have it amended. This can be done directly or through a representative or sponsor.
If the error relates to a vignette endorsement and is raised within 3 months of arrival in the UK, you should contact UKVI International Sheffield at EntryClearance.Errors@fco.gov.uk and include a scan of the vignette with the email.
If an error has been made by the Home Office, this will be corrected free of charge.
#39 Can I bring my dependents with me?
Each person that requires a visa to visit the UK must have their individual visa vignette in their passport or travel document.
A visitor cannot be joined by his or her dependents in the UK unless they have been granted a visa that allows them to remain in the UK for a period exceeding 6 months.
#40 Will I be granted a biometric residence card as a visitor?
Biometric residence cards are automatically granted to individuals who have been issued a visa to come to the UK for a period exceeding 6 consecutive months.
Therefore, the majority of UK visitor visa applicants will not be issued a UK visitor visa.
#41 Do I need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for a UK visitor visa?
You only need to pay Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) if you are applying to stay in the UK for a period exceeding 6 months.
Therefore, the majority of UK visitor visa applicants will not have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge.
#42 What is a Permitted Paid Engagement?
Appendix 4 in Appendix V of the Immigration Rules has a provision which allows professionals in particular areas of expertise to perform a specific activity in the UK and receive payment for their services.
However, this is limited to academics, experts, professional artists and legal representatives and requires, amongst other criteria, a formal invitation to carry out a role related to their overseas occupation.
#43 What is a Permit Free Festival?
An artist, entertainer or musician visiting the UK to perform at one or more of the endorsed permit free festivals may apply under the category of a standard visitor.
Click here for the full list of permit free festivals in the UK to see if you qualify.
#44 Do I need to enrol my fingerprints every time I travel?
When you apply for a visitor’s visa you must enrol your Biometric information – that is to have your fingerprints and photograph taken – in order for your visa application to be processed.
If your visa is issued, every time you present your visa at the UK border, you will have to scan your fingerprints to confirm your identity.
#45 What if I have a valid visitor’s visa in a previous expired passport?
Your UK visa expires on the date stated on the visa vignette.
If your passport or travel document has expired and has a valid UK visa, you must carry your current valid passport or travel document and the previous document which contains your valid UK visa.
How do I pay the visitor visa UK Home Office fee?
You pay the UK visitor visa Home Office fee on the online application website.
Is the visitor visa application form paper based or an online application?
The UK visitor visa application form is an online application.
Do I need an immigration lawyer to submit a UK visitor visa?
There is no legal requirement to have a lawyer in order to submit a UK visitor visa. However, you need to make sure that you are fully aware of the relevant Immigration Rules if you are going to submit the application yourself.
What if I do not meet all of the requirements?
Unfortunately, if you do not meet all of the requirements, your application will most likely be refused.