Applying for a Visa to Come to the UK

Are you planning to visit, study, work, or join your family in the UK? If so, you may need to apply for a visa. The visa you require depends on various factors, such as your nationality, purpose of visit, and duration of stay. Before you begin the application process, it’s important to determine whether you need a visa and which type is appropriate for your needs.

How to Visit the UK

If you wish to visit the UK for up to 6 months, you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa. This visa allows you to travel for various purposes, including holidays, visiting family and friends, business trips and meetings, or short-term study. However, please note that a visitor visa does not permit you to work in the UK.

Transit through the UK

In some cases, you may need a visa to transit through the UK on your way to another country. For example, if you have a layover between flights, it’s important to check if you need a transit visa.

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Studying in the UK

If you plan to study in the UK, the type of visa you need depends on the length, type, and location of your course.

  • A Standard Visitor visa allows you to pursue a short course of study lasting no longer than 6 months.
  • A Short-term study visa is suitable for English language courses over 6 months and up to 11 months.
  • A Student visa is generally for longer courses, and you must be sponsored by a licensed college or university with a confirmed place. Some work may be permitted on this visa.
  • A Child Student visa is available for 4 to 17-year-olds attending independent schools. If you’re 16 or above, you can work on this visa.

Working in the UK

To work in the UK, you’ll need a work visa, which can be either short-term or long-term. The type of work visa you require depends on factors such as your skills and qualifications, whether you have a job offer and sponsorship, whether you want to bring your family, and the nature of the work you’ll be undertaking. Additionally, if you wish to set up a business in the UK, you may be eligible for an Innovator Founder visa.

Joining Family in the UK

If you have a spouse, partner, or family member who is a British citizen or has settled status in the UK, you can apply for a family visa to join them. Financial support may be required to demonstrate their ability to support you during your stay. After a certain period of time living in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

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Q: What if my family member is in the UK on a visa?
A: If your family member is in the UK on a visa, you may be able to apply for a visa to join them. They must be your spouse or partner, or if you’re 18 or under, your parent. Please check the specific visa requirements for joining them.

Q: Can family members of refugees apply for family reunion visas?
A: Yes, if you were separated from your partner or child due to forced displacement, they can apply to join you in the UK. Your family members can apply if you’ve been granted asylum or 5 years’ humanitarian protection, and they don’t have British citizenship.

Q: What if my family member is from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein?
A: If you have a close family member who was living in the UK by December 31, 2020, and has pre-settled or settled status, you can apply for a free EU Settlement Scheme family permit. This permit allows you to live, work, and study in the UK for up to 6 months. You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to stay in the UK after your family permit expires.


Applying for a visa to come to the UK may seem daunting, but understanding the different visa options available can simplify the process. Whether you’re planning to visit, study, work, or join your family in the UK, it’s important to determine the appropriate visa and comply with the necessary requirements. For more information and to begin your visa application, visit iBlog.

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