How To Apply For a Visa In The UK

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Choose a visa

You may need a visa to come to the UK to study, work, visit or join the family.

There are different visas depending on:

  • where do you come from
  • why do you want to come to the UK?
  • how long do you want to stay?
  • your personal circumstances and skills?

Before you apply, you must check if you need it and what type you need. Depending on your nationality, you might not need a visa to visit or transit through the United Kingdom.

Your application must be approved before you travel.

You do not need to apply for a visa if you’re an Irish citizen.

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein

If you or your family member started living in the United Kingdom by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme instead of applying for a visa.

The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if either:

  • you have a later deadline – for example, you’re joining a family member in the United Kingdom who was living in the United Kingdom by 31 December 2020
  • you have ‘reasonable grounds for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 – for example, you had an illness, or were the victim of domestic abuse

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you want to visit the United Kingdom

Apply for a Standard Visitor visa to visit the United Kingdom for up to 6 months. For example:

  • for a holiday or to see family and friends
  • for a business trip or meeting
  • to do a short course of study

You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if you want to visit the United Kingdom to get married or register a civil partnership.

If you have a visitor visa you cannot take a job in the United Kingdom.

If you’re traveling through the UK

You might need a visa if you’re traveling through the UK on your way to another country, for example, if you have a layover between flights.

Apply for a visa to travel through the UK.

ALSO READ: Top 7 Places to Live in the UK for Immigrants

If you want to study in the UK

Your course length, type, and place of study effect which visa to apply for.

Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than 6 months.

Short-term study visa lets you come to the UK to study an English language course that is over 6 months and up to 11 months.

Student visa is usually for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place. You may be able to do some work on this visa.

Child Student visa is for 4 to 17-year-olds who want to study at an independent school. If you’re 16 or over, you can do some work on this visa.

If you want to work in the UK

You can work in the UK on a short or long-term basis with a work visa. There are many types of work visa.

The visa you need depends upon:

  • your skills and qualifications
  • if you have a job offer and sponsorship
  • if you want to bring your family with you
  • what you’ll be doing – for example sporting, charitable or religious work

You can set up a business with a Start-up visa or an Innovator visa.

If you want to join your family in the UK

If you’re a spouse, partner, or family member of someone who has British citizenship or a settlement in the UK, you can apply for a family visa to join them. They may need to show that they can support you financially.

You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after a set amount of time living in the UK.

If your family member is in the UK on a visa

You may be able to apply for a visa to join a family member who’s in the UK on a visa. They must be either:

  • your spouse or partner
  • your parent if you’re 18 or under

Check what visa you’ll need to join them.

If your family member is from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein

You can apply for a free family permit if you have a close family member who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020. A family permit lets you live, work and study in the UK for up to 6 months.

Close family members include your spouse or civil partner, child, grandchild, parent, or grandparent.

You can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after your family permit expires.


Family reunion visas for refugees

If you were separated from your partner or child when you were forced to leave your country, they can apply to join you in the UK.

Your family members can apply if you have been given asylum or 5 years of humanitarian protection, and do not have British citizenship.

Other ways to get permission to live in the UK

Commonwealth citizens

You can apply for an Ancestry visa to work in the UK if you have a British grandparent and meet other eligibility criteria.

You may have the right of abode to live in the UK.

If you’re a Commonwealth citizen and cannot prove your right to be in the UK, read about the Windrush scheme.

Returning residents

If you had indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and left the UK for more than 2 years you’ll need to apply for a Returning Resident visa to come back.

Other visas

There may be another visa that’s right for you based on your circumstances. Check if you need a visa and what other visas you’re eligible for.

Also Read: UK General Hand Visa Sponsorship Jobs 2022-23

Also Read: List Of Companies In The Uk Willing To Sponsor Visa In 2023

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