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UK Tourist Visa - NEW 2021 Requirements & Guide


Visitors traveling to the UK for a short-term stay should ideally apply for a standard visitor visa. Visitor visas can serve as tourist visas that allow foreigners to enter the UK for holidays, sightseeing, general travel, tourism, and leisure, among others. Non-EEA nationals are granted a stay of up to six months under the standard visit visa.

Documentation Requirements

The document list for a standard visitor visa can be extensive, depending on the actual purpose of visit. However, if your end activities involve only tourism, the requirements are simple. Here is a list of the major documents that you will need in order to lodge a tourist visa application. Contact Visa Genie for a tailored visa application pack.

  • A passport that holds a validity of at least six months or is valid for the duration of your stay in the UK. It should come with a minimum of one blank page.
  • A print of your filled application form.
  • Return or onward tickets to prove that you intend to leave the UK after your stay or following the expiry of your visa.
  • A record of your immigration and details of your travel history within the past ten years.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support your stay and that of your dependants without the need of accessing public funds. This can be submitted in the form of salary slips, bank statements, or a letter from your employer.
  • Details of previous passports or travel identification.
  • Overseas contact details and address.
  • Details of your accommodation in the UK such as the identity and living address of the UK-based person covering your travel costs, identity and passport number of any relative living here, or hotel address and contact details.
  • Detailed travel itinerary, including dates of onward and return travel, places you will visit in the UK, or booked tours, among others.
  • Your biometric information, inclusive of fingerprints and digital photographs
  • Receipt of the visa fee payment

Of course, the above-mentioned list is not exhaustive. The officials at the visa center may ask for additional supporting documents, depending on your application. If you feel confused, you can seek guidance from our expert team at Visa Genie. We will help you through the entire process so that you can get your approved visa in no time.

NOTE: Any documents which are not originally in English or Welsh have to be translated and should contain the translator’s contact information.

Application Process

Before beginning your tourist visa application, please ensure if you are eligible for one. You may not be required to apply for a UK visa if you are an EEA citizen, a Swiss citizen, or a Commonwealth citizen. You can check your eligibility here.

When you are applying for a short-term UK tourist visa, you can start your application by visiting this link. Here, you will be required to fill an online application form. Once you choose the language in which you desire to proceed, you have to enter your home country.

Now, confirm by clicking on the box before this statement: “I have checked available biometric enrolment locations and can travel to a location in my selected country. If no location is available in that country, then I confirm that I can travel to a location in the redirected country.”

Finally, choose the exact type of visa from the list that appears as follows. In this case, it will be “tourism, including visiting family and friends.”

Step 1: Complete the online application form

To begin the application, you will need to create an account by entering your email id and password. If you already have an account, simply enter your previous login details. Now, start filling in the information.

The required fields to be filled are your name and surname, nationality, country of residence, marital status, personal number, passport number, reason for traveling to the UK, additional information as per the purpose of visit. Please note that if the information in the application form does not match with the information in the attached documents, your application will be rejected.

Step 2: Collect the required documents

Once you have completed the online application form, please download it and take a printout. Now, collect originals and photocopies of all the supporting documents, which we have already outlined above.

Step 3: Schedule a visa appointment

Depending on your country of residence, you will need to book an appointment at your nearest visa center. You can find the complete list of visa centershere. After you get the appointment, take a print of the email confirming the details of your appointment. Carry this with you on the said date alongside the rest of your documents. NOTE: The appointment must be made in your name ONLY.

Step 4: Attend the visa interview

After you reach the visa application center, you will be asked to submit your biometric information, inclusive of a digital photograph and scanned fingerprints. You will also need to submit the required documents (original or photocopies as outlined in the application form checklist). Some visa application centres may keep your passport and documents during the visa processing period.

NOTE: All applicants, aged 18 or above, must visit the visa application center in person. Applicants below 18 years should be accompanied by adult (s).

Step 5: Receive your visa

Once you have completed the above three steps, you will get a letter with the result of your application, which will also outline the next steps. If your application is successful, you will receive a sticker, called a vignette, stamped on your passport. If your visa is denied, you will get a letter explaining the reasons of refusal, accompanied by your passport.

Usually, visas are rejected because of missing documents, lodging an application for a wrong visa type, absence of financial proof, fraudulent documents, overstaying your previous UK trip, or criminal history. You can appeal this decision by completing the Form IAFT-2 and submitting it to the UK Immigration and Asylum Chamber. Still, if the decision stays the same, you can start a new application by addressing the previous mistake.

Tourist Visitor Visa: Validity, Extension & Processing Time

A tourist visit visa, just like a standard visitor visa, is valid for and allows a stay up to six months. However, you can also get a standard visit visa for up to 12 months if you are entering the UK as an academic. If you wish to extend your stay, you can also apply for an extension. But if your visit is for a longer period, the best bet is to go for a long-term UK visa -- which allows stays up to two years, five years or ten years. Academic visitors can also lodge an application for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). For more details on these categories of visas, you can visit our section on long-term entry permits.

When you apply for a tourist visitor visa online, it usually takes up to three weeks to get a decision on your visa application. We would recommend you to start the process within three months from your intended travel dates. The standard cost of a short-term tourist visa is £95.

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