UK Visit Visas Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We are here to help and answer any of your questions about your short term UK visa...

Which nationalities need a visa to the UK?

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain*, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, People’s Republic of China*, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia*, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (North), Kosovo, Kuwait *, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman*, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar*, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome e Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa*, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan*, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey *, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates*, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam*, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Countries with a “*” indicates there are exceptions

What Visit Visa categories were replaced by the Standard Visitor Visa?

The standard UK Visitor Visa category has replaced a number of specific visitor visas categories that allowed people to holiday, visit family, get married, study a short course, sit the PLAB test as well as many other purposes.

It specifically replaced:

    Family Visitor visa
    General Visitor visa
    Child Visitor visa
    Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
    Sports Visitor visa
    Entertainer Visitor visa
    Prospective Entrepreneur visa
    Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
    Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa
What are 'biometric' information?

All UK visa applicants, save for those benefiting from a limited number of exemptions and exceptions, are required to provide biometric data (10-digit finger-scans and a digital photograph) as part of the application process.

You have to go to your nearest visa application centre (VAC) in person to provide your biometrics. In countries where there is no visa application centre, you need to go to the nearest British Consulate or VAC.

Your visa application will not be processed until you have provided the necessary biometric information.

How are the Biometrics taken?

The finger scans are electronic so staff do not need to use any ink, liquid or chemicals. You will have your digital photograph taken at the same time and the whole procedure should take no more than five minutes to complete (excluding waiting time).

Please make sure you do not have any decoration (such as henna), or any cuts or other markings on your fingertips before having your finger scans.

If you have any cuts and bruises on your face or fingers, please make sure they have healed or disappeared before you have your photograph taken.

Digital photographs must be of your full face and you should not wear sunglasses, a hat or any other head covering (unless you wear it for cultural or religious reasons but the face must not be covered).

What will happen when I make my application?

The Entry Clearance Officer will try to make a decision using your application form and the supporting documents you have provided.

If this is not possible, they will need to interview you.

How will I be informed that my short term UK visit visa is ready?

You will be informed by us as soon as your visa is ready to be collected.

Depending on how you chose for your visa to be returned to you, you can either collect it or the courier will deliver it back to you.

What happens after I have obtained my short term UK visa decision?

Please check your visa when you get it. You should make sure that:

    – your personal details are correct
    – it correctly states the purpose for which you want to come to the UK, and
    – it is valid for the date on which you want to travel.

(You can ask for it to be post-dated for up to three months if you do not plan to travel immediately).

If you think there is anything wrong with your visa, contact the visa section immediately.

Can I extend my stay in the UK?

In some circumstances you may be allowed to stay longer. For example, if you are entering the UK to marry or to enter into a civil partnership with someone who is already present and settled in the UK, you can apply to stay as a husband or wife or civil partner after your marriage or civil partnership has been registered.

But generally, you cannot extend a short term visit visa, beyond the six months validity, once in the UK.

Can I work in the UK?

Save for permitted paid engagements, those on short term visit visas cannot work whilst in the UK.

If you are an overseas national who is not settled in the UK and you intend to work in the UK, you must have permission to work unless you are:

    – an EEA national
    – a Swiss national
    – a family member of an EEA or Swiss national who is in the UK exercising their treaty rights or a family member of an EEA or Swiss national who intends to join them in the UK, or is travelling with them to the UK
    – a citizen of Gibraltar
    – a Commonwealth citizen with permission to stay in the UK on the basis of UK Ancestry
    – a seaman under contract to join a ship due to leave British waters
    – a person employed as a civilian in NATO Forces
    – a person given permission to stay as the dependant of a person settled in the UK
    – a dependant under another category (in some cases), or
    – a Tier 4 student (in some cases).

    If you are on a Tier 4 Student Visa, you can take part-time or holiday work, but you must not:

  • work for more than 20 hours a week during term time unless your placement is part of your studies, has been agreed with your educational institution and leads to a degree or qualification awarded by a nationally recognised examining body
  • do business, be self-employed or provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer, or
  • work full-time in a permanent job.
What is a multiple entry visa?

A multiple entry UK Visa allows you to enter and stay in the UK as many times as you want whilst the visa is still valid. This only applies if the total length of the stay does not exceed six months at a time from the first date of entry.

Is it possible to apply for a multiple entry visa?

It is possible to apply for a multi-entry UK visit Visa. When going through the process of applying, you will be able to select the multiple entry application. But please note that the length and duration is the discretion of the Entry Clearance Officer.

IAM cannot guarantee lengths and duration but we always aim to obtain the longest permitted version of your short term UK visit visa where possible and we can advise on the likelihood of how long you will get and ways to increase the length obtained once you begin your application. HINT: It's all about funds and your intention to return.

In which occasion am I allowed to apply for UK Short Term Visa?

Every person is allowed to apply for a short term UK Visa so long as you meet the requirements. All that is needed is to prepare the documentation, submit it online and then attend the VAC for biometrics to be considered. You, of course, require the financial means to support yourself during the stay in the UK.

How do I obtain a Short Term UK Visa?

The best way to obtain a UK Visa is to contact a authorised and regulated firm that can help you make the process simpler, such as IAM. The main parts in obtaining a UK Visit Visa is to fill out the Application Form, prepare the necessary documentations, submit the application and documentation together to the entry clearance officer, and finally if the application is successful you can obtain the short term UK Visa.

If I use IAM, do I have to attend a visa centre?

As a general rule, you are always required to attend to give your Biometric information (Fingerprints and photograph).

Which visa centre or Consulate do I need to attend?

Almost all the processing services for the UK have been outsourced. The final submission of an application includes biometrics at the Centre. Where you will submit will depend on whether there are practices of jurisdiction or not and if so, where you live.

It is general practice to submit your application to the nearest VAC.

Can you help me to secure the appointment for submission?

Its part of the standard service we will get your appointments in the required time or at the very least in time for your visa to be granted so as you can travel in time to the UK.

Please note that at peak times, the centres do not have capacity for appointments at short notice. Therefore, for the standard service, it is advised to start your application three months ahead to allow for time to secure an appointment

Can you secure an appointment at short notice?

Yes. That comes under the Premium service where we are able to secure appointments within 24-48 hours.

Can I have my documents posted back to me, or would I have to attend in person to collect them?

Yes. Depending on the submission method chosen, you can have your documents sent back to you by Courier, picked up by you or you can arrange for the documents to be collected.

Could you make changes to the application form?

Yes. When you submit your application, you will be emailed a draft application form for you to review. At that point, we can then make any changes required. It is important that you provide all the correct details for your final completed application form that will be submitted to the Entry Clearance Officer as missing or incorrect information can lead to refusals.

Prior to submission you are requested to check the application so as any amendments that you request or we make can be given a green light.

Do you review the application and let me know if everything looks ok?

Yes. We exist to make sure that your application is successful. Therefore we always check whether everything seems fine. But this is within reason. If there's information we are not aware of, we cannot check it. So please try to make as full a disclosure as possible.

Could you send me a sample template invitation letter from my invitor should look like?

Yes. As part of your application, we provide template letters as a matter of course.

I want to proceed with the application myself, but I'm unable to find the required documents.

Here at IAM, whether you wish to proceed with the application yourself or find a list of documents, we can provide you with the necessary support.

Visit Visas Made Simple
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