London is the capital city of the United Kingdom. So, to travel to London you will need to apply for a visa unless you are from countries that are exempt from applying for any visa and are allowed to enter the UK. Visa for London will come under the Visa for the United Kingdom, as it is the capital city. The United Kingdom enforces one of the most stringent immigration laws in the world. So you need to make sure that whichever country you are coming from to visit London (UK) you have all the documents with you and are for you to get the visa.
There are countries whose citizen doesn’t require to apply for a Visa to enter the UK. Citizens from EU and EEA countries are exempt to apply for entry to the UK for travel, studies, business and immigration purposes. They only need to make sure that they have valid passports for the whole duration of the UK visit.
Exempt European Union (EU) Countries
Following are the European Union countries that don’t require any visa to enter the UK:
|Republic of Cyprus
The European Economic Area (EEA) Countries
The European Economic Area (EEA) includes EU countries and:
- Liechtenstein and
The EEA allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.
Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market – this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.
There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021. You and your family can apply for https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families to continue living in the UK after June 2021. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.
If you are not from an EEA Country you should have a valid passport to enter the UK. It must be valid for the whole time of your stay in the UK. You may also need a visa, depending on which country you are a citizen of and which country you are coming from.
Visa Changes Post Brexit
Post-Brexit the only changes that are brought to the UK travellers are that they must carry a valid passport during their time in the UK. Brexit has ushered changes for EU citizens visiting the UK. Previously, under the freedom of movement, EU citizens enjoyed seamless travel. Now, they face altered entry requirements, including a visa waiver system for short stays. The 90-day visa-free rule within 180 days applies, affecting travel duration and flexibility. Additionally, travellers must ensure compliance with health insurance and border checks. These changes influence travel planning, expenses, and experiences. While measures have been taken to facilitate smooth travel, the post-Brexit landscape calls for a more structured and cautious approach to visiting the UK for EU citizens.
How to apply for a Tourist Visa to London (UK)
You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:
- For leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
- For business, or to take part in sports or creative events
- For another reason, for example, to receive private medical treatment
Your application will not be accepted and you will not get a refund if you have the right of abode in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/right-of-abode) (for example you’re a British citizen). You need to apply for a certificate of entitlement (https://www.gov.uk/right-of-abode) instead, which will prove you have the right to abode in the UK.
The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the:
- Family Visitor visa
- General Visitor visa
- Child Visitor visa
- Business Visitor visas, 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
If you visit the UK on business
If you wish to visit the UK on business, you can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK for business-related activities, for example:
- You’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
- You want to take part in a specific sports-related event
- You’re an artist, entertainer or musician coming to the UK to perform
- Are an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
- You’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post
- Do you want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
- You want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK
Check the Visitor Rules (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules) to find the full list of business-related activities you can do with a Standard Visitor visa.
What you can and cannot do on UK Business Visa
- Take part in any of the business-related activities mentioned in the Visitor Rules (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules)
- Study for up to 30 days (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/permitted-study-when-visiting-the-uk), as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit
- Take part in an exchange programme or educational visit (if you’re under 18)
- Convert your civil partnership into a marriage (https://www.gov.uk/convert-civil-partnership)
- Pass through the UK in transit (on your way to another country)
- Do pay or unpaid work
- Live in the UK for long periods through frequent visits
- Get public funds (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-funds–2)
- Marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership
Read the guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visit-guidance) for more information about what you can and cannot do with a Standard Visitor visa.
How long it will take to get the UK visa?
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel. For example, you can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. Check the guide processing times (https://www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times) to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country you’re applying from.
How long you can stay in the UK?
You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months.
You might be able to stay for longer if:
- You’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment – up to 11 months (£ 186 fee)
- You’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research – you, your spouse or your civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months (£ 186 fees)
If you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a biometric residence permit (https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits). You might be able to get a visit visa for up to 30 days if you’re a visitor under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visit-guidance).
If you need to visit the UK regularly
If you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit.
If you’re under 18 years old when you apply (https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/if-youre-under-18), your long-term Standard Visitor visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18.
Following are the Visa Fees
A Standard Visitor visa costs £ 93.
The fee for a long-term Standard Visitor visa depends on its length:
- 2 years – £ 350
- 5 years – £ 636
- 10 years – £ 798
List of International organisations whose employees qualify for exempt entry clearances to the UK. CLICK HERE
You can also apply for the UK Visa from our partner iVisa by clicking below: