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UK Visitor and Tourist Visas

This guidance explains what you will need to do if you wish to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) as a visitor. It is only a guide but aims to answer commonly asked questions about the UK Visit Visa.

How do I qualify to travel to the UK as a visitor?

You must be able to show that you:

Can I transact business during my visit?

As a visitor you may: In limited circumstances you may also enter the UK as a visitor if you are: You cannot: If you have been invited by a UK company you should provide a letter from the company explaining what you will be doing and the purpose of the trip. If your company or the UK company is meeting the cost of the trip this should also be confirmed in a letter.

All visitors, whether they are in the UK for business or social reasons, can only stay for a maximum of six months. Frequent visitors and business visitors can apply for a visa that is valid for one, two or five years. All visit visas are valid for multiple entries within their period of validity.


Can I study in the UK?

You can study in the UK as a visitor but you will only be allowed to stay in the UK for a maximum of six months. If the purpose of your visit is to study, either full-time or for more than six months then you should apply for a student visa.

Can I receive medical treatment in the UK?

You can apply for a visit visa to travel to the UK to receive private medical treatment.

You must be able to show that: You may also be required to produce: You may have to attend an interview and you may be asked to provide further documentation.

Can I stay more than six months for medical treatment?

If you need to stay longer than six months to complete your medical treatment you can apply to the Home Office by post or in person to one of their public enquiry offices. The contact address is at the end of this guidance.

Visitors are not allowed to enter or remain in the UK to receive treatment on the National Health Service.

Does the UK have any health care agreements with my country?

The UK has reciprocal arrangements with a number of foreign governments whereby their nationals can be referred to the UK for the purpose of receiving free hospital treatment under the National Health Service. Information about these arrangements is available on the Department of Health website (www.doh.gov.uk).

Do I need a visa if I am in transit via the UK to another country?

If you are a visa national you will require a visa to enter the UK in transit (see Do I need a visa to visit the UK?).

If you are entering the UK in transit to another country and will remain in the UK for no longer than 48 hours, you will need to obtain a "visitor in transit " visa. If you wish to stay in the UK for more than 48 hours you will need to apply for a visit visa.

You may be able to transit the UK, at the discretion of the Immigration Officer, without holding a "visitor in transit visa". This is known as the Transit without Visa concession (TWOV).

Do I qualify for the TWOV concession?

To qualify you must:

Are there any nations excluded from the TWOV concession?

This concession does not apply to certain visa nationals, who must hold a visa to pass through the UK on the way to another country, even if they are not entering the UK or changing airports. This is known as a "direct airside transit" visa (DATV). If you are a national of certain countries you will need to have a valid UK direct airside transit visa.

Passengers holding a direct airside transit visa will not be able to pass through immigration control. You will not normally be allowed to remain overnight to await an onward connection.

Can I use my visitor in transit visa more than once?

Your visitor in transit visa will usually be valid for six months and may be used to transit the UK throughout its validity, provided that both your passport and visa for the country that you are travelling to remain valid beyond the expiry of the transit visa. The visa will only be valid for entry to the UK if these conditions are met on each journey through the UK.

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