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UK Visa

The United Kingdom or the United Kingdom of Great Britain is one of the most popular countries in the world. It has a unique amalgamation of history, culture, food and gorgeous views, which makes it a famous tourist destination. UK’s capital London is not only one of the world’s best cities but also one of the four fashion capitals in the world. The country has some of the finest universities including the prestigious Oxford Univesity. Every travel enthusiast wishes to travel to the UK at least once in their lives. If you too are planning a trip to the United Kingdom, you need to first obtain a UK visa. Moreover, if you purchase travel insurance before your trip, you can enjoy every moment of your trip without a care in the world.

What is UK Visa?

UK visa is an official document that allows a non-British citizen to enter the territory of the United Kingdom. It is a permit issued by the British Embassies or Consulates that allows a foreigner national to travel or stay in the UK for a specified period of time. UK visa also grants permission to people from outside the country to transit through the international transit areas of the airports in the United Kingdom.

Some people also refer UK visa as London visa as it authorizes a foreign traveler to travel to London.

Indians are one of the top receivers of UK visa in the world. According to the British High Commission in New Delhi, more than 503,000 Indians were issued with a UK visitor visa in the previous year ending June 2019. Indians were also granted the highest number of Tier 2 visa Uk or skilled work visas in the world.

All Indian nationals traveling to the United Kingdom are advised to obtain a travel insurance policy before they commence their trip. A travel insurance policy protects the insured traveler against any sudden eventualities and covers any unaccounted expenses that may arise during your trip to the UK.

UK Visa Countries

The United Kingdom comprises of a total of four European countries. Non-British citizens who want to travel to any of these four countries will have to apply for UK visa. The following countries comprise of United Kingdom and are thus, accepts UK visa:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales

A UK visa saves a non-British traveler from the trouble of buying individuals visas for each member country. It instead allows them to travel to any of these four countries through a single UK visa.

Features of UK Visa

  • One visa to travel to 4 European countries
  • Available for both short-stay and permanent residency
  • Standard Visitor visa is available for a period of 6 months or 11 months
  • Long-term Standard Visitor visa available for 2 years, 5 years and 10 years
  • Pay additional to get a decision on UK visa application India nationals have filed within 5 or 1 working day

Types of UK Visa

The United Kingdom offers seven UK visa types to people who wish to travel to this European country. A non-UK citizen can use one of these seven UK visa types to enter, stay and transit through the United Kingdom. It is important for all foreign nationals to apply for the right type of UK visa to be able to obtain to travel to the United Kingdom. Moreover, you can buy travel insurance no matter which UK visa type you apply for. Make sure to select a type of UK visa on the basis of the purpose of your travel. Take a look at the various UK visa types offered by the British Embassy:

UK Visitor Visa

A Visit Visa is a type of UK visa that allows a non-British national to enter, stay as well as transit through the territory of the UK. This type of UK visa can be applied by people traveling to the United Kingdom for vacation, to meet family or friends, receive private medical treatment, conduct business including participation in sports, entertainment and cultural activities. It can also be applied by people traveling to the UK for marriage or for an academic visit. UK visit visa is of five types -

UK Standard Visitor Visa

This is a type of Visit Visa which should be applied by people traveling for vacation, to meet family or friends, receive medical treatment, conduct business or to participate in cultural or sporting events. This type of visa encompasses a UK business visa as well as the UK Tourist visa. A Standard Visitor visa or UK Tourist visa from India is usually issued for a period of 6 months. While academicians on sabbatical who are visiting for research purposes can get a visa valid for up to 11 months, people traveling to receive private medical treatment can get a UK visitor visa for up to 12 months. People who wish to stay on a UK visitor visa for more than 6 months should also apply for a biometric residence permit as well. Frequent flyers can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa, which is issued for a period of 2 years, 5 years or 10 years. However, you can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each trip under a long-term UK visitor visa from India.

UK Transit Visa

This is a type of UK Visit visa that can be applied by a foreign national who wishes to transit through the international transit areas of the UK airports. A UK transit visa allows you to travel to board a connecting flight from a British airport in order to travel to your destination country. A UK transit visa is of two types –

  • UK Direct Airside Transit Visa or DATV: This type of UK transit visa should be applied by a foreign national who will not be passing through the UK border control.
  • Visitor in Transit visa: This type of UK transit visa should be applied by a foreign national who will be passing through the UK border control but leave the country within 48 hours.

UK Marriage Visitor visa

This is a type of UK Visit visa that can be applied by people who want to get married in the UK or file a civil partnership. It can also be applied by people who are traveling to give marriage or civil partnership notice. Holders of this UK visa cannot settle in the United Kingdom after marriage or civil partnership.

UK Permitted Paid Engagement visa

This is a type of UK Visit visa that can be applied by a foreign national who has been invited by a UK-based organization or business client as an expert in your profession. It can also be applied by someone who wants to travel to the UK to do a specific paid work without any sponsor.

UK Parent of a Tier 4 Child visa

This is a type of UK Visit visa that can be applied by people whose child studies in an independent day school in the UK on payment of regular fees. The child should be below 12 years of age in order to be able to apply for this UK visa type.

UK Study Visa

A Study visa is a type of UK visa that can be applied by a non-British citizen who wants to study in the UK. This UK student visa can be applied by children as well as adults who want to study in a school or university in the UK for a short or long course. It also allows students to conduct researches as a part of their course curriculum.

UK Short-term Study visa

This is a type of UK Study visa that should be applied by people who want to travel to the UK for a short study course such as language or training courses. Holders of this type of UK visa can also conduct research work as part of their course. People applying for this type of UK student visa should be at least 16 years old. This type of UK visa is usually granted for a period of 6 months. However, it can be granted for 11 months if you are studying an English language course.

Uk General Student visa

This is a type of UK Study visa that should be applied by a foreign national who wants to study at a school or university in the UK for a long-term course such as graduate or postgraduate courses. People applying for this type of UK student visa should be at least 16 years of age. Moreover, they should be able to speak, write, read as well as understand the English language. This Tier 4 visa can also be extended if the student’s course will last for more than 6 months.

UK Child Student visa

This is a type of UK Study visa that should be applied by minor students who wish to study at a school or educational institution in the UK. Kids applying for this type of UK student visa should be between 4 and 17 years of age. Holders of this visa can also work part-time or full-time under specific conditions. Moreover, this type of UK visa can also be extended.

UK Work visa

A UK work visa is a type of UK visa that can be applied by a non-British national who wants to travel to work in an organization located in the UK. Applicants of this visa should have at least 945 pounds in their bank accounts for up to 90 days before applying for a UK visa application. Most UK Work visa for Indians also require payment of healthcare surcharge in order to obtain the visa. Moreover, a UK work visa also allows dependent family members of the worker to apply, provided each dependent has a minimum of 630 pounds at the time of applying. Take a look at the various UK work visa types:

UK Long-term Work visas

This type of UK work visa allows its holder to stay in the country for a longer period of time. It is a Tier 2 visa UK grant to foreigners who want to work in the UK. This type of UK visa includes General Work visa, Minister of Religion visa, Intra-company Transfer visa as well as Sportsperson visa.

UK Short-term Work visa

This is a type of UK work visa that allows its holder to work in the UK for a shorter period of time. It is a Tier 5 UK visa for temporary workers and includes Charity Worker visa, Government Authorized Exchange visa, Creative and Sporting visa, International Agreement visa, Seasonal Worker visa, Religious Worker visa and Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

UK Investor, Business Development & Talent visa

This type of UK work visa allows its holder to set up, run or invest in an organization or business in the UK. It is a Tier 1 UK visa that includes Innovator visa, Exceptional Talent visa, Start-up visa and Investor visa.

Other Work visas for UK

This is a type of UK work visa that allows its holder to work in the UK even if they do not fall into any other UK visa category. It includes Ancestry visa, Representative of an Overseas Business visa, Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa and Exempt Vignette.

UK Family Visa

A Family visa is a type of UK visa that can be applied by a non-British citizen who wants to live with one of their family members settled in the UK for over 6 months. Family members include spouse, partner, child, parents, fiancé/ fiancée or relative needing long-term care. You will have to pay a health surcharge at the time of applying for this UK visa. Family visa applicants will also have to prove their knowledge of the English language unless the applicant is a child or a dependent adult relative. You can use this type of UK visa to join your family members only if they are existing British citizens, are settled in the UK or have humanitarian protection or refugee status in the UK. You can use this UK visa to join your parents if they have lived in United Kingdom for 7 consecutive years. 

Validity for Different Types of UK Visa

In order to find out the validity of different types of UK visa, refer to the table given below:

UK Visa Types

Duration

Visit visa

Standard Visitor visa

  • Up to 6 months
  • 11 months (if traveling to receive  medical treatment)
  • 12 months (for academicians)
  • 2 years, 5 years or 10 years (for appli8cants of Long-Term Standard Visitor Visa)

Transit visa

24 hours to 48 hours

Marriage Visitor visa

Up to 6 months

Permitted Paid Engagement visa

Up to 1 month

Parent of a Tier 4 child visa

6 to 12 months

Study Visa

Short-term Study visa

6 to 11 months

General Student visa

6 months (can be extended)

Child Student visa

  • 6 years (if the student’s age is below 16 years)
  • 3 years (if the student is 16 or 17 years old)

Work Visa

Long term work visa

  • 12 months (Graduate Trainee)
  • Up to 3 years (Minister of Religion visa, Sportsperson visa)
  • Up to 5 years (General work visa)
  • 5 years, 9 years (Long-term staff)

Short-term Work visa

  • Up to 6 months (Seasonal Worker visa)
  • Up to 12 months (Charity Worker visa, Creative and Sporting visa)
  • Up to 12 or 24 months (Government Authorized Exchange visa)
  • Up to 24 months (Youth Mobility Scheme visa, Religious Worker visa)
  • 2 years (International Agreement visa)

Investor, Business Development & Talent visa

  • 2 years (Start-up visa)
  • Up to 3 years (Investor visa)
  • 3 years (Innovator visa)
  • Up to 5 years (Exceptional Talent visa)

Other Work visas

  • Up to 6 months (Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa)
  • 3 years (Representative of an Overseas Business visa)
  • 5 years (Ancestry visa)

Family Visa

  • 6 months (Spouse/ partner)
  • 2.5 years (Fiance/ fiancée, parents)
  • Unlimited (Adult Dependent Relative)

 

Who Should Apply for UK Visa

All Indian citizens need to apply for a UK visa in order to travel to or transit through the United Kingdom. Moreover, all UK visa applicants should be above 18 years of age. Underage applicants should apply for a minor visa. Travel insurance can be obtained by both adults and minors to protect their trip to the UK from any unpredictable adversities.

Who Doesn’t Need a UK Visa?

Few people are exempted from applying for a UK visa in order to travel to the United Kingdom. If you fulfill any of the following criteria, you do not need a UK visa for your trip to the UK.

  • People traveling on diplomatic business, official government duty
  • Citizens of a country who is a part of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
  • Citizens of Oman, Qatar, Kuwait or United Arab Emirates (UAE) can get an electronic visa waiver for a payment of 30 pounds

When to Apply for a UK Visa

Indian citizens who want to apply for a UK visa can file their UK visa application not before 3 months from the date of departure from India. This time period is valid for all UK visa types including a visit visa, work visa, family visa or study visa. It is advisable to apply for a travel insurance policy for your UK trip before you apply for a UK visa.

How to Apply for a UK Visa?

The procedure to file a UK visa application is very convenient. This is because you can file a UK visa application online by visiting the official website of the UK government. Moreover, other websites like VFS can also help you apply for a VFS global UK visa. If you do not want to apply for a VFS UK visa, follow the steps given below to file a UK visa online application:

      • Determine the type of UK visa that you need to apply for your travel according to the purpose of your travel
      • Visit the official website of the government of the UK (GOV.UK)
      • Go to ‘Visas and Immigration’ page
      • Select your UK visa category and apply for the right type of UK visa
      • Arrange all the required documents
      • Fill up the UK visa application form
      • Pay for your UK visa fees online
      • Book an appointment at the UK Visa Application Centre
      • Attend your UK visa appointment and give your biometric information
      • The UK visa will be granted to the applicants who clear the visa interview

Documents Required to Apply for UK Visa

The following documents should be submitted along with your UK visa application:

Document Required For Standard Visitor Visa:

      • Current valid passport along with previous passports, if any
      • Financial documents showing your financial standing and funds available. This may include:
        • Bank statements
        • Letter from the employer confirming details of employment
        • Building society book
        • Sponsor’s financial standing
      • Sponsor’s financial reports, in case another person is providing financial support for your travel
      • Employment or academic details for applicants who either work or study in India.
        • Letter from the employer on company letterhead stating your designation, salary and duration of employment
        • Letter from the academic institution on its official letterhead confirming your enrollment and sanctioned leave application
      • Documents of business registration stating owner’s name and the date of commencement of business operations (in case of Self-employed applicants)
      • A letter from the employer along with other documents supporting your business engagements in the UK (in case traveling for business purposes)
      • Confirmation of legal residential address (if applied by non-Indian nationals staying in India)

Document Required For Transit Visitor

      • Current valid passport
      • Travel booking confirmation
      • Document proof for traveling to the destination country
      • Residence permit or green card or visa for the destination country

Document Required For Study Visa

      • Current valid passport
      • Previous educational documents
      • Proof of financial standing
      • Proof of accommodation in the UK
      • Tuberculosis test report
      • Proof of knowledge of the English language
      • Sponsor’s occupation and financial standing, if any
      • Consent letter from parents/ guardian (in case of a minor)

Document Required For Work Visa

      • Current valid passport along with previous passports, if any
      • Sponsorship certificate number
      • Proof of knowledge of the English language
      • Tuberculosis test report
      • Certificate of criminal record
      • Proof of financial standing

Document Required For Family Visa

      • Current valid passport along with previous passports, if any
      • Photocopy of biometric residence permit, if any
      • Previous immigration application details
      • Details of criminal convictions, if any
      • National insurance policy number, if any
      • Tuberculosis test report
      • Proof of financial standing
      • Proof of knowledge of the English language
      • Proof of accommodation in the UK

Additional Documents Required for UK Visa

Different kinds of travelers need to submit a few additional UK visa documents. Refer the table below to check the list of additional documents:

Types of Travelers

Additional Documents Required

Minors

  • Birth certificate or other legal document proving the relationship between the minor and the parent/ guardian
  • Letter from the parents confirming the person accompanying the child and mentioning accommodation details (if minor is traveling with a guardian)
  • Photocopy of parents’ passport stating the passport number and signature (if minor is traveling with a guardian)

Private Medical Treatment

Letter from the doctor confirming the medical condition and consultation as well as duration, cost and place of treatment/ consultation

Academicians traveling for research purposes

  • A letter from the current employer confirming the period of sabbatical and defining the topic of research
  • A letter of invitation from the host organization in the UK sponsoring your research

People traveling to participate in an event

A letter of invitation from the event organizers in the UK

People traveling for marriage

  • Document proof to show that you are free to marry anyone
  • Document proof to confirm arrangements for your marriage in the UK

People traveling for a permitted paid engagement

  • A letter of invitation from a UK based organization
  • Proof of work recognition in the form of publications, awards, recent coverage, media coverage, etc. (For professional experts)

Prospective Entrepreneurs

Letter of support from one or more UK government departments/ entrepreneurial seed funding competitions/ registered venture capitalist organizations regulated by FCA

Sportsperson

Letter of Endorsement from the Sports governing body

Innovation visa applicants

Proof of investment funds

Ancestry visa applicants

  • Birth Certificate
  • Birth Certificate of parents or grandparents on whom your ancestry claim rests
  • Marriage certificates of parents and grandparents
  • Legal adoption certificate, in case you or your parents were adopted
  • Proof of prospective plan of working in the US
  • Marriage certificate (if your spouse, partner or fiancé(e) wants to join you)

Domestic workers’ applicants

  • Letter from your employer confirming that you were working with them for a minimum of 1 year and he’ll pay the national minimum wage
  • Any one document during the period you were working with the same employer including payslips, income tax returns, health insurance, employment contract, work visa and visa entry stamps on your passport.

 

Do’s to Ensure Smooth Processing of UK Visa Application

      • The passport should have at least 1 blank page and should be valid for the entire duration of your stay in the UK
      • Any documents which are not in English or Welsh should be submitted along with its certified translated copy
      • Stay aware of the details of your travel including travel dates, place of accommodation in the UK, the estimated cost of your trip, etc.
      • Be aware of your details including name and date of birth of your parents, your current residential address and the duration of your stay there, your annual income, etc.
      • Keep the following information handy –
        • Information on your travel history
        • Address and contact number of your employer
        • Name, date of birth and passport number of your partner
        • name and address of your sponsor
        • Name, address and contact number of the family member residing in the UK
        • Information on your civil, criminal or immigration offenses
      • Get a travel insurance policy for your trip to the UK before you apply for a visa

UK Visa Fees

Each UK visa application attracts an application fee which has to be paid in order to obtain a visa for travel to the UK. The UK visa fees vary for different types of visa available for traveling to the United Kingdom. Take a look at the application fees that you will have to pay along with your UK visa application:

UK Visa Types

Cost (In Pounds)

Visit Visa

Standard Visitor visa

6 months

95

Medical Treatment

190

Academicians

190

Long Term Standard Visitor Visa

2 years

361

5 years

655

10 years

822

Transit visa

Visitor in Transit visa

64

Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV)

35

Marriage Visitor visa

95

Permitted Paid Engagement visa

95

Parent of a Tier 4 child visa

516

Study Visa

Short-term Study visa

6 months

97

11 months

186

General Student visa*

348

Child Student visa

348

Work Visa

Long term work visa

General Work Visa

  • 704 to 1408 (non- shortage occupation)
  • 464 to 928 (shortage occupation)

Intra-Company Transfer Visa

  • 482 (Graduate Trainee)
  • 704 (Long-term staff for up to 3 years)
  • 1408 (Long-term staff for more than 3 years)

Minister of Religion Visa

610

Sportsperson visa

610

Short-term Work visa

 

244

Investor, business Development & Talent visa

Innovator visa

1277

Start-up visa

493

Exceptional Talent visa

  • 456 (Endoresemnt application)
  • 152 (Visa application)

Investor visa

1623

Other Work visas

Ancestry visa

516

Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa

516

Representatives of an Overseas Business visa

610

Family Visa

Joining your spouse, child or parent

1523

Dependents

1523

An adult who requires care by a relative

3250

* Applicants of general student visa will also have to pay health surcharge as part of their UK visa online application.

Exceptions on UK Visa Fee Payment

People applying for UK visa on the basis of their private life can get exempted to pay the visa fees on the following conditions:

      • No place of residence or means to afford it
      • Have a place of residence but cannot afford costs of living including food
      • Earn very low and visa fee payment can affect your child’s well being

Travel Insurance for UK Visa

Planning a trip to the UK and finally seeing it get materialized by getting a UK visa is a fantastic feeling. For many people, traveling to the UK might be a regular affair but for others, it might be their maiden UK trip. Everyone wants their trip to be perfect and memorable but even a small eventuality can cause a huge dent to your travel plans. Moreover, it can cause major financial loss and might disrupt your travel budget entirely. The only way to keep your trip to the UK protected from any such unforeseen situations is by obtaining a travel insurance policy.

A travel insurance policy is a safety shield that guards the insured traveler against any uncertainties that you may face during your trip. It will cover any emergency expenses that you may incur during your UK trip on medical treatment, loss or delay of check-in baggage, trip cancellation & curtailment, personal liability, trip delay, personal accident and missed connecting flight among others. It also lends a helping hand in case you need emergency cash during your stay in the United Kingdom.

Different kinds of travelers can opt for different types of travel insurance plans on the basis of their requirements. For instance, families can opt for Family Travel Insurance, senior citizens can get Senior Citizens Insurance. People traveling to study in the UK can apply for Student Travel Insurance. You can also opt for Single Trip Travel Insurance or Multi-Trip Travel Insurance based on the frequency of your travel.

A variety of overseas travel insurance plans are available for travelers to choose from. You can compare the covers and premium charged by the various travel insurance policies online before finalizing a travel insurance policy.  

How to Get a Travel Insurance for UK Trip?

A travel insurance policy can be bought both online and offline. Indians who want to purchase a travel insurance policy online for their UK trip can follow the steps given below:

      • Decide the insurance provider from whom you want to buy travel insurance. You can do so by comparing the coverage and premium charged by different travel insurance provider online
      • Visit the official website of the insurance provider
      • Select the travel insurance plan that you want to buy for your trip to the UK
      • Fill up the proposal form for the policy
      • Pay the insurance premium online
      • Download your travel insurance policy

UK Visa Processing Time

Generally, a UK visa application takes about 3 weeks to get processed. You will get a decision on your UK visa online application within this time period. However, a Family visa usually takes about 12 weeks to get processed. You may have to wait longer than this stipulated time if you have been asked to submit more information regarding your UK visa application. On the other hand, a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) can be obtained within 7 to 10 days of UK visa decision.

You can also opt for priority service to get a UK visa decision within 5 working days on payment of 500 pounds. There is also an option of super-priority service that allows you to get a UK visa decision within 1 working day on payment of 800 pounds. However, you have to be eligible to utilize these services.

Q:

Do I need visa to UK?

Ans:

Yes. All Indian citizens need a valid UK visa in order to travel, stay or transit through the borders of the United Kingdom.

Q:

Where can I go with a UK visa?

Ans:

If you have a UK visa, you can travel to any of the four European countries forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain. This includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Q:

Is UK visa easy to get?

Ans:

The process to obtain a UK visa is not difficult if you follow all the procedures correctly and submit all the required documents. You can apply for UK visa online which saves you from a lot of hassle. However, you must appear for your UK visa interview and clear it.

Q:

Why would a UK visa be denied?

Ans:

A UK visa will be denied only if you are unable to clear your visa interview. This can happen if you do not fulfill the criteria for a certain type of UK visa or do not have the required documents. If your interviewer does not satisfied with your claims at the interview, you will be denied a UK visa.

Q:

Do I need travel insurance for UK?

Ans:

Having a travel insurance policy during your UK trip is not mandatory. However, all Indians should obtain a UK visa before traveling to the United Kingdom in order to stay protected from any unforeseen emergencies and expenses that you may incur during your trip. A travel insurance policy covers everything from medical expenses to travel-related issues as well as trip cancellation and personal liabilities.

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