The UK tourist visa requirements are clear and easy to understand, even though the application process is long. The requirements for a visitor visa depend on the purpose for which you are visiting the UK. You may be required to apply for a visit visa if you are travelling for leisure, to visit friends and family, for business, or for medical purposes.
It is advisable to start the process two months before your intended date of travel. A normal visitor visa is valid for 6 months. However, you can apply for a long-term visit visa that lasts up to 10 years, but you can only stay for up to 6 months during each visit. A visit visa cannot be extended except under special circumstances, like ongoing medical treatment. The process is quite simple:
- Find out if you need a UK visa.
Visit the UK gov website to find out if you require a visa, your eligibility and the requirements to get one. UK visa process can take up to 3 weeks and even longer in some cases.
- Complete the online application form.
Visit the UK Visas and Immigration website and fill out the information required from preferred language, type of visa, your country, and the nearest visa application center. You will be required to create a login using your email and password and fill in the application, after which you sign a declaration form and pay the visa fee, which is about £95 GBP, and submit the filled application.
- Submit the required documents for a UK visa application.
These are the documents you will be required to submit when invited for the visa interview;
- A completed online visa application form
- A passport-sized photo
- Proof of earnings and funds, which include bank statements and pay slips.
- Proof of legal residence: you may be required to submit flight tickets and hotel bookings. However, it is not advisable to book any flights or hotels until your visa is approved. In this situation, get a quote from British Airways or Dummy Ticket to use as a flight itinerary for the visa application and book a refundable hotel on booking.com or Expedia.
- Schedule a UK visa appointment and attend the interview.
When you attend the interview at the visa center, bring with you the printed visa application form, your passport, and supporting documents. The passport photo may be optional as biometrics are taken during the interview. Some of the information that you will be required to provide includes:
- Your travel dates, hotel address, and telephone number in the UK.
- Your current mailing address
- Your parents’ information
- Your annual income and the estimated cost of the trip.
- Your travel history
- Your employer’s details
After the interview, wait for the decision on whether the visa is approved or not. If approved, pick it up at the center; if not, try to find out where you went wrong during the application process and begin the process again.