How to Get a Visa to the United Kingdom

This guide aims to give you an easy step by step to booking your visa for the UK stress-free!

Simeon Onaji
Simeon Onaji

Simeon is a Senior Editor at Tozome, an amateur wine connoisseur, and a mediocre Tennis player.

How to Get a Visa to the United Kingdom
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The United Kingdom is an incredible destination for anyone seeking adventure, culture, and unforgettable experiences. From the bustling city streets of London and the magic of Harry Potter to the rolling hills of the countryside and unexpectedly good beaches, the UK has something for everyone.

However, before planning your trip, you must first obtain a visa. This guide will run you through the process of obtaining a visa to the United Kingdom to ensure a smooth travel.

Here are all your hotel options in London.

Before Anything Else: Check If You Need a VISA At All

UK border control in Heathrow Airport, London - VISA to the United Kingdom

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Citizens of some countries do not need a visa to enter the UK for short stays. The list of visa-exempt countries may vary depending on the purpose and length of stay.

It’s important to note that even if you’re from a visa-exempt country, you may still need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) or register for the Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) scheme before traveling.

Before starting any visa process, check if you need one here.

Determine Your Visa Type

Before you begin the visa application process, you must determine which visa type is appropriate for your visit. Several visa types are available for holiday visits to the UK, and the one you choose will depend on the purpose and duration of your stay.

Choose Your Visa Type

Visa type- applying for UK visa - Student Visa to the UK

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There are many different types of visas that you can apply for in the United Kingdom, depending on your purpose of travel and how long you plan to stay.

Some of the most common types of UK visas include:

    • Visitor Visa: You’ll need a standard visitor visa to visit the UK for leisure or tourism. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to six months, and you cannot work or study there.
    • Permitted Paid Engagement Visa: You’ll need a permitted paid engagement visa if you plan to visit the UK for a short-term paid engagement, such as a lecture or conference. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to one month, and you’re not allowed to work or study.
  • Marriage Visitor Visa: You’ll need a marriage visitor visa to visit the UK to get married or form a civil partnership. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to six months, but you’re not allowed to work or study.
  • Student Visa to the UK: If you plan to visit the UK to take a short course or study for up to six months, you’ll need a student visitor visa. This visa allows you to study in the UK for up to six months, but you’re not allowed to work.

Checklist Before Applying

Checklist Before Applying for Visa

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Before applying, here’s a quick checklist and document preparation. Prepare the required documents.

You’ll need to provide the following documents with your visa application:

  • A valid passport or travel document
  • Proof of your travel arrangements, such as flight tickets or hotel reservations
  • Evidence that you can support yourself during your stay in the UK, such as bank statements or a letter from your employer.
  • A letter of invitation from someone in the UK, if applicable

Any other documents supporting your application might include biometric information, a detailed travel itinerary, tuberculosis test results, and more – depending on your country and visa needed.

How to Apply for a Visa in the UK in 5 Steps

Holding Visa Application Form At Office

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Once you’ve determined the type of visa you need, you can begin the application process. Applying for a UK visa entails a process that varies depending on the type of visa you seek, mainly if it falls under the Points-Based System category.

Although some requirements are consistent across categories, their evaluation in the system differs. Additionally, various categories have distinct additional requirements.

Here are the general steps to follow:

Step 1: Create an account on the UK Visa and Immigration website. This will allow you to apply online and track the progress of your application.

Step 2: Fill out the visa application form. This form will ask for personal information, passport details, and the purpose of your visit to the UK.

Step 3: Pay the visa fee. The fee for a standard visitor visa is £95, but fees for other types of visas may vary. You can pay the fee online using a credit or debit card.

Step 4: Schedule an appointment at a visa application center. You must provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photograph) at the application center. You can find the nearest application center on the UK Visa and Immigration website.

Step 5: Attend your appointment at the visa application center. You’ll need to provide your biometric information, submit your documents, and answer any questions about your application.

Now, wait for a decision on your visa application. You should receive a decision within three weeks, but processing times may vary depending on the time of year and the volume of applications.

If you think you might need help with the application process, you might want to use iVisa. They provide a service to directly order your visa and have it all ready within a certain amount of time without any hassle.

Order your visa with iVisa

UK Visa Fees

UK Visas and Immigration Office in London

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The cost of a UK visa will depend on the type of visa you’re applying for and the duration of your stay.

The fees are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check the most up-to-date information on the UK government’s website.

Here are the current fees for some of the most common UK visas:

  • Standard Visitor Visa: £95 to £822 depending on the duration of stay and whether you apply from inside or outside the UK.
  • Short-term Study Visa: £97 for up to 6 months, £186 for up to 11 months.
  • Tier 4 Student Visa: £348 for the first 6 months, £348 for each additional 6 months up to a maximum of 2 years, and £475 for each additional year beyond 2 years.
  • Tier 2 General Visa: £610 for up to 3 years, £1,220 for up to 5 years, £1,408 for up to 5 years if you’re a shortage occupation worker.
  • Tier 1 Investor Visa: £1,623 for up to 3 years, £3,247 for up to 5 years, £6,467 for up to 5 years if you apply for an extension.

These fees are for applications made outside of the UK. If you’re applying from within the UK, the prices may differ. Additionally, there may be additional fees for services such as priority processing or courier services.

Note: You can contact the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) by e-mail or telephone and receive a reply within 24 hours in a range of languages via their International Enquiry Service if you have any general question, but they cannot give you advice about your personal circumstances.

Visa Extension

The process for extending your visa will depend on the type of visa you currently hold, the reason for your extension, and how long you wish to stay in the UK.

You must complete an online application form and provide supporting documentation to apply for a visa extension. You may also need to attend a biometric appointment to deliver your fingerprints and photograph.

How long does it take to obtain UK Visa?

British Embassy in Berlin, Germany


The processing time for a UK visa usually takes approximately three weeks, but it varies based on different factors.

The duration for processing a UK visa application depends on the type of visa you’re applying for, the country of application, your specific circumstances, and the number of applications received by the UK consulate or visa processing center at that time, among others.

You may be eligible for expedited visa processing services based on your visa type. The “priority service” option allows you to receive a decision within five business days by paying an additional fee of £500. On the other hand, the “super priority service” option costs £800 in addition to the visa fee and guarantees a decision by the end of the following business day.

Here are all your hotel options in London.

Obtaining a Visa to the United Kingdom does not have to be an intimidating process

Street view of Trafalgar Square at night in London

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Obtaining a UK visa can be a complex and challenging process for some, but it is crucial for those who wish to visit or reside in the United Kingdom.

With the correct information and guidance, applicants can successfully navigate the visa application process, secure the necessary documentation to enter the country legally, and enjoy all of the UK’s unique features!

Disclaimer: This article is updated regularly to ensure we are providing you with the latest information on VISA to the United Kingdom, but the visa situation might and do change. Please always double-check the UK Government website.

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