If you're looking at making a trip to the United Kingdom for a short period of time, for a holiday, to visit friends/family or for business purposes, British law mandates that you would have to apply for a visa.
This visa, referred to as a Standard Tourist Visa, can be used by individuals who wish to visit the UK for short periods of time (up to 6 months). In certain cases, individuals can be issued visas extending up to 10 years, subject to certain conditions.
Applying for a UK Tourist Visa
Individuals applying for a tourist visa to the UK can apply for either of the two types mentioned below:
Short Stay Visa- generally up to 6 months
Long Term Visitor Visa- up to 2, 5 or 10 years. A long term visitor visa can be applied for if the applicant can submit proof that frequent visits to the UK would be required over a period of time, and that the purpose of those visits would remain the same over the duration of the visa period.
The application process for a UK tourist visa is to be submitted to the UK High Commission or UK Visa Application Centers situated across the country. The visa application can be made online or in person.
UK Tourist Visa Eligibility
Individuals who are applying for a UK Tourist visa are required to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Submit proof of return on the scheduled date.
- Submit proof you can take care of your financial expenses while in the UK.
- Submit proof of any activities (business or otherwise) you wish to participate in that fall within the framework of permitted activities, while in the UK.
- For long term visa applications, the applicant has to prove that he/she has a recurrent need to visit the UK and that the purpose of the visit will remain constant for the duration of the visa.
- In case of visa applications for medical treatment, applicants should provide documentation of the treatment, have made arrangements for funding the treatment as well as prove they will leave the UK on completion of treatment.
UK Tourist Visa Documentation
Indian individuals applying for a tourist visa to the UK will have to provide the following list of documents along with their application form:
- Valid passport or travel document.
- Financial statements that prove the applicant can support himself/herself during the course of the trip.
- A translation of any document that is not in English or Welsh.
- Additional documents if the purpose of the visit is for:
- Entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Private medical treatment.
- Organ donation.
- Academics on a sabbatical.
- Academic purposes- to sit the Objective Structures Clinical Examination or the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board.
UK Tourist Visa Form
The application form for a UK Tourist visa is known as the ˜Visit and Short Term Stay (VAF1A) Form. This form can be downloaded from the official website of the UK government as well as from the British High Commission website.
The applicant should go through the instructions printed at the top of the form before filling in the form.
As a rule, only black or blue ink can be used to fill in the form and the form is to be filled in English only.
The applicant is required to enter the following details in the form:
- Type of visitor visa (tourist/to visit friends/other).
- Duration of stay.
- Main purpose of visit.
- Dates of travel (both the date of entry as well as date of exit from the UK)
- Applicants full name.
- Marital status.
- Date and place of birth.
- Nationality and country of birth.
- Dual citizenship status, if any.
- Passport details such as passport number, expiry, date and place of issue.
- Residential address.
- Contact information such as email address, telephone and mobile number.
- Family related information such as father/mother/spouse name, date and place of birth and nationality.
- Details regarding spouse/children, if any.
- Financial and employment details, such as current employment status.
- Type of employment currently engaged in, duration of employment and organisation details.
- Work address and previous work history.
- Details of income and employment.
- Details of cost of visit to the UK.
- Details of previous travel to foreign countries.
- Previous travel to the UK, with details, if any.
- Record of any criminal history in a foreign country, if any.
UK Tourist Visa Application Process
- The application form is to be filled out either online or by collecting a physical copy of the form. Online forms can be found on the website of the British High Commission or the British Consulate website.
- On submission of the form, the applicant will have to visit a Visa Application Centre at an allotted date and time where his/her biometric information (fingerprint scan and photograph) will be taken.
- The applicant will have to be present at the Visa Application Center along with the form, visa fee and all supporting documents to file his/her visa application.
- On completion of the filing process, an acknowledgment will be issued. The acknowledgment has to be presented when collecting the documents submitted.
- The applicant will be notified regarding the status of the application within a period of three weeks from filing the application.