What is the process of obtaining a UK visitor visa for a couple?

30 May 2024, 37 mins ago

To obtain a UK visitor visa as a couple, each person must submit their own application and pay the relevant fees separately. We’ve outlined the steps you’ll need to take to apply for a UK visitor visa.

If you wish to come to the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, visiting friends or family, carrying out a business activity, or undertaking a short course of study, you must be granted visitor status before arrival or at the entry to the UK. For visitors with other purposes beyond those listed, additional eligibility requirements may apply.

Who needs to obtain UK visitor visa?

If you are a national or citizen from the countries mentioned below, you would need to obtain a visa prior to your travel to the UK (exceptions may apply where there is a separate agreement between the UK and the countries mentioned below): 

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, People’s Republic of China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire (formerly Ivory Coast), Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea, Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea (North), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Macedonia (formerly Macedonia), Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

If your country is not listed above, you may be able to visit the UK without obtaining a visitor visa prior to arrival. You may be granted visitor visa status at the entry to the UK.

Application process

The Home Office timeline on processing a UK visitor visa is 3 weeks from the date of biometrics appointment – you can use the timeline as a guide to structure your trip itinerary. However, it may take longer if the Home Office decides your application is complex and you may have to provide further evidence.

The application process involves the following steps:

1. Fill out the online application form and provide the requested documents to the Home Office.

2. Book an appointment at a designated local visa centre in your country of residence to provide your fingerprints and photos (‘biometric information’).

3. Once your visa gets granted, you must arrive in the UK within the provided timeline.

Since the visitor visa application involves strict requirements, consulting a legal advisor can help ensure your application is complete and meets all eligibility criteria.

Even if you are travelling as a couple, your application will not be processed as a group. Each visitor must meet the requirements on their own merits (exceptions apply for nationals or citizens from an Approved Destination, such as the People’s Republic of China.)

Key requirements – genuine visitor

To obtain a visitor visa, you must prove that you are a ‘genuine visitor’. To do so, you need to show that:

  • you will leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • you will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits or make the UK your main home
  • you are genuinely seeking entry or stay for a purpose that is permitted under the Visitor route
  • you will not undertake (self) employment or establish a business in the UK
  • you have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs for your visit to the UK

To decide whether you are a genuine visitor or not, the following factors may be considered (the list is not exhaustive): 

  • your previous immigration history in the UK or any other countries, including the duration or previous visits
  • your financial circumstances as well as your family, social and economic background
  • your personal and economic ties to your country of residence
  • the cumulative period of time you have visited the UK and the pattern of travel over the last 12-month period

A standard visitor visa allows you to do tourism and other permitted activities. However, if you plan to engage in activities beyond this, you may need to meet additional requirements. These activities could include things like:

  • receiving private medical treatment
  • donating an organ
  • studying a short course
  • carrying out academic activities
  • undertaking work related training
  • marrying your partner or entering into a civil partnership
  • undertaking Permitted Paid Engagements

A UK visitor visa involves specific requirements. To ensure your application is strong and meets all eligibility criteria, consulting with a legal advisor is highly recommended.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on XFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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