How to Apply for UK Visa 2024 (VISA TYPES, ELIGIBILITY & COST)

How to Apply for UK Visa


Whether you’re drawn to the rich history, diverse culture, or countless opportunities, understanding the intricacies of applying for a UK visa is paramount to a successful transition. Embarking on a journey to relocate to the United Kingdom is an exciting and life-changing endeavor.


Navigating through the various visa types, eligibility requirements, and associated costs can seem daunting, but fear not – this guide aims to simplify the process and equip you with the knowledge needed to embark on your UK adventure with confidence. From work permits to study visas, we’ll explore the essentials you need to know to make your dream of relocating to the UK a reality.



Choose a visa

You may need a visa to go to the UK to study, work, visit or join family. There are different visas depending on:

  • where you come from
  • why you want to come to the UK
  • how long you want to stay for
  • your personal circumstances and skills


Before you apply, you must check if you need a visa and what type you need. Depending on your nationality, you might not need a visa to visit or transit through the UK.




Apply for a Standard Visitor visa to visit the UK for up to 6 months. For example:

  • for a holiday or to see family and friends
  • for a business trip or meeting
  • to do a short course of study

You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK to get married or register a civil partnership.

If you have a visitor visa you cannot take a job in the UK.


2.  Visa to travel through the UK

You might need a visa if you’re travelling through the UK on your way to another country, for example if you have a layover between flights.

Apply for a visa to travel through the UK.



Your course length, type and place of study affect which visa to apply for.

Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than 6 months.

Short-term study visa lets you come to the UK to study an English language course that is over 6 months and up to 11 months.

Student visa is usually for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place. You may be able to do some work on this visa.

Child Student visa is for 4 to 17 year olds who want to study at an independent school. If you’re 16 or over, you can do some work on this visa.


4.Work Visa

You can work in the UK on a short or long-term basis with a work visa. There are many types of work visa.

The visa you need depends upon:

  • your skills and qualifications
  • if you have a job offer and sponsorship
  • if you want to bring your family with you
  • what you’ll be doing – for example sporting, charitable or religious work

You can set up a business with an Innovator Founder visa.


5. Family Visa

If you’re a spouse, partner or family member of someone who has British citizenship or settlement in the UK, you can apply for a family visa to join them. They may need to show that they can support you financially.

You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after a set amount of time living in the UK.


If your family member is in the UK on a visa

You may be able to apply for a visa to join a family member who’s in the UK on a visa. They must be either:

  • your spouse or partner
  • your parent if you’re 18 or under

Check what visa you’ll need to join them.


Family reunion visas for refugees

If you were separated from your partner or child when you were forced to leave your country, they can apply to join you in the UK.

Your family members can apply if you have been given asylum or 5 years’ humanitarian protection, and not have British citizenship.


UK VISA application

You can apply and pay for most visas online.

If you have dependants who want to come to the UK with you, each person will need to apply and pay separately.


When to apply

The earliest you can apply is usually:

  • 3 months before your planned travel date for visit visas
  • 3 months before your employment start date for most work visas
  • 6 months before your course start date for Student and Child Student visas

Settlement applications take up to 6 months and must be approved before you come to the UK. If you’re given permission to settle in the UK, you must travel before your permission ends.


How long it takes to get a decision

How quickly you’ll get a decision on your visa application depends on the visa you apply for.

You may be able to pay for a faster decision on your visa application depending on:

  • the type of visa you apply for
  • how you apply
  • where you apply from



There is a fee for each visa. The fee depends on which visa you apply for.

The fees are the same for each family member who applies to come to the UK with you.

Pay for healthcare

You’ll need to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application, if you’re:

  • applying for a visa to work, study or join your family
  • applying to stay for more than 6 months
  • not applying to live permanently in the UK


Applying for someone else

You can apply for a visa for someone else. For example, a relative overseas who does not have access to a computer or your child, if they cannot apply for themselves. You must get permission from the person you’re applying for, or written permission from their parent or guardian if the applicant is under 18. Enter the applicant’s details into the form, not your own.


Proving you do not have tuberculosis (TB)

If you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months you might need to have a TB test for your visa application.

Check if you’ll need a TB test.

If you do, you must provide a certificate showing you do not have TB with your visa application.


Change or cancel your application

If you want to change something in your application after you’ve sent it contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

You can ask to cancel your application. Your fee will only be refunded if UKVI has not started processing your application.



Other ways to get permission to live in the UK

If you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. If you started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme instead of applying for a visa. The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021, but you can still apply if you can show reasonable grounds for the delay in applying.

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

You can only apply from outside the UK if you have a valid passport or national identity card with a biometric chip.


Commonwealth citizens

You can apply for an Ancestry visa to work in the UK if you have a British grandparent and meet other eligibility criteria.

You may have right of abode to live in the UK.

If you’re a Commonwealth citizen and cannot prove your right to be in the UK, read about the Windrush scheme.


Returning residents

You’ll need to apply for a returning resident visa to come back to the UK if one of the following is true:

  • you had indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme (‘settled status’) and left the UK for more than 5 continuous years (or 4 continuous years if you’re a Swiss citizen or their family member)
  • you had permanent permission to stay in the UK (‘indefinite leave to remain’) but it was not under the EU Settlement Scheme and you left the UK for more than 2 years



In conclusion, applying for a UK visa is a pivotal step towards realizing your aspirations of relocating to this vibrant and dynamic country. By familiarizing yourself with the different visa types, ensuring you meet the eligibility criteria, and budgeting for the associated costs, you can navigate the application process with ease and embark on your UK journey with confidence. Remember, each visa application is unique, so it’s essential to seek personalized advice and guidance if needed. With determination, preparation, and a clear understanding of the requirements, you can turn your relocation dreams into a thrilling reality in the United Kingdom. So, take that first step towards your new adventure – the UK awaits.

About Bold 201 Articles
IT specialist and blogger dedicated to empowering individuals by providing valuable information, access to resources, and essential skills for personal development. Committed to making a positive impact through knowledge-sharing

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