Choose a visa
You may need a visa to come 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 (external link) and what type you need. Depending on your nationality, you might not need a visa.
Your application must be approved before you travel.
If you want to visit the UK
Check which visa you need to visit the UK:
- for a holiday or to see family or friends (external link)
- for a business trip or meeting (external link)
- to get married (external link)
If you have a visitor visa you cannot take a job in the UK. You can do up to 30 days of study, as long as it is not the main reason for your visit.
The Home Office has provided a visa fees tool to work out the cost of your UK visa application.
To check how much your visa fees (external link) will be, visit GOV.UK's website.
If you are travelling through the UK
You might need a visa if you are travelling through the UK on your way to another country, for example if you have a layover between flights.
If you want to study in the UK
Your course length, type and place of study affect which visa to apply for.
- A short-term study visa (external link) lets you to study for up to six months (11 months if you are over 16 and studying an English language course)
- A general student visa (external link) for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place. You can do some work on this visa
- A child student visa (external link) is for four to 17 year olds who want to study at an independent school. If you are 16 or over, you can do some work on this visa
If you want to work or invest in the UK
You can work in the UK on a short or long-term basis with a work visa. There are many types of work visa (external link). 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 will be doing - for example sporting, charitable or religious work
If you want to join family in the UK
If you are a spouse, partner or family member of someone who has British citizenship or settlement in the UK, you can apply for a family visa (external link) 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.
Family reunion visas for refugees
If you were separated from your partner or child when you were forced to leave your country, you can apply for them to join you (external link) in the UK.
To apply you must have been given asylum or five years’ humanitarian protection, and not have British citizenship.
Other ways to get permission to live in the UK
You can apply for an Ancestry visa (external link) to work in the UK if you have a British grandparent and meet other eligibility criteria. You may have right of abode (external link) to live in the UK.
If you are a Commonwealth citizen and cannot prove your right to be in the UK, read about the Windrush scheme (external link)
If you had indefinite leave to remain (ILR) and left the UK for more than two years you will need to apply for a returning resident visa (external link) to come back.
There may be another visa that is right for you based on your circumstances. Check what other visas you are eligible for (external link)