The Ultimate Guide to UK Visas: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re like most people, you probably take your freedom of movement in the EU, or your right to travel freely, for granted. But it’s always worth remembering that there are many people around the world who would love to work in Britain but can’t because they don’t have the right visa or permit. This comprehensive guide to UK visas will take you through all the various types of visas on offer from the UK government so that you can decide which one suits your situation best.

The Ultimate Guide to UK Visas: Everything You Need to Know

The UK remains one of the most popular destinations in the world, and with good reason. It’s known for its diverse culture, rich history, and lively capital city. It’s also home to some of the best universities in the world! If you’re planning on traveling to the UK or just want to stay there as an ex-pat, you’ll need to apply for a visa from outside the country. Luckily, we have all the information you need about UK visas right here! This comprehensive guide will tell you everything about UK visas and their types, as well as how to apply for them.

What are UK Visas

UK Visas are documents that allow foreign nationals to enter, stay, and work in the United Kingdom. There are many different types of UK visas, each with its requirements. The most common type of UK visa is the Tier 2 visa, which allows highly skilled workers to come to the UK to work. There are also UK Visas for temporary residents, who have a right to reside in the UK for a limited period. Some UK visas allow you to live or study in the UK while others do not permit you any form of employment whatsoever. 

However, one Can say that a UK visa is the authorizing document that gives worldwide citizens the right to enter, stay temporarily or live forever in the territory of the UK. A visa is usually either a stamp you receive in your passport or a document given by a UK consulate or embassy in your country of residence.

If you are issued a visa, it means that you are eligible to enter the UK and that you meet the requirements of the particular visa that you have been given. There are different reasons why people want to apply for a UK visa, such as:

  • To work and to do business
  • To study
  • For short stays and tourism
  • To join family members who are already in the UK
  • To transit through the UK to another country
  • To live permanently
  • As a refugee or as someone who needs humanitarian protection
  • As a stateless person
  • As someone who needs permission to stay

Who Needs a UK Visa?

If you're planning on traveling to the United Kingdom, you may need a visa. The type of visa you'll need depends on several factors, including your nationality, the purpose of your visit, and how long you plan to stay. Some visas are also subject to UK work restrictions. Before you apply for a UK Visa, be sure to review this comprehensive guide about UK Visas and their types - it will answer all your questions!

Meanwhile, Switzerland and Commonwealth countries are not required to apply for a UK visa before entering the UK.

How to Apply for a UK Visa?

The UK visa application process depends a lot on the type of visa that you are applying for. Especially if your type of visa belongs to one of the Points-Based System categories. Though most of the requirements are the same for each category, the way they are evaluated in the system differs. There are also additional requirements that vary from one to another category.

When Should I Apply for a UK Visa?

The earliest you can apply for a UK visa is three months before the date of your intended trip here.   Yet, keep in mind that the processing of your visa application may take up to three weeks. Apply in advance, so you can give enough time to the consulate for the processing of your visa.

What are the Required Documents for UK Visa?

There are some standard UK visa requirements to apply for that every applicant must fulfill. These requirements vary on the visa type and the nationality of the applicant.

What is the Points-Based System (PBS)?

The Point-Based System (PBS) of the United Kingdom Visa is the means of regulating immigration to the United Kingdom from outside the country, as a replacement for the old system one which was much more complex and hard to be covered.


The PBS system evaluates visa candidates based on the points they can gather by meeting visa requirements. Each visa requirement has its points, and there is an appointed number of points the candidate should gather to receive the visa.

There are different reasons why people want to apply for a UK visa. That is why the United Kingdom has an organized visa system based on the purpose of visitors under multiple visa types.

British Tourist Visas

If you're planning a trip to the United Kingdom, you'll need to apply for a British Tourist Visa. The good news is that the process is relatively straightforward. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about UK visas, including the different types and how to apply. We'll start with a summary of what UK visas are in general - there are four main categories - then we'll break down each type of visa individually so you can determine which one will be best for your needs.

UK visitor visas are the most common type of UK visa and they let holders enter and stay in the country for up to six months (usually less).

As well as allowing visitors into the country, they allow holders to work or study while they're there.

Work Permits in the United Kingdom

If you want to work in the United Kingdom, you will need a work permit. There are several types of work permits, and the type you need will depend on your occupation and nationality. The most common type of work permit is the Tier 2 General Work Permit, which allows skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area to work in the UK for up to six years.

Family Immigration

If you're planning on moving to the UK with your family, you'll need to apply for a family immigration visa. The type of visa you'll need will depend on your relationship with the person you're planning on moving with. For example, if you're married to a British citizen, you'll need a spouse visa. Or if you have children who are under 18 and they're not married or in a civil partnership and they're not British citizens, then you'll need an ancestry visa. However, if your child is under 18 and is either unmarried or in a civil partnership and they are also British citizens, then they can come to live with you without needing their own UK Visa. In this case, as long as they meet all other requirements, they should be able to register as a UK national once they've arrived.

Another exception is that if you have parents or grandparents from the UK and you are their only surviving relative abroad - say, your father has died - then you might be eligible for an Ancestry Visa.

Studying in the United Kingdom

If you're looking to study in the UK, there are a few things you need to know about visas. The first step is to figure out which type of visa you need. The most common type of visa for students is the Tier 4 Student Visa. To be eligible for this visa, you must have an offer from a licensed UK university and prove that you have the financial means to support yourself during your studies.

Investing in the United Kingdom

If you're looking to invest in a foreign country, the United Kingdom is a great option. With a stable economy and plenty of growth opportunities, the UK is an attractive destination for investors. However, before you can invest in the UK, you'll need to obtain a visa. This can be a complicated process, but our comprehensive guide will help you navigate the process and ensure that you get the right visa for your needs.

Tier 1 Investor Visa – Establishing Your New Business

If you're looking to start a business in the UK, the Tier 1 Investor Visa is for you. This visa allows foreign nationals to invest £2 million or more in the UK, and in return, they are granted leave to remain in the UK for up to 3 years. Plus, there is no limit on the number of times you can enter or exit the UK with this visa. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Tier 1 Investor Visa: 1) Find out if you meet the requirements - To qualify for a Tier 1 Investor Visa, an applicant must have £2 million or more invested in UK businesses (or be able to show that their investment will create at least 10 new jobs). The funds must be available and transferable without delay to the UK.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa – Establishing Your New Business

If you're looking to start a business in the UK, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is your best bet. This visa allows individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to come to the UK and set up or take over a business. To be eligible, you must have access to at least £200,000 which will be invested into the UK economy. You can apply for this visa if you are a qualified person who can prove that you have been running your own active trading company abroad for at least two years. In addition, other criteria need to be met such as passing an English language test and paying an application fee of £1000.

Tier 2 Work Permit – Working in the United Kingdom Under an Agreement With an Employer Within the British Government

If you want to work in the United Kingdom under an agreement with an employer within the British government, you'll need a Tier 2 Work Permit. This type of visa allows you to take up employment that's been offered to you by a UK-based employer. The job you're applying for must also appear on the UK's shortage occupation list. To apply for this type of UK Visa, your employer will have to obtain a certificate of sponsorship from the UK’s Home Office and then file your application.

Leaving or Removing from the United Kingdom Under Immigration Rules

If you need to leave the UK for any reason, you must do so under the Immigration Rules. These rules are designed to ensure that those who come to the UK do so for legitimate reasons and do not overstay their welcome. If you break the rules, you may be liable for removal from the UK.

Here are the UK visa types:

  • Work Visas.
  • Business Visas.
  • Study Visas.
  • Visitor Visas.
  • Family Visas.
  • Settlement Visas.
  • Transit Visas.

Here are the types of Visas for the Uk following we will take this in Detail and one can apply for these visas depending on what you want to do in the Country.

Work and Business Visas

Besides its strict rules, not allowing to get a job for many of visa holders, the UK also offers Working Visas, especially for high-end professionals from other countries who wish to work and live in the UK for shorter or longer periods.
Categories of work and business visas

  1.   Highly qualified foreigners:
  2. Global Talent Visa

Skilled foreign workers with a job offer in a shortage area

  • Tier 2 (General) Visa
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Visa
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa
  • Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa

Youth mobility and temporary foreign workers

  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Visa
  • Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Visa


  • Croatian National Registration Certificate
  • Domestic Workers in a Private Household Visa
  • Exempt Vignette Visa
  • Turkish Worker Visa

The UK Business Visa types are the following

  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
  • Tier 1 Investor Visa
  • Turkish Businessperson Visa

Student Visas

These types of visas are issued to international students who want to study in the UK.
Categories of student visas

  •  Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
  • Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
  •  Short Term Study Visa

Tourist and Visiting visas

The UK is a very popular tourist destination, for shorter or even longer periods of visits. The UK Visitor Visas are issued for short stays, tourism visits, and similar purposes. UK authorities rarely do issue a tourism visa for a longer period than six months. Foreign nationals are prohibited from getting a job inside the UK with this type of visa, just as with many other types.

Final Thought 

Whether you're looking to study, work, or live in the UK, you'll need to apply for a visa. The process can seem daunting, but this guide will walk you through everything you need to know. We've broken down the UK Visa requirements and their types so that anyone can find what they need quickly and easily. First, let's cover some of the visas available for students.

If you want to study in the UK then there are two main options available - Tier 4 and Tier 2 - depending on your country of origin.

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