Depending on your nationality, you may not need a visa before you travel to the UK. You should check if you need a visa in advance of travelling to the UK, OR if you can gain entry at the UK border.
If you are on the list of nationalities who require entry clearance (a visa) before you travel to the UK as a Visitor, you are considered a visa national under the Immigration Rules. You must apply online, within your country of residence once you have all the required documentation and information required to submit an application.
The earliest you can apply for this visa is 3 months before you travel. You should ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to make your application and receive your visa.
The current fee for the Standard Visitor (6 month) visa is £100* and is currently taking an average of 6 weeks to process. You can find the most updated information about how long it takes to process a visa in your home country on the UK Government website.
*Fees are subject to change*
If you are a non-visa national you can ask for a Visitor visa stamp upon entry to the UK from the Border Force Officers. You can check the UK Government website for the list of nationalities who require entry clearance (a visa) before you travel to the UK as a Visitor. If you do not appear on this list you are considered a non-visa national under the Immigration Rules. However, you will still need to show that you meet the requirements of the Standard Visitor visa, so you should make sure to prepare your supporting documents (listed in our 'Documents' section below) and carry them with you in your hand luggage in case you are questioned at UK Border. In addition, you should also provide evidence that you have booked your return flight out of the UK. You will not get a stamp if you use the eGates at the Border, therefore, please keep hold of your boarding pass as evidence of your date of entry into the UK.
EU nationals now require immigration permission to live, study and work in the UK. You do not need to apply for this visa in advance of travel, you can also enter the UK via the eGates and automatically be granted leave to enter the UK as a visitor for 6 months and will not receive a stamp in your passport. The 6 month visit visa begins from your date of first entry to the UK and ends when you leave the UK. It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not stay in the UK for more than 6 months as a visitor.