How to apply for a visa
This page explains how to apply for a visa as a family visitor.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to make your visa application online or by printing out and completing application form VAF1B. You can find out which method(s) you can use under 'More information' below.
You can download application form VAF1B and guidance notes from the right side of this page.
As part of your application, you will need to enrol your fingerprints and facial image (known as 'biometric information') at a visa application centre.
Select your country in our country finder to find out:
- how to apply in your country (including how to apply online);
- the location of our visa application centres;
- how long we generally take to process visa applications; and
- how your documents will be returned to you.
If your application is successful, you can find information about what will happen at the border (including customs requirements) in the Customs and travel information section.
Should you apply online or complete an application form on paper?
If you are applying for a visa from the following countries, you should apply using our online application system, Visa4UK:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- British Virgin Islands
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Cayman Islands
- Central African Republic
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- East Timor
- Equatorial Guinea
- French Guiana
- Guinea Bissau
- Hong Kong
- Ivory Coast
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- Palestinian Authority
- Papua New Guinea
- Russian Federation
- Samoa and Western Samoa
- San Marino
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- South Korea
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Vincent and Grenadine
- St Lucia
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos
- Vatican City
- Western Sahara
If you are applying for a visa from the following countries, you should apply by printing out an application form and completing it by hand:
- North Korea
If you are applying for a visa from the following countries, you can choose whether to apply using our online application system or by printing off the application form and completing it by hand:
- Sri Lanka
Short-term and long-term visit visas
A short-term visit visa allows you to come to the UK for a maximum of 6 months (or a maximum of 12 months if you are accompanying an academic visitor).
A long-term visit visa is valid for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. The application fee is higher than for a short-term visit visa.
If we grant you a long-term visit visa, you are allowed unlimited entry into the UK for the time that the visa is valid, but for a maximum of 6 months for each visit.
We recommend that you limit your stay to the period stated on your visa application. If you spend long periods in the UK as a visitor, our officers may doubt your intentions.
If you breach the conditions of your entry to the UK, we may ban you from returning for up to 10 years.
If you apply for a long-term visit visa, we consider:
- whether you can show a frequent and sustained need to come to the UK (such as family links or an established business connection);
- whether your personal circumstances are likely to change significantly while the visa is valid - so you should give us as much evidence as possible that your circumstances will remain the same;
- whether you have shown that you can support yourself in the UK without public funds, and that you intend to leave the UK at the end of each visit; and
- your previous travel history as shown in a current valid passport.
You should think carefully before applying for a long-term visit visa. We may refuse the visa or issue it for a shorter period than you have applied for (if, for example, the evidence that you provide does not support a long-term visit visa application, or does not meet the visa requirements). If we refuse the application or issue the visa for a shorter period, we will not refund your application fee.
If you have not applied for a UK visa before, we advise that you should consider applying for a short-term visit visa first.
General visitor, family visitor, entertainer visitor, sports visitor and child visitor - visa application fees
Short-term visit (up to 6 months, single or multiple entry) £80 Long-term visit (up to 2 years) £278 Long-term visit (up to 5 years) £511 Long-term visit (up to 10 years) £737
Visa for family visitors
- VAF1B application form - family visitor PDF 183KB opens in a new window
- VAF1A-1K guidance notes PDF 186KB opens in a new window
Translated visitor visa guidance notes
- Arabic VAF1A-1K guidance notes PDF 259KB opens in a new window
- Chinese VAF1A-1K guidance notes PDF 1.3MB opens in a new window
- Hindi VAF1A-1K guidance notes PDF 1.6MB opens in a new window
- Russian VAF1A-1K guidance notes PDF 307KB opens in a new window
- Thai VAF1A-1K guidance notes PDF 240KB opens in a new window
- Turkish VAF1A-1K guidance notes PDF 233KB opens in a new window
MORE NEWS AND UPDATES
- New visa application customer satisfaction survey
- Our application forms are changing
- Immigration Bill introduced
- Removal of appeals for family visitors
- Supporting documents guidance - visitors and direct airside transitPDF 228KB opens in a new window