A Standard Visitor visa is available to foreigners looking to visit the UK for the purpose of work, tourism, and for other short-term reasons. The following will provide a quick overview of this specific visa category, before exploring how to extend a visitor visa for longer than 6 months. Learn how long it takes to extend a UK Standard Visitor visa, the cost of extending a UK Standard Visitor visa, and visa decision waiting times (among other essential information).
What is a Standard Visitor Visa?
- The Standard Visitor visa is available for pursuit by non-UK nationals who are trying to enter the UK for reasons that include the following:
- Study (including academic research).
- Work (excluding self-employment/ any work performed for British companies).
- Health (such as to have surgery).
- While eligibility requirements for Standard Visitor visa holders differ depending on the applicant’s stated reason for seeking a visa, most individuals will need to demonstrate that they can/will do the following:
- Not attempt to fully reside in the country (unofficially) or establish any form of official residency.
- Exit the country before their Standard Visitor visa has expired.
- Financially cover their cost of living while in the country.
- Financially afford their cost of exiting the country at the end of their visa period.
- Individuals who successfully enter the UK on a Standard Visitor visa are banned from the following:
- Attempting to reside in the country by virtue of traveling there so frequently.
- Being employed by a British company or working for oneself.
- Receive UK welfare.
- Pursuing marriage/ a civil partnership in the country.
- Attending school for a period that is greater than half a year.
- The price of a Standard Visitor visa is £95.
- Foreigners who receive a Standard Visitor visa may remain in the country for a period not exceeding six months. However, that six-month period may be extended for individuals who meet certain criteria (see following section).
- Those who establish their intention to make frequent future trips to the UK can pursue a Standard Visitor visa with a long-term validity period of either two, five, and ten years, at a cost of £361, £655, and £822, respectively
- You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa online, from abroad (if you are already in the country when you seek the visa, you will have to exit it in order to lodge your application). In addition to the online component of the application, you will also have to attend an in-person appointment at a visa application center to submit your biometric information (photos and fingerprints). When you are ready to apply for a Standard Visitor visa, contact us here.
- The majority of applicants will typically experience visa decision waiting times of up to 21 days.
Extend a UK Standard Visitor Visa
- As mentioned above, the basic Standard Visitor visa allows holders to remain in the UK for a period not exceeding six months. Individuals who have spent fewer than six months in the country typically are granted permission to extend their time in the country (provided the theoretical extension would not amount to a stay exceeding six months).
- Additionally, applicants who continue to fulfill the original terms of the Standard Visitor visa, and who also fall into the below categories of persons, can extend a visitor visa for a period longer than 6 months. Applicants can only extend a UK Standard Visitor visa for specific reasons. The following types of applicants are usually eligible to extend:
- Academics, who provide evidence…
- Of having an advanced degrees (bachelor’s/master’s does not count).
- Of being previously employed at a university/institute abroad.
- That they will not take up a long-term academic position in the UK.
- That they are in the country for research purposes or on an official exchange program.
- Academics who fulfill the above requirements may remain in the country for a period not exceeding one year.
- Individuals who are receiving healthcare, who…
- Have already covered the financial costs of procedures they have undergone in the country.
- Provide evidence of their ability and intention to cover the financial costs of future treatment.
- Present the following from an authorized UK medical figure: written confirmation of the anticipated duration of their future intended procedure/care, information on their current medical condition in the context of any care they have received, evidence of the private medical care they are receiving.
- Patients who fulfill the above requirements may remain in the country for an additional six-month period.
- Graduate students who are retaking Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) exam or performing clinical attachment, who submit an official letter attesting to either fact.
- PLAB test retakers who fulfill the above requirements may remain in the country for an additional six-month period.
- PLAB test passers who seek to perform a clinical attachment who fulfill the above requirements may remain in the country for 18 months (a period inclusive of the six months already spent on a Standard Visitor visa).
- The price of extending a UK Standard Visitor visa is £993
How long it takes
- The processing time for extending a Standard Visitor visa is eight weeks for the majority of applicants (individuals who submit incomplete applications or whose applications require a more in-depth assessment, those who are asked to interview, and anyone with a criminal history might instead receive a decision after eight weeks).
- However, applicants who are in a rush to extend a Standard Visitor visa may be able to take advantage of an expediated service option (at an additional cost of £800 on top of the standard extension fee). The processing time for extensions via the expedited option is either one or two business days after the date of an applicant’s UKVCAS appointment, depending on whether they attended their appointment on a weekday or weekend, respectively.
How to apply
- Apply to extend a UK Standard Visitor Visa for specific reasons online, from within the country, prior to the expiration of your current Standard Visitor visa, by contacting us here.
- Please note that while the majority of the extension process is online, you will also have to fulfil the in-person requirement relating to biometric data collection (the submission of your photos and fingerprints), which will take place via appointment at the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center. At your appointment, you will have the opportunity to submit any required supplemental documents that you did not already submit online.
- Find out more information about how to extend a UK Standard Visitor Visa and the cost of doing so by contacting us here.
FAQs about how to extend a UK Standard Visitor Visa
- Can I extend my visitor visa in UK?
- Foreigners who came to the United Kingdom on a Visitor’s visa who are able to prove that they are staying for one of the stated justifications for an extension are eligible to apply for one. A Visitor’s visa allows you to be in the country for six months. If you would like to stay longer, you can do so, provided you intend to remain in the country in order to undertake one of the following purposes: 1) You came to the UK for scholastic purposes and you need to stay longer in order to pursue further academic research pertaining to your original eligibility as a scholar on a Visitor’s visa for academic purposes 2)You are experiencing significant health issues and need to have a procedure/undertake some other type of medical care 3) You have a university degree and need to remain in the country in order to sit for the PLAB test (Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board)—provided that this is your second time sitting for the test.
- Can you extend a tourist visa in the UK?
- Yes. What many would consider the UK Tourist Visa is officially known as the UK Visitor’s visa (specifically the UK Standard Visitor’s visa). If you are looking to come to England, Scotland, Wales, and/or Northern Ireland for the main purpose of tourism, you should apply for a Standard Visitor’s visa to the UK. If you successfully receive a Visitor’s visa to the UK, and you wish to extend your stay beyond the standard six-month Visitor’s Visa validity period, you may do so—provided you meet the requirements. In this sense you can apply your Tourist visa/Visitor’s visa in the UK.
- How to extend visitors visa?
- If you have determined that you meet the one of the three specific requirements for extending a visitor’s visa beyond the traditional six-month period, you must submit an application, pay your application fees, and submit (or resubmit) you fingerprints and photos (biometric information). The main extension fee is 1000 GBP. Applicants can remain in the country while they submit an application for extension. Applications are submitted electronically, online. Your reason for extension (academic, medical, PLAB test taking) will determine the specific documents you must submit as part of your extension application, as well as how long you may ultimately remain in the UK should you be granted an extension. Once you’ve submitted an application, you should receive a decision in fewer than eight weeks (please note that an expedited service is available for applicants in need of faster application processing times who are willing to pay more for expediated service).