uk tourist visa

UK Tourist Visa for Indian - Definitive Guide

The Stonehenge, The London Eye, The tower bridge, The Roman Baths, The magnificent castles of Edinburgh, these are just a few of the numerous tourist attractions in the United Kingdom. The kingdom can attract the widest variety of people. To witness the beauty of the UK, you would require a UK Tourist Visa for Indians.

What is a UK Tourist Visa?

UK Tourist Visa

To visit Britain for citizens other than from the EU, and other visa exempt countries would require something technically referred as the UK Visitor Visa. The visitor visa is issued for people who want to enter the country for a short period of time. Based on the purposes, these were further classified into several types. If your purpose is solely tourism, the visa used to be known as UK Tourist Visa, now commonly called as Standard Visitor Visa.  The visa is issued for a duration and validity of 6 months. If you require to travel to the country regularly, you may be issued with a visa that has a validity of up to 2,5 or 10 years.

How to apply for UK Tourist Visa?

UK Tourist Visa

The procedure for UK Tourist Visa application is fairly straight forward. However, before starting the application, it is necessary to ensure that you are applying for the right type of permit and that you have all the documents required for the process. The application for the UK Tourist Visa for Indian citizens can be explained as below - 

  1. Create an account portal of the UK visa and immigration service, or on Visa4UK. Both are portals by the UK government and can be used for the online application for UK Tourist Visa from India.
  2. Fill in your details in the UK Tourist visa application form online
  3. Proceed to pay the fees for the application. 
  4. Book an appointment for the document submission and biometrics at a VAC. 
  5. Print out the confirmation mail you receive of the appointment, and carry it with your documents to the appointment. 
  6. Submit the documents at the VAC, along with your biometrics. 

In certain special cases, you may be required to submit to an interview. Please note that you ensure all the documents submitted are original and genuine. Any wrong information or fake documents can lead to your application being rejected. A visa rejection is considered as a black mark in your travel history.

Eligibility for UK Tourist Visa

As per the UK Tourist Visa requirements for Indian citizens, you must meet the following criteria to apply for the permit.

  • You must hold an Indian passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel.
  • Your sole purpose must be to take part in tourism-related activities.
  • You must have sufficient funds to support your stay in the UK. 
  • You must also be able to prove that you have ties in the home country that will ensure that you return back to your home country after the permit expires.

UK Tourist Visa documents required

Every type of UK Visitor Visa has certain mandatory documents to be submitted with the application. The documents required for UK Tourist Visa from India are as follows  -

  • A valid passport
  • 2 photographs, as per regulations
  • Proof of legal residence - ID card, passport
  • Proof of previous travel history - copy of visa
  • Complete travel itinerary
  • Proof of accommodation - hotel bookings, Invitation letter from the host
  • Proof of employment or studies -
    •  If employed 
      • Employment contract copy or Employee ID card copy
      • Letter from employer stating sanction of leave for the travel period
      • NOC (No objection certificate) from the company
    • If self-employed
      • A copy of the business license
      • Copy in the commerce register or as a partner in a company
    • If student
        • Letter granting leave for the travel period, or NOC 
        • Proof of admission
    • If retired
      • Pension statement of the latest 6 months
      • Copy of Retirement letter/relieving letter
      • Proof of funds to support the stay -  Bank Statements for the last 6 months/ Passbook
      • Proof of ties in the home country - Rent agreement, proof of bank accounts, etc.

        UK Tourist Visa documents required

Photo specification

  • Recently taken
  • Dimensions- 35mm X 45mm
  • Clear basic cream or light grey background
  • Glasses - allowed only for medical reasons
  • Eyes - directly gazing at the lens
  • Headgear - not permitted except in religious cases
  • Facial expression - neutral
  • No “Red-eye effect” from the camera flash

UK Tourist Visa fees

The fees for the permit depends on several factors such as the duration of the visa, the number of entries, as well as any priority visa fees, biometric charges, and other service charges. It is necessary to convert the amount to Rupees while paying the UK Tourist Visa fees from India

Entry Stay Duration Validity Fees
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 6 months 9042.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 2 years 30124.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 5 years 54706.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 68561.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 6 months 23956.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 2 years 46124.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 5 years 70706.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 10 years 84561.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 6 months 67956.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 2 years 90124.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 5 years 114706.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 10 years 128561.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 6 months 9042.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 2 years 30124.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 5 years 54706.0
Multiple entry Normal 6 months 10 years 68561.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 6 months 23956.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 2 years 46124.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 5 years 70706.0
Multiple entry Express 6 months 10 years 84561.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 6 months 67956.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 2 years 90124.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 5 years 154044.0
Multiple entry Super Express 6 months 10 years 175222.0

How to check UK Tourist Visa status?

Once you have submitted your application, you will have to wait before your visa is processed. It usually takes about 15 days, and depend on several factors. In the meanwhile, you will receive updates regarding your application via email. Alternately, you can opt for SMS notifications. You can also do this by contacting the High Commission, or VAC via email or phone and telling them the application number. Once your visa has been approved, and you have chosen for them to deliver it to you, you can track the status using the GWF application number and entering it on the courier company’s website.

When you have this visa

While you are on this permit, you will have to keep in mind the following key points to ensure that you have a hassle-free experience.

  • Ensure that you carry all your travel documents along with your passport, visa. You will be required to show this at the border officers at the port of entry. 
  • Make a note of the expiry date in the vignette. You will have to exit the country before that date. Staying back after the expiry is a criminal offense.
  • While on a tourist permit, you cannot work or be employed. You may be able to take part in voluntary and unpaid work.
  • You cannot use public funds in the UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do when you have a UK tourist visa?

Since the tourist visa is a nothing but UK Visitor visa, you can perform activities that are covered under this. These include sightseeing, visit friends/family, medical treatment, take part in charity/voluntary unpaid work provided that it does not last more than 30 days, business-related activities such as attending meetings, training, as well as sports-related activities.

What are the reasons for a UK tourist visa to be rejected in India?

Normally, the visa applications are rejected for the following reasons - 

  • Wrong information in the application form / fake documents submitted
  • Insufficient funds to support the stay
  • Irrelevant or unconvincing travel itinerary
  • Criminal history in the past
  • Previous visa rejections from the UK or any other countries
  • Passport nearing expiry/invalid
  • Incomplete application form

How many funds do I need to show for a UK tourist visa if I have a sponsor there to accommodate me?

There is no exact amount you will need to show for obtaining the visa. The purpose of the financial documents is to prove that you can support your stay, as well to show your stability and expense patterns. As a result, if you have a sponsor, you do not need to show funds except for your basic expenses. You will, however, require an invitation letter from the sponsor showing that you will be staying with them and that he will be sponsoring you and the funds.

Can I get a UK tourist visa after a family visit visa was refused?

This totally depends on a few factors such as the reason why you were rejected the first time, the integrity of your new application, etc. If your previous application was refused due to technical reasons such as insufficient funds, insufficient proof, etc, as long as your situation has changed, and you have enough funds, and correct documentation, etc, you will have limited problems in the application. However, if you had been rejected due to criminal history, or other major reasons, chances are that you will be rejected again.

Do I need an invitation letter to apply for a UK tourist visa?

No, you do not need an invitation letter to get a UK tourist permit. Unless you are being sponsored by a family member or friend, you will not require this. However, if you are applying for a UK visitor visa for a friend or a family visit, you will need an invitation letter. Alternately, even if you are applying to take part in tourism, submitting an invitation letter may help your application.

Does a UK tourist visa need medical insurance?

No, you will not need medical insurance to travel to the UK on a tourist permit. Since the visa is for less than 6 months, it is not mandatory. However, since healthcare can be expensive in the UK, it is suggested that you obtain insurance before traveling.

Can I apply for a UK tourist visa along with a schengen tourist visa?

No. The Schengen and UK have different types of permit. The United Kingdom is no longer a part of the Schengen region. Also, if you apply for the two visas at the same time, you will have to submit the passport for stamping. This will not be physically possible. As a result, you will have to apply for one of them first, and then apply for the other one after that. If you have aUK stamp, your chances of getting a Schengen visa will be higher, and vice versa.

What is the eligibility condition for a 2,5,or 10 year UK tourist visa?

To get the 10-year tourist permit, you will have to apply for the Long term visitor visa. This can be given for 2,5, or up to 10 years. Unlike the short term type, these are harder to get. You will need to provide sufficient proof that you have a need to visit the UK multiple times over the years. Also, you’ll have to convince them that your motive of visit over the years will not be changed. Also, you will need to submit proof that you will return to your home country after each visit. 

Will a US visit visa help in getting a UK tourist visa?

Not directly. You will not receive a UK permit just because you possess a B1/B2 visa. However, if you have been stamped with US permit, your travel history becomes stronger and your credibility is higher as long as you have not overstayed in the US, or have been charged with other offenses. The US permit can then be a factor in convincing the consular officer processing your UK application. 

What is important to include in a cover letter for a UK tourist visa?

As per the requirements, you will not need a covering letter for the UK tourist permit. It has been clearly mentioned that you should not attach documents that are not required in the application. However, for visa types that require a covering letter, they would usually require your basic details, the purpose of the visit, duration and other details of the visit, as well as the source of funds.

When can I reapply for a UK tourist visa?

There is no official waiting time to reapply for a UK tourist visa. When your application has been refused, you will receive a letter explaining the reason behind it. Depending on this, you will have to make sure that you have corrected the faults in the previous application and apply for a new one. It is suggested that you wait for a sufficient time to prove that your situations or documents have been improved for the new application. 

Are criminal checks carried out on all UK tourist visa applicants?

Criminal checks are not usually done for a tourist visa. However, it is important to mention it in the application form if you have had criminal convictions in the past. The UK have the right to check your criminal record if required. If you have lied in the application form about any convictions, your application will be rejected, and you may even be banned for up to 10 years.

Can I get the UK tourist visa even if I am unemployed?

Yes, you can get a UK tourist visa even if you don’t have a job. Employment is not a requirement for the permit. However, you will need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your stay in the UK. You will also have to show that you have some ties in your country that will ensure that you return back to it. These can be proof of any property, or education, etc.

Can you apply for a UK tourist visa after a month once you leave the UK?

Yes, you can apply for another tourist permit after you leave the UK post your visa expiry. There is no rule on waiting time to reapply for the visa. However, keep in mind that your chances of it getting approved depend on the application, genuinity, as well as your previous stay in the UK. Now that you have already visited the UK on a tourist visa, the visa officers will look into your stay and the period. If you had failed to follow any of your visa regulations, you will be rejected.

How can I extend my UK tourist visa?

Normally, you cannot extend your UK tourist visa. You will have to leave the country and then reapply for another visa. However, under extreme circumstances such as unforeseeable emergency reasons, you will be permitted to have an additional 14 day stay in the country. These include medical reasons, issues where your home country is not safe, etc. Once this is done, you will have to leave the country no matter what. 

What are the chances of denial of UK tourist visa if you have no travel history and are travelling for the first time?

The chances of denial are solely dependant on your application and the documents. Since you are traveling for the first time, you do not have any history of visa rejections. As a result, you are free from that. However, the rest of the factors still affect you such as the authenticity of the documents, solid purpose, funds, correct information, etc

Is it necessary to submit my UK tourist visa application online?

Yes, for applications for the UK permit from outside the UK, it has to be made online. The offline application is not followed anymore. For the online application, you will have to create an account on the visa and immigration services website, or on the beta Visa4Uk website. You can then proceed with the application based on the instructions.

What are the documents required from a sponsor for a UK tourist visa and how much bank balance is required?

If you are being sponsored by someone for your UK tourist permit, they will have to submit a few documents. They will have to submit an invitation letter stating their details, and also confirm that you will be staying with them and that they will be supporting your stay. For the bank balance, there is no specific amount to be shown. The UK government requires that you have sufficient funds to support your stay. This includes food, accommodation, travel, and other basic necessities.

 

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