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1. Check if you qualify

If you are an adult and you want to come to the UK as a tourist or to visit friends, you should apply to come here as a general visitor. You can also apply for this visa if you want to visit some family members (such as your cousin or an immediate family member that is not settled in the UK).

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To come to the UK as a general visitor, you must be able to show that:

  • you are 18 or over;
  • you intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months (or 12 months if you are coming with an academic visitor);
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and
  • you are not in transit to a country outside the ‘Common Travel Area’ (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

You must also be able to show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:

  • take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public;
  • do a course of study, as long as this study is not the main reason for your visit (see the General visitors page for ‘permitted study’);
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership;
  • carry out the activities of a business visitor, a sports visitor or an entertainer visitor; or
  • receive private medical treatment.

Get your documents ready

For every document you provide, you must include the original document and a photocopy.

Show information

This includes a copy of your passport bio-data page (the page containing your photograph). If you do not provide a photocopy of each document, we might not return your original documents to you.

  • A signed copy of your completed visa application form.
  • A current and valid travel document or passport (your passport must contain at least 1 page that is blank on both sides, so that we can insert your visa).
  • 1 passport sized colour photograph which meets the requirements in our photo guidance.
  • Evidence of your permission to be in the country where you are applying, if you are not a national of that country.
  • Previous passports to show your previous travel history.
  • Evidence of your marital status. This could include a marriage certificate, a civil partnership certificate, a divorce certificate or a death certificate.
  • A planned itinerary, if you have one.
  • If you are visiting friends in the UK you may also want to provide:
  • Supporting letter(s) from your friend or sponsor in the UK.
  • Supporting letter(s) from your friend or sponsor in the UK.
  • Supporting letter(s) from your friend or sponsor in the UK.
  • Evidence of their immigration status in the UK, this could be copies of:

    1. bio-data pages from their passports

    2. valid visa or immigration stamp from their passport

    3. Home Office letter confirming permission to stay in the UK.

    If you send us a document that is not in English or Welsh, it must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by us.

    Each translated document must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document;
  • the date of the translation;
  • the translator’s full name and signature; and
  • the translator’s contact details.

Apply online

To come to the UK as a general visitor, you must be able to show that:

  • You will need to complete and submit a visa application form online at Visa4UK.
  • When you get to Visa4UK you will need to register and create an account.
  • When you have completed your online application form, you will need to print and sign your completed form. If you do not have access to a printer when you apply, you can log in and print the form later.
  • You must use the online appointment calendar to book an appointment at the visa application centre. You can book, change or cancel your booking online.
  • When you have completed your online application, you will receive an email message containing your application number (also known as a ‘GWF reference’). Please make a note of this number. Your appointment must be no more than 90 days after the date you completed and submitted your online visa application form.
  • Before you sign your application form, you must ensure that the information on the form is correct and your supporting documents are genuine and unaltered. If you do not have a document you should explain why you do not have it. You must not provide a false document.

Pay your application fee

There are 4 ways to pay your visa application fee. To find out how much your visa will cost go to our fees page

Payment online

You can pay your visa application fee online using a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card. We do not accept any other types of cards.

When your online payment has been taken, you will receive a confirmation email from our payment provider WorldPay. If you would like to withdraw your application and have your visa fee refunded, please use our refund request form.

If biometric information has been submitted and/or your application has been processed, you are not entitled to a refund either from UK Visas and Immigration or your card issuer. For more information, please see the Terms and Conditions of Service.

If you have applied for the wrong visa category, you will need to withdraw your application and reapply. Please follow the guidance above to request a refund, and then begin a new application.

5.Go to your appointment at the visa application centre

You must book and attend an appointment at our visa application centre to submit your application and facial photograph and fingerprints (we call this your biometric information).

Biometric information

We will not process your visa application without your biometric information, unless you are exempt.
Every time you apply for a visa you must come to one of our visa application centres so we can scan your fingerprints and photograph your face.

Applicants under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult when enrolling their biometric information. This adult cannot be a member of staff.

There is no extra fee for enrolling your biometric information. We will keep your biometric information for 10 years from the date when we last scanned your fingerprints and photographed your face.

Booking biometric appointments

If you are applying for a visitor, Tier 1, Tier 2 or settlement entry visa you must not choose the option of ‘Tier 4 applicants’ in the visa category when booking an appointment. Booking an appointment under the incorrect category or block booking appointments can lead to delays for yourself and other customers.


To scan your fingerprints, we use a machine and it does not use ink, liquids or chemicals.

You cannot enrol your fingerprints if your fingertips are cut or damaged, or if you have put any form of temporary decoration (such as henna) on them. You will not be able to enrol your biometric information until the injury has healed or the decoration has faded.

If any of your fingertips are missing, you must enrol your remaining fingerprints.

Facial photograph

We will photograph your full face. You must not be wearing sunglasses, tinted spectacles, hair across the eyes or anything that obscures your face, but you can wear a head covering for religious or medical reasons.