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Moving to the UK? Apply for a visa suiting your migratory status

Moving to the UK? Apply for your visa

Need to move to the UK? Whatever the reason: professional, educational, familiar, or touristic, you must know the different types of visas there are, and to which one you will need to apply for to enter the UK.

Many factors will be considered, such as your nationality, the length of your stay and your reasons for coming. The requested visa will be issued according to your situation.

In this article, we will provide you a list of all the different visas that exist in the UK and we will explain you how to apply for them. Also, we will explain what is the procedure to stay in the United Kingdom for a longer period by applying to a residency or acquiring the Bristish citizenship.

UK Visa categories

UK visas can be divided into three broad categories, as follows:

  • • Short-stay visas: these visas can be valid for any period going from 24 hours to up to six months. They include tourist visas, visitor visas, and transit visas.

  • • Non-immigrant visas: these are longer-term temporary visas for purposes such as studying or working on a fixed-term temporary contract, where the applicant doesn’t intend to stay in the UK beyond a fixed period.

  • • Immigrant visas: last, this visa category is for those who want to stay in the UK long-term or permanently, for example, those relocating for work or family reunion purposes.


As from January 2021, EU/EFTA citizens are able to enter and stay in the UK without a visa for six months. For longer stays, they will need to apply to the Home Office for the appropriate UK visa.

The UK also allows citizens from 56 other countries, including Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, and the US, to stay in the country without a visa for up to six months.

How to apply for a UK visa

1. Short-stay UK visas

As explained above, there are several such visas, namely:

  • a. Standard Visitor visa:

  • This visa allows you to travel for tourism, business, or private purposes and stay for up to 6 months, if you can prove that you can support yourself for the duration of your stay without working.

    You will also need to provide a current passport or valid ID, and to pay the fee of £95.

    It is possible to extend this visa as a long-term visitor visa, however, you will only be able to stay for a maximum period of six months at a time and prove each time you’ll come that you can support yourself. The costs for long-term visitor visas are:

    • • £361 for two years

    • • £655 for five years

    • • £822 for 10 years

  • b. Short-term Study visa:

  • This visa is for short-term study courses, lasting six months or less. This permit can be granted for up to 11 months if you are over 16 years old and studying an English language course. The cost of this visa is £97 for 6 months and £186 for 11 months.

    In addition, you will need to prove that you can support yourself without working and provide a valid passport or ID.

  • c. Marriage Visitor visa:

  • This visa allows you to get married in the UK, as long as you are not planning to live in the UK. The cost for this visa is £95 and it is valid for 6 months. You will have to prove that you can support yourself during your stay.

    You also will need to provide:

    • • A proof of marriage plans in the UK

    • • A valid passport

    • • Accommodation plans during your stay

    2. Non-Immigrant UK visas

    These visas are made for people who want to stay for more than 6 months in the UK. Most longer-term visas are issued for periods of between 1-5 years with the chance to extend them if you wish to stay longer.

  • a. Study visas:

  • This visa is different from the short-term study visa and there are two different types of study visa:

    • • General Student (Tier 4) visa

    • • Child Student (Tier 4) visa

    These visas are available to any pupils from 4 to 17 years old who have been offered a placement at a recognized British study place. General student visas are granted for the length of the study course. Child student visas are available for those aged 4-17, and they can be valid for up to six years (or three years if the child is 16 or 17).

    The cost for these visas is £348 plus healthcare surcharge costs. In some cases, it’s possible to extend this visa. The cost of the extension is £475.

  • b. Short-term work visa & Work and Business visa:

  • There are plenty of these visas for people who want to work for some time without wanting to settle in the UK permanently. Please follow this link to find out the one which suits you best:

  • c. Family visa:

  • You can apply for a family visa in the UK if you want to come and live with your spouse, fiancée, children, or parents, or if you come to the UK because a relative is providing you with long-term care.

    The cost of this visa is £1,523 (or £1,033 if you apply from inside the UK). Family visas last for 2 to 5 years, but the exact length will depend on your situation. You will need to provide a valid passport or official ID when you enter the country.

    3. Immigrant UK visas

    If you wish to settle permanently in the UK, you will need to prove that you have been in the UK for at least 5 years and apply for a permanent settlement.

  • a. Work and Business visa:

  • If you are planning to settle for professional reasons for 5 years or permanently, you should first apply for a work visa and then apply for a settlement permit.

    Visas that can be extended for a five-year period or beyond are:

    • • General work (Tier 2) – extended to a maximum of six years total.

    • • Intra-company transfer (Tier 2) – maximum nine years.

    • • Minister of Religion (Tier 2) – maximum six years.

    • • Investor – can be extended indefinitely if the business is still running and you still meet the eligibility requirements.

    • • Global Talent – can be extended for five years at a time indefinitely.

    • • UK Ancestry – maximum 10 years.

    • • Representative of Overseas Business – maximum five years

  • b. Family visa:

  • As with the work visa, before applying for permanent residence for family reunion you will need to prove that you have been in the UK for 5 years (on a family visa for example). Children aged under 18 can sometimes apply for permanent residence earlier.

  • c. Retiring to the UK:

  • The retirement visa no longer exists in the UK. People wishing to come to the UK for retirement will first need to apply for a family, work or investment visa and then apply for permanent residence after five years.

  • d. Asylum-seekers and refugees:

  • If you want to apply as asylum-seeker or refugee, you must do it at the border control of any UK airport or at an asylum intake unit. It is not possible to apply for UK asylum from outside the country.


    If you are not a citizen from EU/EFTA but wish to stay in the UK to work or study for more than 6 months, you will need to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

    You can apply inside the UK at any of the following locations:

    • • UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS)

    • • Visa and Immigration Service and Support Centres

    • • Any UK post office

    Or apply from outside the UK at a visa application centre.

    The BRP is valid for the duration of your stay and for a maximum of 10 years. The cost is £19.20.

    We hope all this information has been useful and we wish you a pleasant stay in the UK.

    All visa categories that allow to live in the UK