Applying for a visa

Living in Europe, Working in Europe | Entry conditions/visas, Work permit | United Kingdom

Applying for a visa can be a lengthy procedure if not completed correctly. To have a smooth visa application process ensure you plan ahead of time and are aware of all costs involved. Some visa applications will also require separate documentation which you will also need to provide.

How to apply for a visa

Once you know the type of visa you want to apply for, read the relevant guidance document on the UK Visas and Immigration website to check that you meet all necessary requirements and can get the required documents.

Application forms for all types of visas are available on the UK Visas and Immigration website. You should complete and submit visa application forms online.

Visa processing times can vary so make sure you allow plenty of time before you want to travel. Find out about visa processing times.

The complexity of your visa application and your professional background can affect the timescale to process an application.

If you are already in the UK and want a quick decision on extending your visa or settling in the UK you can make an appointment at a premium service centre.

Again, the costs of visa can vary dependent on your personal circumstances.

Use the UK Visas and Immigration online tool to calculate how much you will be required to pay for a UK visa.

Use the UK's premium service centre to process your application faster. There will be costs associated with using this service.

If you have had a visa application refused, it may be because you did not provide adequate information about your planned activity, or that your intentions are better suited to a different visa category.

It may therefore be worth applying again under a different category.

ID and documentation

Will I need an ID card?

Although the UK does not require all citizens to have ID cards, some foreign nationals will still need a biometric residence permit (BRP).

A person applying to stay longer than 6 months automatically makes an application for a BRP. Anyone making an in-country application for cumulative leave for less than 6 months should apply for a Short Stay Permit (SSP). Holders of a BRP or SSP are not required to carry their permits at all times.

For more information on residence permits visit the UK Visas & Immigration website.

EU Settlement Scheme

If you are an EEA citizen and have started living in the UK before 31 December 2020 you have to apply for the free EU Settlement Scheme to guarantee your rights. You have until 30 June 2021 to submit an application.

If you are an EEA citizen and you want to come to the UK from 1 January 2021 you may have to apply for a visa through the new immigration system.

Advice for students

If you have outstanding questions, for example if you are not sure which is the appropriate visa for your situation, you may wish to seek advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs advice telephone service on (+44) 20 7788 9214 (from outside the UK) or 020 7788 9214 (from inside the UK). The line is open from Monday - Friday from 13.00 - 16.00 UK time.