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Choose a visa

You may need a visa to study, work, visit or join family.

There are different visa types depending on:


  • where you come from
  • why you want to come to the country
  • how long you want to stay for
  • your personal circumstances and skills

Before you apply, you must check if you need a visa and what type you need. Depending on your nationality, you might not need a visa to visit or transit through some countries.

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Visitor Visa

Apply for a Standard Visitor visa to visit the country. For example:

  • for a holiday or to see family and friends
  • for a business trip or meeting
  • to do a short course of study

You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if you want to visit the country to get married or register a civil partnership.

If you have a visitor visa you cannot take a job in another country.

If you’re travelling through a country

You might need a visa if you’re travelling through a country on your way to another country, for example if you have a layover between flights.

Study visa

Your course length, type and place of study affect which visa to apply for.


Standard Visitor visa lets you do a short course of study that lasts no longer than 6 months.


Short-term study visa lets you come to the UK to study an English language course that is over 6 months and up to 11 months.


Student visa is usually for a longer course. You must be sponsored by a licensed college or university and have a confirmed place. You may be able to do some work on this visa.


Child Student visa is for 4 to 17 year olds who want to study at an independent school. If you’re 16 or over, you can do some work on this visa.

Work visa

You can work in the country on a short or long-term basis with a work visa. There are many types of work visa.

The visa you need depends upon:


  • your skills and qualifications
  • if you have a job offer and sponsorship
  • if you want to bring your family with you
  • what you’ll be doing – for example sporting, charitable or religious work


You can set up a business with a Start-up visa or an Innovator visa.

Family visa

If you’re a spouse, partner or family member of someone who has citizenship or settlement in a country, you can apply for a family visa to join them. They may need to show that they can support you financially.

You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after a set amount of time living in the country.


If your family member is in the country on a visa



You may be able to apply for a visa to join a family member who’s in the country on a visa. They must be either:


  • your spouse or partner
  • your parent if you’re 18 or under


Check what visa you’ll need to join them.

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