UK Visa - A Complete Guide for Indians Travelling to UK

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE



UK Visa Guide for Indians

The United Kingdom has always been a dream destination for many across the globe. It can be family holidays, business meets, honeymoon trips, or studies. As per the recent report by Tourism Vision for London, Indian visitors to the UK expected to increase by 90% by the year 2025. The UK is now inspiring Indians to travel to the country for more exploration. But this not just limited to tourism only. The UK is attracting Indian undergraduate and postgraduate students, with lucrative scholarships and exciting study options. So if you are an aspiring Indian, who wants to go to the UK for any reason, then we have a complete guide for you.

Types of UK Visas:

We take you through the entire process of getting a visa for the UK from India, different types of visas, and answers to some questions that can scorch your mind about the UK visa. There are below different UK visas for Indians:

Standard Visitor Visa

  • A standard visitor visa, also known as tourist visa application for the Indians traveling to the UK for leisure, business, or medical treatment.
  • The preceding general visitor visa has replaced this visa, prospective entrepreneur visa, child visitor visa, sports visitor visa, business visitor visa, entertainer visitor visa, approved destination status visa, family visitor visa, and private medical treatment visa.
  • This UK tourist visa from India permits you to stay there for up to 6 months. However, there are certain situations in which you may be able to stay for longer, like if you are an academic on sabbatical, and wish to come to the UK for research, you may be able to stay for 12 months.
  • This tourist visa permits you to participate in the business activities specified in the Visitor Rules; study for up to 30 days, only if it is not your main purpose of traveling; take part in an educational visit or an exchange program, but only if you are below the age of 18, and pass through the country in transit to your other destinations.
  • This type of visa prohibits you from - doing paid/unpaid work; marry or register a civil partnership; get public funds, or living in the UK for long periods through frequent visits.
  • A Standard Visitor visa costs £95. The fee for a long term standard visitor UK tourist visa would depend on the duration of your visit - for 2 years, it would be £361; for 5 years, £655; and for 10 years, the cost of UK visa is £822.

>> Also Read Things to Include in Your UK Travel Itinerary

Marriage Visitor Visa

  • You would be eligible for a marriage visitor visa if you are looking to register a civil partnership or get married in the UK; if you're not planning to stay in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership or give the notice for the same.
  • This visa allows you to visit the UK for up to 6 months.
  • It also restricts you from bringing in dependants/family members (they would be required to apply separately); switch your visa to another visa or extend your visa; work, except for permitted activities related to your business/work, like attending meetings, etc.; live in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits.
  • The visa allows you to enter into a civil partnership or marry in the UK within 6 months of your arrival in the country, given that you are required to use a venue licensed for this purpose.
  • This visa allows you to pass through the UK in transit to your other destination.
  • This UK visa fee for application is £95.

Permitted Paid Engagement Visa

  • In the case that you have been invited to the UK as an expert in your profession, you become eligible to apply for a permitted paid engagement visa.
  • You also become eligible for this type of visa in case you want to come to the UK to do specific paid work without having to be sponsored by the points-based system for visas.
  • The permitted paid engagement visa costs £95 to apply, and allows you to stay in the UK for up to 1 month.
  • This type of visa permits you to give lectures in an educational institution, participate in entertainment, sporting activities, arts, and broadcasting as well; provide advocacy in a specific area of law; as well as minor activities relating to your business or work overseas.
  • This visa, however, limits you from living in the UK for an extended period of time; extension or switching to another visa; get public funds or do specific paid work unrelated to your area of expertise.

Tier 4 (General) UK Student Visa

  • This type of visa is applicable for an individual who is above the age of 16, has been offered a place on a course; is able to read, write, converse in and understand English; and has enough financial resources to support himself/herself and their studies in the UK.
  • The application fee for a Tier 4 (General) UK Student visa is £348.
  • This visa also entails a mandatory healthcare surcharge as a part of your application.
  • It allows you to arrive in the up to a week before the commencement of your course if your course is for 6 months or less; and one month before the commencement of your course, if your course is for longer than 6 months.
  • The duration permitted by this visa depends on the kind of course that you would be pursuing and what study you have already completed.
  • This type of visa prohibits you from working in certain jobs such as a sports coach or professional sportsperson, or study at an academy or a school funded by the local authority.
  • This visa allows you to study; work in most jobs, however, that depends on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have.

Considering these points, it is best to invest in a good student travel insurance plan. It will take care of you during uncertain times in a foreign place when you are away from family.

Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa

  • You would be eligible for a Tier 4 child UK student visa if you are between the ages of 4 to 17 and want to study in an independent school in the UK.
  • You would need to have the consent of your parents or guardian, a place in the desired school and have sufficient financial resources to cover your living costs and course fees in the UK.
  • Tier 4 Child Student visa also mandates a healthcare surcharge as a part of the application.
  • It also allows you to arrive in the up to a week before the commencement of your course if your course is for 6 months or less; and one month before the commencement of your course, if your course is for longer than 6 months.
  • This visa allows you to study at an independent school in the UK and also apply to extend your stay.
  • In the case that you are above 16 years, the visa allows you to work part-time during the term, for up to 10 hours per week; full time during vacations; also as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.
  • This UK visa for Indians, prohibits you from settling in the UK on this visa; work as a dentist or a doctor in training; take a full-time permanent job or be self-employed or study at an academy or a school funded by the local authority.
  • The application cost of UK visa for Tier 4 (Child) Student is £348. 

Tier 4 (Chevening, Marshall, and Commonwealth Scholars) Student Visa

  • This specific type of UK student visa is the visa application for recipients of the Chevening award, the Marshall scholarship, or the Commonwealth scholarship award.
  • The Chevening award is a scholarship awarded to recipients chosen by the British embassies and High Commissions throughout the world; to pursue a full-time Masters' course in the UK.
  • The Marshall Scholarship gives to American nationals looking to pursue a full-time Masters course in the UK.
  • The Commonwealth scholarship award gives to candidates from low and middle-income Commonwealth countries that are looking to pursue a full-time Masters' course in the UK.
  • The duration permitted by this visa depends on the kind of course that you would be pursuing and what study you have already completed.
  • This type of visa prohibits you from working in certain jobs such as a sports coach or professional sportsperson, or study at an academy or a school funded by the local authority.
  • This visa allows you to study; work in most jobs; however, that depends on what level your course is and what kind of sponsor you have; and apply to extend your stay.
  • Commonwealth scholars do not need to pay any cost of UK visa.

Tier 2 (General) UK Work Visa

  • This is the visa application if you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and have been employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK.
  • You would be assigned a certificate of sponsorship by your sponsor and how much you would be paid after checking that you would be able to do the job that they are hiring you for.
  • You will have to pay the healthcare surcharge as a part of your application. The amount to be paid for a Tier 2 (General) visa would depend on the type of visa, and where you currently reside.
  • This UK work visa permits you to stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days and you can also apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years.
  • This type of visa allows you to do a second job as well in certain circumstances; do voluntary work; travel abroad and return to the UK and bring family members with you.
  • This UK visa for Indians limits you from owning more than 10% of your sponsor's shares unless you are earning more than £159,600 annually or apply for a second job until you have started working for your sponsor.
  • The cost of UK visa for work depends on the type of visa and minimum it is £704. 

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa

  • You can apply for this type of visa if you are an elite Indian sportsperson or qualified coach, recognized by your sport's governing body as being at the highest level of your profession internationally.
  • You would be required to present a certificate of sponsorship assigned to you for the government body endorsing your application.
  • The charges for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa depending on where you are currently residing.
  • This visa requires you to pay the healthcare surcharge as a part of your application.
  • This visa allows you to go to the UK for up to 3 years, and can also apply to extend this visa for up to another 3 years, to a maximum stay of 6 years.
  • This visa allows you to do voluntary work; study as long as it doesn't interfere with the job that you have been sponsored for; do a second job in certain circumstances; work as a sports broadcaster; travel abroad and return to the UKL play for your national team in the UK; and also bring family members with you.

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa

  • You can apply for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa if you have been offered a job within a faith community, for instance as a missionary, minister of religion or a member of a religious order; in the UK.
  • You would need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply for this visa. You would also be required to present a certificate of sponsorship assigned to you by your sponsor.
  • The amount to pay for a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa depends on where you are residing currently.
  • You would also require paying the healthcare surcharge as a part of your application.
  • This visa allows you to stay for a maximum of up to 3 years and one month; or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus one month; whichever is shorter.
  • This type of visa allows you to work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship; do voluntary work; travel abroad and return to the UK; do a second job in certain circumstances, and study as long as it does not interfere with your sponsored job.
  • This visa prohibits you from getting public funds.

Tier 2 Intra- Company Transfer Long Term Staff Visa

  • You are eligible for a Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visa if your employer overseas has offered you a role in a UK branch of the organization.
  • You would be required to be sponsored by a licensed sponsor to be able to apply for this visa. You would also be required to present a certificate of sponsorship assigned to you by your sponsor.
  • Applying for a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Long term staff visa would be applicable if you are transferring into a role with a company with whom you have had previous working experience.
  • You would be required to have worked with the company for more than 12 months and be paid more than £73,900 a year while working in the UK.
  • This visa costs £610 if you applying for up to 3 years, if more than 3 years, you would be required to pay £1,220.
  • You would also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as a part of your application.
  • The visa permits you to stay for up to 5 years and one month if you are earning less than £1,20,000 a year; and up to 9 years, if you are earning more than £1,20,000 a year.
  • This type of visa limits you from starting to work in the UK before you get a visa.

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee Visa

  • You are eligible for a Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visa if your employer overseas has offered you a role in a UK branch of the organization.
  • You would be required to be sponsored by a licensed sponsor to be able to apply for this visa. You would also be required to present a certificate of sponsorship assigned to you by your sponsor.
  • Applying for a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Graduate Trainee visa is applicable for transfers into graduate trainee programs for specialist roles.
  • You would require being a recent graduate with at least 3 months' experience with your employer overseas.
  • You can apply for a visa up to 3 months prior to the day you are due to start work in the UK.
  • The cost of this visa is £482.
  • You would also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as a part of your application.
  • This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 12 months.
  • This visa allows you to do voluntary work; travel abroad and return to the UK; bring family members with you; do a second job in the same profession and at the same level as your main job for up to 20 hours a week; and study, as long as it does not interfere with your sponsored job.

Short-term UK Student Visa

  • You are eligible to apply for a short-term study visa if you are doing a short course of study in the UK.
  • This visa allows you to stay in the UK for 6 months for any short course, or a short period of research if you are above the age of 16 years; or up to 11 months if you are above the age of 16 and are taking an English language course.
  • This visa costs £97 for a 6-month visa and £186 for an 11-month visa.
  • This visa allows you to pursue a short course of study in the UK, such as a training course or an English language course; or to do a short period of research as a part of a degree course that you are pursuing abroad.
  • This visa, however, prohibits you from studying at a state-funded school; extending this visa; bringing family members with you, or work or carry out any business.

PBS Dependant Partner Visa

  • A PBS dependant partner visa is applicable for a family member of a person who has a valid UK visa under the points-based system (PBS) which is under Tiers 1, 2, 4 or 5 and is looking to apply for permission to enter and remain in the UK for a limited period.
  • This visa costs about £610 and allows you to stay in the UK for a period of 3 years.
  • You may extend your visa for up to 5 years.
  • This visa also allows you to work in the UK, but with the exceptions of a professional sportsperson, coaching, doctor/dentist in training unless you have obtained a primary degree within the UK.

PBS Dependant Child Visa

  • A PBS dependent child UK visa for Indians is applicable for the minor child of parents who are lawfully present in the UK, not as visitors; or are seeking to leave for the UK at the same time; under the points-based system (PBS) under Tiers 1, 2, 4 or 5. 
  • This type of cost of UK visa for PBS dependent child is about £610 and allows the child to remain in the UK as long as the parents are living in the UK.

We, at Care Health Insurance, always advise that irrespective of the reason for your visit to the United Kingdom it is always best to invest in overseas travel insurance. Having a plan in place acts as a safety blanket during uncertain situations and provides peace of mind. A little investment with us goes a long way. 

UK Visa Application Generic Requirements

Here is a list of common UK visa generic requirements: 

  • Fill the visa application form three months before your intended date of travel. Keep in mind not to confirm your travel bookings until you have been issued a UK visa.
  • If you want to reschedule the visa interview appointment, you would have to resubmit your application form. So you should set the appointment after due consideration.
  • Remember to get your picture clicked as per the criteria outlined for the visa application.

You would also be required to carry a signed and dated printout of your online application form to your interview as well as the supporting documents as mentioned in your application.

UK Visa Online Application Process:

To apply for the UK visa, you would have to:

Decide the purpose of your visit: The first thing you should consider while applying for a UK visa online is to check your purpose. Whether you want to go for tourism, business or study purpose. Depending on the purposes, various visas are available. So decide your goal and then apply for a visa accordingly

Choose the correct type of UK visa: Depending on your purpose of traveling to the UK, you would have to apply for the right type of UK visa. Check the eligibility criteria and choose amongst standard visitor visa, Tier 2 general visa, permitted paid engagement visa, marriage visitor visa, Tier 4 general student visa, or others.

Complete the application form online: You are required to enter the correct information on your application, and it should comply with the information available on your submitted documents, else your application gets rejected.

Collect the required documents: As the visa requirement mandates, you have to compile accurate copies of a set of certain documents as proof and have to submit online. Make sure you will all the details correctly.

Schedule a visa appointment: The next step in the process would be to schedule an appointment with the British High Commission. You have to take the print of the confirmation email with the details of your appointment for the interview.

Attend the interview: Being punctual on the day of your interview, along with correct copies of your documents, are important for this stage of your visa application.

UK Visa Processing Time: The approval time depends on what kind of visa you are applying. The visa processing time is of 3 weeks, but it can go up to 90 days even. 

Wait for approval/rejection of visa: This is the final stage of the application process where you wait for the approval or rejection of your visa application.

Documents required for the UK Visa Application

Listed below are the documents required for the UK visa application:

  • A fully completed and printed visa application form.
  • A passport, which remains valid for the entire period of stay in the UK.
  • Two passport-sized colored photographs, which are as per the mandated requirements of the application.
  • Biometric information, which is required for a visa for longer than six months.
  • A detailed travel itinerary- information about your travel plans, your tickets, and others.
  • Letter of invitation for UK visa, which must be written by a citizen or a legal resident of the UK, with whom you have family ties or friendship.
  • Copy of the receipt of the payment of the visa fee.

While these are the main documents required for the UK Visa application, there may be additional documents required based on the type of visa applied for. The UK visa processing time varies according to the type of visa.  

>>Also Read Money Saving Tips for Your UK Christmas Holidays

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need a visa to visit the UK?

Nationals of certain countries require a visa to visit the UK while nationals of some countries are exempted from visa to visit the UK. However, if you are a citizen of India and want to visit the UK then a visa is required.

How do I apply for the UK Tourist Visa from India?

You can apply for the UK tourist visa from India through an online application. This application form is available on the UK Visas and Immigration official website.

How much does UK Tourist Visa from India cost?

The cost of getting the UK visa varies depending upon the type of visa that is being applied for. A standard visitor visa which is for short term (for a period of up to six months, single or multiple entries) costs about INR 9000. While on the other hand, a long term visitor visa which is valid for up to two years costs approximately INR 34000. Similarly, the cost varies depending on the type of visa.

Which Countries need UK Visa?

At present, there are about 111 countries that need a visa before visiting the UK. Some of these countries are India, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Pakistan, Ghana, Algeria, Burma, Sudan, China, South Africa, Russia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, and Georgia. UK Visa for Indians is mandatory.

If my Visa is issued, from when does the validity begin?

When the visa is issued, the authorities give a fixed start date, which they try to align with your travel plans. It is only from this date onwards that the validity of the visa begins. In case if the start date is different from what your travel requirement, then you can request the visa authorities for another start date.

Can I confirm all my travel bookings before getting the Visa?

It is not mandatory to confirm all travel bookings before getting the visa. It is advisable to book refundable options as flight and hotel confirmation are required when applying for the visa.

So, never let visa formalities to create hindrance in your growth. If you want to go to the UK to pursue your dreams or gain incredible experience, apply for a visa. But along with the visa and documents required for the UK visa application, you should also get yourself insured with the right travel insurance. Care Health Insurance offers UK Travel Insurance a comprehensive travel cover that is your rescuer if you strike with any kind of uncertainties in the UK.