Guide to securing a UK tourist visa from India
If you are an Indian national wanting to travel to the UK on a short-term basis for a holiday, or to visit friends and family, you will need to obtain a UK tourist visa from India in advance of travelling. If you arrive in the UK without a visa you will be refused leave to enter.
This guide sets out the process for applying for a UK tourist visa from India, including the basis upon which you can make an application, the eligibility and suitability criteria.
You can apply for a UK standard tourist visa from India if you want to visit Britain as a tourist or for many other temporary purposes including business. Examples include:
- for leisure reasons, ie, for a holiday, or to visit friends and family
- to carry out a business activity, ie; for a meeting, conference or seminar
- to take part in a specific sporting or creative event
- to do academic research
- to receive private medical treatment, or even to donate an organ to an identified recipient in the UK
You cannot however undertake paid work on the UK tourist visa, nor can you study, save except where this is not the main reason for your visit and for no longer than 30 days. Further, as a visitor to the UK, you will not have any recourse to public funds.
What are the eligibility criteria for a UK tourist visa from India?
As a visitor under a UK tourist visa from India you must meet the requirements of the Visitor Rules, even if you are travelling as, for example, a family group, a tour group or a school party. You must demonstrate the following:
- A genuine intention to visit, ie; that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit and you will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home.
- You are genuinely seeking entry for a purpose that is permitted under your visa category, and that you will not undertake any prohibited activities as set out under the Visitors Rules, eg, paid work.
- You have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit, without working or accessing public funds. This includes the cost of your return or onward journey, any costs relating to dependants, and the cost of any planned activities such as private medical treatment.
There are additional eligibility requirements for visitors under 18, those coming to the UK for private medical treatment, those coming to the UK as an organ donor, or for academics seeking a 12 month visitor visa.
Why might my application be refused?
There are various suitability requirements when applying for a UK tourist visa from India. In particular, your application may be refused in the following circumstances:
- Where false representations have been made, false documents or information have been submitted, or material facts have not been disclosed during the course of your application.
- Where you fail to produce satisfactory identity documents or provide other information. This includes where you fail, without reasonable excuse, to attend an interview or provide biometric information.
- Where you have previously breached UK immigration laws, eg, by being an illegal entrant, overstaying or using deception in a previous application, and/or you are currently banned from re-entering the UK.
- Where you are currently the subject of a deportation order or a decision to make a deportation order
- Where your exclusion from the UK is considered to be conducive to the public good, eg, previous conduct, character, associations, or other reasons, make it undesirable to grant your application. Reference here will be made to recent or serious criminal convictions.
How do I apply for a UK tourist visa from India?
If you are applying for a UK tourist visa from India, you will need to do so online. As part of your online application, you will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre in India. You will also need to pay the appropriate fee.
At your appointment you will need to submit your biometric information, ie; your fingerprints and a digital photograph of your face. You will also need to take with you the following information:
- Confirmation of your appointment and a receipt for any fee(s) paid.
- A print-out of your application form, signed and dated.
- Your passport or valid travel document, with at least 1 page that is blank on both sides.
- Supporting documents. If the originals are not in English you must provide the original documents, as well as a translation in English.
You may withdraw your application at before a decision is made. The request must be made in writing or email to the visa application centre where your application was submitted. When notice of withdrawal is received, no decision will be made on the application and your passport, and any other documents, will be returned. However, your fee will not be refunded.
When can I apply for a UK tourist visa from India?
The earliest you can apply for a UK tourist visa from India is 3 months before you travel. Once you have paid your fee, you should then get a decision within three weeks, although in some cases it can take longer. The visa application centre will be able to provide you with the processing time for your particular type visa.
How long will my UK tourist visa from India last?
The maximum length of stay under a standard visitor visa is usually up to 6 months, although this can be for longer where you are coming to the UK for private medical treatment or academic research.
A long-term visitor visa lasting 2, 5 or ten years may be available where you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, though you can only stay for a maximum of 6 months for each visit.
Within the period for which your UK tourist visa from India visa is valid, you may enter and leave the UK multiple times, unless the visa is endorsed as a single or dual-entry visa.
DavidsonMorris can help you apply for a UK tourist visa from India
If you want to apply for a UK tourist visa from India, take professional legal advice to help you through the application process.
DavidsonMorris are a specialist UK immigration law firm. We help individuals from across the globe with their UK immigration needs, including UK tourist visa applications from India. For help and guidance with applying for a UK tourist visa, contact us.