I live in Germany since May 2013 as a spouse of German citizen. In Nov 2015 we divorced and I have German residence permit till Jan 2018. We have a son in this marriage and legally I have the right to live in Germany indefinitely. I would like to visit my brother and sister who are British citizens living in UK. What is the visa procedure for me to travel to UK for a week. Do I need a visa to enter UK ?

  • @MichaelHampton suggest you promote and add descriptive text, Oddly this question is not a duplicate and can be canonical. – Gayot Fow Jul 23 '16 at 6:50

Do I need a visa to visit the UK?

The need for a UK visa is determined by what passport the person is travelling on.

Having a residence permit in the US or Europe is not sufficient, because these are visas issued by other countries and are not recognized as travel documents. This includes permanent residence visas like Green Cards, European Permanent Residence Permits, and so on.

The UK keeps a list of which passport types require a visa and which do not, the list is periodically updated by Parliament and you can search for the relevant acts at HM's Stationery Office, but the most expedient way is to use the on-line wizard at Check if you need a UK visa site. This wizard program is kept in synch with the legislation and is never out of date.

What kind of UK visa do I need?

If you are just passing through the UK on your way to a 3rd country, you need a transit visa if you do not qualify for one of the concessions. The need for a transit visa along with the various concessions are listed in the wizard cited above. There's a great article about the need for transit visas at Is there a way to find out if I need a transit visa for a layover in the UK?

For everything else, you need either...

  • a Standard Visitor Visa
  • a T1, T2, T4 or T5 Visa (economic migration, see Expats for information about these)
  • a short-term Student Visa (economic migration, see Expats for information about these)
  • a Settlement Visa (family formation, see Expats for information about these)

As shown, this site deals with the Standard Visitor Visa only. These visas are appropriate for business trips, conferences, family visits, maintaining relationships, recreational courses, casual volunteering, shopping and tourism.

The rules governing the Standard Visitor Visa are at Immigration Rules, Appendix V.

The guidance about what sorts of paperwork they want to see included in an application is at Visitor: supporting documents guide.

I want to do a specific type of activity, is it OK?

The 'permitted activities' are listed in "Visitors Appendix 3, Permitted Activities for All Visitors and Visitors Appendix 4, Permitted Paid Engagements. These are found in Appendix V, cited above.

The list of permitted activities was hammered out back and forth between UKVI and the UK legal community and it is thought to be exhaustive. If you are proposing to do something that is not covered in this list, then you need some other kind of visa.

When can I apply?

You can apply up to 90 days before your intended travel date.

I was refused, when can I reapply?

There is no cooling off period following a refusal. You can reapply on the next day. However, note that UKVI will usually refuse only for applications that take a long time to fix. If the ECO thinks there is a quick fix, they will contact you and sort it out. If the ECO did not contact you, it means there's no quick fix and applying the next day invites risk.

Where can I apply?

You can apply to any British mission that accepts visa applications. You do not need to be in your 'home country' to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa.

How, exactly, do I apply?

Go to Visa4UK and open an account. Once you have filled in the basic information, the computer program will know what to do next. The final steps are to pay the fee and schedule an appointment at the nearest biometrics enrolment centre (the computer will show one or more alternatives).

How long does a Standard Visitor Visa take?

The UK Government keeps statistics on how long it takes various nationalities to apply for a visa. You can access this information at Visa Processing Times.

Who can help me fill out the form?

A relative or friend can help, but if you are not completely sure of what to do, you can get legal help by selecting someone at the UK Law Society or the OISC.

Indian national with Permanent Residence in Germany?

You need a Standard Visitor Visa.

  • In the specific situation, would permanent right to live in Germany and a son living there help with proving the OP intends to leave after a visit? – Patricia Shanahan Jul 24 '16 at 22:38
  • A great answer as usual. Would it help to explain the particulars that might apply for those holding an article 10 residence card and exercising free movement? Or at least link to another question on that? – Zach Lipton Jul 24 '16 at 22:40
  • @ZachLipton, please accept my invitation to draft the question/answer which addresses free movement (knowing that its status is perilous and it's a small end-user base here on TSE). We can add mutual links once you ping me. – Gayot Fow Jul 24 '16 at 22:43
  • @PatriciaShanahan, it might, or might not. But you are welcome to edit this answer with your views on it. Or add a new answer below. Either is fine! – Gayot Fow Jul 24 '16 at 22:46

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