How to Apply UK Standard Visitor’s Visa from Saudi Arabia

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Please note that this post is good only after you’ve evaluated the visa types and finally knowing that it’s a Standard Visitor’s Visa you need.

For your information, the Standard Visitor visa has replaced the following visa types:

  • Family Visitor visa
  • General Visitor visa
  • Child Visitor visa
  • Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists
  • Sports Visitor visa
  • Entertainer Visitor visa
  • Prospective Entrepreneur visa
  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa
  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa

Say you want to visit the UK on business: You can also apply for a Standard Visitor visa for business related activities such as the following:

  • you’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
  • you want to take part in a specific sports-related event
  • you’re an artist, entertainer or musician and coming to the UK to perform
  • are an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme
  • you’re a doctor or dentist and are coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment or observer post
  • you want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
  • you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK

Check the Visitor Rules to find the full list of business-related activities you can do with a Standard Visitor visa.

For those who want to visit the UK for a short period of time, like for tourism purposes, it is important that you show that:

  • You’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • You’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip
  • You’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit
  • You have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor Rules

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK:

  • for leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
  • for business, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • for another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment

Check if you need this visa if you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Your application will not be accepted and you will not get a refund if you have the right of abode in the UK (for example you’re a British citizen). You need to apply for a certificate of entitlement instead.

So there are some restrictions. There are some things you can do such as:

And there are things that unfortunately, you cannot do:

  • do paid or unpaid work
  • live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • get public funds
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership

How long does the application take? The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel. For example, you can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

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How long can you stay in the UK? You can usually stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You might be able to stay for longer if:

  • you’re coming to the UK for private medical treatment – up to 11 months (£186 fee)
  • you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research – you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months (£186 fee)

If you’re staying in the UK as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than 6 months, you must apply for a biometric residence permit. You might be able to get a visit visa for up to 30 days if you’re a visitor under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement.

What if you need to visit the UK on a regular basis?  If you need to visit the UK regularly over a longer period, you can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You can stay for a maximum of 6 months on each visit. If you’re under 18 years old when you apply, your long-term Standard Visitor visa will only be valid for up to 6 months after you turn 18.

What are the Fees?  A Standard Visitor visa costs £93. The fee for a long-term Standard Visitor visa depends on its length:

  • 2 years – £350
  • 5 years – £636
  • 10 years – £798

VisaWhat are the requirements?

  • Valid travel document (national passport or other document that allows the holder to travel internationally)
  • Previous travel documents/passports, which show previous travel.
  • Financial documents showing that you have sufficient funds available. These must clearly show that you have access to the funds, such as:
    • bank statements
    • building society book
    • proof of earnings such as a letter from employer confirming employment details (start date of employment, salary, role, company contact details)
    • where a third party (who is either in the UK or who will be legally in the UK at the time of your visit) is providing financial support to you e.g. a business, a friend or a relative, documents to show they have sufficient resources to support you in addition to themselves and any dependent family should be provided
  • Confirmation of legal residence, if you are not a national of the country in which you are applying or your right to reside there is not included in your passport.
  • Details of employment or studies where you have stated in your application that you are either employed or in full-time studies. This could include a letter from your employer on company headed paper, detailing your role, salary and length of employment, a letter from your education provider, on headed paper, confirming your enrollment and leave of absence
    • If self employed: business registration documents confirming the business owner’s name and the date the business started trading.
    • Business activities – where you are coming to the UK in order to undertake activities relating to your occupation/employment outside the UK you should submit documents showing what you will be doing in the UK, including any letters from inviting organisations. For example:
      • any business activities, e.g. letter from your employer outlining the reason for your visit, who you will be meeting and details of any payment/expenses
      • for performances and entertainment visitors, whether you work in this area as a professional or amateur, and what and where you will be performing
  • Under 18s – we strongly recommend you submit the following information otherwise it may delay consideration of your application.
    • a Birth Certificate or legal document (such as adoption papers) showing the relationship between you and your parent or guardian
    • If travelling unaccompanied or with someone other than your parent(s) you should provide:
      • a signed letter from your parent(s) confirming details of anyone accompanying you, and details of care and accommodation arranged in the UK
      • a copy of your parent(s) or legal guardian’s biographical page of their passport, which includes their signature and passport number if your parent(s) do not have a passport then you must provide another official document which bears their signature

Ok, so I know you guys are excited to fly to the UK, but wait, please do not overwork our friendly VFS / Embassy Officials by sorting through unnecessary documents. Please see the below list of documents that you SHOULD NOT present unless specifically required:

  • if you are applying as a family/group you do not need to provide multiple copies of the same documents
  • bank statements or letters issued more than 1 year before the date of application
  • driver’s licence
  • photographs (other than passport photographs)
  • notarial certificates
  • business cards
  • hotel bookings (This is tricky because there is a portion on the application form about this, so I would suggest to have a printout ready)
  • flight bookings (Tempting, right? For me, it is better keep a printout of your temporary itinerary ready just in case) – NOTE: the Embassy, as far as I know discourages potential visitors to buy tickets unless they have confirmed visas at hand
  • photocopies of bank cards
  • credit card statements
  • certificates relating to leisure activities
  • evidence of car ownership
  • travel insurance (This is not required unlike when applying for a Schengen visa. Additionally, there’s no portion in the application form that will confuse you about this unlike the portion on flight details and hotel.) But even this isn’t a requirement, it is always better to have a security policy when travelling. I mean, I think you gotta have one after you’ve received your visa – just in case!
  • sponsor’s utility bills
  • sponsor’s council tax bills
  • educational certificates (unless specifically listed for some types of application)

CLICK ME if you want the exact thing from gov.uk.

OK, so you know the requirements and the process, you even know the timetable. I think you may want to know where the form is. This is where you start, please click on the link to see the application form.

Where do I submit my application packet? Where are the offices in Saudi Arabia? For Riyadh applicants, their Office has been relocated to: VFS Global, Joint Visa Application Centre. Makkah Road, Al Hada, 8380, Riyadh 12913 8380 – this is beside the rear entrance of Courtyard Marriott Diplomatic Quarter. Google Map Coordinates: 24.666674, 46.622435

As for the location for the other offices within KSA, please CLICK ME. 

Anyhoo, the process takes a while unless you paid for the expedited service, if you’re not rushing, better keep it normal and relaxed, otherwise, be ready to PAY UP! Always remember to plan your travels and apply your visa ahead of time. Rushing is never good.

This is just a play-by-play process based on experience. Note that I have referred to the gov.uk site 100% of the time. If you want to be sure about the info I have written in here, please feel free to visit the actual application site because you know, THINGS GET UPDATED and I have to reiterate to always read the guidance for more information about what you can and cannot do with a Standard Visitor visa, you know, just to be sure.

Again, this is the UK Standard Visitor’s Visa application form for your reference.

Thank you and travel safe!