Types of UK Visas

SL&V’s Guide to UK Visa Types

You may need permission if you wish to visit, study, work or reside in the UK. This permission is normally granted in the form of a visa.

A visa grants you the right to enter a particular country. A visa can be a document, an Immigration Officer stamp, or even now a digital record (e-visa). The visa is normally valid for a particular time period, within which you must leave the UK or apply for continued permission to remain.  People apply for visas in all sorts of circumstances.

Some nationalities require a visa before they arrive in the UK, whereas others can apply for permission to enter when they arrive at the port of entry.

There are four main categories of visa, but within each, there is a large and bewildering selection of different UK visa types.  Visa applications are often complex, which is why we work with businesses and individuals to not only select the correct visa but also guide you through the process.

Which Visa Do I Need?

Most visitors are here on holiday, but there can be other reasons you want to visit the UK.  If you:

  • Are a tourist
  • Want to visit for short term study
  • Need to come for a short business trip
  • Want to marry someone in the UK
  • Have booked private medical treatment here; or
  • Need to pass through the UK to travel somewhere else

You’ll need a Visitor visa. Find out more.

There are many ways you can get a visa to work in the UK for certain periods of time.  If you:


  • Want to start up a branch of your company here
  • Want to start a new business
  • Have been offered a job with a UK organisation as a Skilled, Specialist or Scale-up Worker
  • Are coming to work within the NHS or healthcare
  • Are a Minister of Religion or top Sportsperson
  • Need to come to the UK for temporary work

You’ll need a Work visa. Find out more.

There are different routes to seeking the right to settle in the UK.  If you want to live here but have no family already in the UK, you’ll need to look at UK Residency but if you:

  • Have family members already in the UK
  • Are a citizen of a country eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Are Ukrainian with family in the UK

You’ll need a Family visa. Find out more.

Many schools and colleges offer international students places on courses in the UK.  If you:

  • Have been accepted on an eligible further education course
  • Have been accepted into an independent school
  • Want to study English in the UK (for longer than 6 months)

You’ll need a Study visa. Find out more.