Visa information

UK immigration

All following information is provided on the basis of best knowledge, but we cannot give any guarantee for accuracy. Information typeset in italics is directly quoted from UK government sources.


All visitors to the UK who do not hold an explicit right to enter (nationals of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland) may need to provide documentation to the immigration officer on entry proving that they meet the basic requirements equivalent to visitors who need to arrange for a visa in advance.
The relevant visa to arrange for is a “Standard Visitor Visa” for business-related activities, covering “you’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting, or training.”
To qualify under Standard Visitor Visa for business purposes, there are basic requirements which must be met. Applicants have to demonstrate that they intend to undertake business activities including: attending meetings or conferences, arranging deals, negotiating or signing trade agreement or contracts, undertaking fact-finding missions, checking details or goods, and conducting site visits and promotional activities. They must only visit the UK for a maximum of six (6) months, show that they will be able to financially support themselves (if necessary with the support of friends and family) and meet the cost of their onward journey. They must not undertake any paid or unpaid employment in the UK.

Therefore, if you are not national of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, regardless of whether you need a visa or not, the GYA office will provide you with a letter demonstrating the purpose of your visit, confirming that you are known to the GYA as member/alumnus/alumna, elected on the basis of demonstrated research excellence and commitment to advance society, and moreover underwriting your travel, accommodation, and subsistence expenses.
You are also advised to prepare a letter from your employer, confirming your job title and duties, as well as your salary.

Do I need a visa?

In addition to EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, a visa is not required for nationals of the following countries:
Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, East Timor, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Micronesia, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United States of America, Uruguay, Vatican City

Moreover, citizens of the following countries are eligible to obtain an electronic visa waiver:
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates

When to apply for visa?

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel. You can apply on 16 Feb 2017 if you are entering the UK on 15 May 2017. We most strongly encourage you to apply not earlier, but also not later. You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks. The UK government publishes guide processing times for each country.

Common Travel Area (CTA)

Given the existence of the “Common Travel Area” comprising the UK and the Republic of Ireland, special rules might need to be observed if entering the UK from Ireland. Please get in touch with us if you intend to pass through an Irish airport (e.g. DUB or SNN).

Information/documents required for visa application

With your visa application, you need to provide

  • a current passport or other valid travel identification
  • evidence that you can support yourself during your trip, eg bank statements or payslips from the last 6 months

You need a page in your passport that’s blank on both sides for your visa. Your passport must be valid for the whole of your stay in the UK. You’ll also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English.
You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • the dates you’re planning to travel to the UK
  • details of where you’ll be staying during your visit
  • how much you think your trip will cost
  • your current home address and how long you’ve lived there
  • your parents’ names and dates of birth
  • how much you earn in a year

You might also be asked for:

  • details of your travel history for the past 10 years (as shown in your passport)
  • your employer’s address and telephone number
  • your partner’s name, date of birth, and passport number
  • the name and address of anyone paying for your trip
  • the name, address and passport number of any family members you have in the UK
  • details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences you have committed

Please submit an older passport which has expired with your application if it contains more information about your travel history. The visa application form will ask separately for travel to the following groups of countries: a) United Kingdom, b) Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States, and Schengen area , c) all other countries.
There is a comprehensive guide on supporting documents, including a list of documents you should not send unless specifically requested. These include:

  • bank statements or letters issued more than 1 year before the date of application
  • hotel bookings
  • flight bookings
  • credit card statements

How to apply for visa?

To apply for a visit visa to the UK, you need to:

A Standard Visitor visa costs £87.
You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at a visa application centre as part of your application. You may be able to get your visa faster or other services depending on what country you’re in – check with your visa application centre.

At the completion of your application, you will see a checklist of other documents to send in.
Should you be asked to provide documentation of onward/return travel, you might want to book with an airline that provides a full refund on visa refusal , either in their general Terms & Conditions (such as AF and KL), or in the specific ticket fare rules (such as many others, depending on origin). Alternatively, you might want to consider buying an expensive fully-refundable ticket, and once visa has been issued, cancel it and buy a cheaper one.

Visa application form

We would also like to note some points on specific questions of the visa application form:

“Will anyone be paying towards the cost of your visit?”
Please mention the GYA if you receive GYA support.

“What is the main reason for your visit to the UK?”
Please select “Business, including sports and entertainment”

“What is the main reason for your business visit to the UK?”
Please select “Attend business meetings”

“Will you be paid for any of your business activities while in the UK?”
Please select “No”

“Will you be visiting a company or organisation in the UK?”
Please select “No”