Visitors come to the UK for many reasons: to visit family and friends, for sightseeing, to attend a specific event or a business meeting.

Nationals of some countries (non-visa national countries) do not necessarily require a visitor visa to come and visit the UK. But nationals of other countries (national visa countries) do require one. Visa national countries include countries such as India, Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka.

Visitor visa applicants must in all cases demonstrate that they intend to return home after their visit to the UK and that they are genuine visitors. They must also show that there will be sufficient finance and suitable accommodation for them while they are in the UK.

Visitor visas may be issued for up to six months. There are also long-term visitor visas which are issued for one year, two years, five years or ten years. Long-term visitor visas tend to be issued to trusted travellers who have built up a good immigration record. But a person who holds a long-term visitor visa is not allowed to stay in the UK for more than 180 days per year.

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