How to apply for a UK Tourist Visa from Abu Dhabi

A visit to United Kingdom is on the wish list of most travelers. UK is a major tourist destination with London in the top 5 visited cities in Europe. Citizens of many countries get visa exemption or will receive Visa on arrival in UK, for all others they need to apply and get the visa before they travel. With an online application process, getting a UK visa is just a matter of a few days. Visa application procedure for UK is almost same from anywhere, the only difference is the supporting document, some of which may differ depending on the country where you are applying from. Here’s how you can apply for yours.

Eligibility & Validity

First step is to confirm the visa category that best suits you. There are different types of UK Visa that can be broken down into tourist and short stay visas, business visas, work visas, student visas, transit visas and so on. The eligibility criteria are different for all, so first make sure which type of visa is required in your case. For tourists, the Standard Visitor visa applies.

A UK Standard Visitor Visa allows people to enter the UK for several reasons which includes tourism, visiting friends or relatives, academic conferences, participating in sporting events and receiving private medical treatment. A tourist visa for UK allows the holder to travel across the United Kingdom (including Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), as well as the archipelago of Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

A UK Standard Visitor Visa is usually valid for 6 months and allows multiple entries to the UK. If you wish to travel frequently, you can also apply long term visa for 2, 5 or 10 years which allows multiple entries and each stay for a maximum of up to 6 months.

How to apply UK visa

Once you have decided the type of visa and the duration required, fill the visa application form online on a UK government-run website Visa4UK. The registration process is simple and allows you to sign in to the website to create your visa application. The application form does not need to be filled in one go. It can be filled partially and then saved online, till you are ready to submit it. This option is useful if you are applying for all family members, since you need to quote primary applicant GWF number in all the applications. Once you have filled the form and verified that all information provided by you is correct, submit the form. During this step you need to pay for your visa fee online on the same website.

Once the application process is complete, register an account with VFS Global website. VFS Global is the official partner of UK Visa and Immigration in UAE which will collect your application, passport and documents for visa processing. From VFS website select an appointment date and time as per your convenience.

After your appointment date and time is confirmed, prepare your documents in order as per the document check list available on the site. The documents required for submitting along with the visa application forms are;

  • Return Fight tickets
  • Proof of accommodation (or invitation letter from UK resident)
  • Last 3 months bank statement with sufficient balance to support your stay in the UK (Statement should be generated and stamped by the bank).
  • Copy of UAE resident visa
  • NOC from the employer
  • Travel insurance (optional)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)

Bring all this documents along with the application form printed from Visa4UK site, Original passport, Appointment Confirmation letter and payment receipt when going to VFS office.

Arrive at least 15 minutes before your schedule appointment and collect the token from the reception. Before entering the main hall there will be security personnel who will scan and check all your belongings, before allowing you in.

Wait until your number is called and proceed to the counter where VFS employee which check your application and all the supporting documents. Before submitting the form, you have to decide and pay for optional services like SMS service which will inform you about the status of the application and how you would prefer to receive your passport after visa processing, by post or collect personally from the VFS office.

Next proceed to the biometric collection room, where they will scan your fingers and take your photograph which will be printed on your visa. Make sure you don’t have any injuries on fingers or henna on the fingertips. This hampers with the biometric detailing of digital fingerprints at the VFS center.

At this stage they will collect your passport and give your receipt with reference number. Keep this receipt with you safely and bring the same receipt to collection your passport from their office. VFS office in Abu Dhabi is located at;

The Mall, Level – B2 (Lower ground) World Trade Centre,

Khalifa Bin Zayed the 1st Street (Airport Road),

Abu Dhabi

How long does it take for the Visa to arrive?

Visa application are processed within 15 working days. VFS offers range of premium visa services which speeds up the processing time for an additional sum of money over and above the standard visa fees. In our case we received our visa on the next day of submitting the application at VFS Abu Dhabi office, although we haven’t applied for urgent visa.


  • You can apply for UK visa not earlier than 3 months from the date of travel.
  • UK visa application form is very lengthy and it need a lot of information. It needs information like all your previous passport history, travel history for last 10-year, family history, income, Assets and so on. The form is almost 10 pages.
  • Application form is available for editing online till it is submitted. You can edit or fill the details whenever you have time.
  • If you are traveling with the family, use the additional information section in the form to furnish the detail of each family member along with their application GWF number.
  • You have to ensure that you submit genuine and correct documents. Any false information can lead to visa rejection which can affect your future applications.
  • If you are supporting documents are in vernacular, get it translated by a legal translator in English.
  • UK Visa validity starts from the day it is processed not from the date of your departure as per your itinerary.
  • In certain cases, they may call an applicant for an interview.
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