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Medical Visa to UK for Private Treatment with Accompanying Family

Under the current UK immigration system, there is no specific UK medical visa. However, overseas nationals who wish to come to the UK to receive private medical treatment can use the UK standard visitor visa.

In this article, we will explain the key requirements if you are coming to the UK for medical reasons on a visitor visa, and the complications that can arise if your medical treatment lasts for more than 6 months. We will also go over ways to overcome these, and what this means for any accompanying family members.

UK medical visit visa requirements

As a standard visitor visa holder, you can come to the UK to:

  • receive private medical treatment at a hospital or other medical facility.
  • receive treatment at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital, but only if the care will be funded by your government as part of a reciprocal healthcare arrangement.
  • donate one of your organs to a family member or a close friend. Your stay can also include the assessment of whether you are a suitable donor match.

You will be eligible for a UK visa for medical treatment if you:

  • genuinely intend to leave the UK at the end of your stay
  • have enough funds to support yourself while you are in the UK
  • have proof or the funds necessary for your onward journey, and
  • not living in the UK by making successive visits using a visitor visa.

In addition, if you are coming to the UK to receive private medical treatment, you will need to prove to the Home Office that:

  • you have a medical condition that requires private medical expertise in the UK
  • you have made all necessary arrangements for the private consultation or treatment you require
  • you can pay for your private treatment
  • you do not have an infectious disease that poses a public health risk in the UK

How to apply for a UK medical visa

To apply for a medical visa UK (i.e. a standard visitor visa), you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Check if you need a standard visitor visa1 (nationals of some countries can come to the UK for up to 6 months without a visitor visa). It is important to note, even if you don’t need a visa, you will still need to meet the requirements of a standard visitor visa to come here.
  2. Before you travel to the UK, complete and submit the online standard visitor visa application form2. The earliest you can apply for your visa is 3 months before you travel to the UK. If you are coming to the UK with family members, each person will need to complete their own application and pay the application fee.
  3. Pay the application fee (for up to 6 months, the fee is £100 or £200 for up to 11 months).
  4. Book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre in the country where you live (to have your photo taken, and fingerprints scanned, and provide any documents required by the Home Office).

As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide a letter from your doctor explaining:

  • your medical condition
  • the estimated cost and duration of treatment
  • where in the UK, the consultation or treatment will take place

In most cases, you can expect to receive a decision on your visitor visa within 3 weeks.

UK visa extension for medical purpose

If you think that there is a risk that your treatment may take longer than 6 months, we recommend applying for a visitor visa for up to 11 months. This will then protect your immigration status if you need to stay longer.

The good news is that if your medical treatment is taking longer than anticipated, you can extend your visitor visa for 6 months at a cost of £1,000. There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for a visitor visa extension.

Accompanying family members

If you are receiving medical treatment in the UK as a standard visitor visa, while you can extend your visa on medical grounds, your family members may not be able to. This is because it is only possible to extend a visitor visa beyond 6 months if you are coming to the UK for medical treatment, as an academic, or as a graduate retaking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board.

That said, if your family members are dependant on you and the reasons for needing more medical treatment are genuine, it may be possible to ask the Home Office to use their discretion (i.e. grant discretionary leave) where there are “exceptional, compassionate circumstances”.

To discuss how best to come to the UK to receive medical treatment, how to apply for a medical treatment visa UK, or how to extend your stay and that of your family members, please speak to one of our experienced immigration solicitors on 020 3744 2797 or email


1 GOV.UK: Check if you need a visitor visa

2 GOV.UK: Online application form

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