The United Kingdom requires different visas from Zimbabweans who want to go to the country depending on several factors such as their reasons for wanting to go to the country, how long they intend to stay there and their personal skills and circumstances. Visa applications must be approved before the applicants leave Zimbabwe.

If you want to visit

A Standard Visitor Visa is required if you want to visit the UK for leisure purposes (e.g. as part of your holiday or to see family and friends), for business or other reasons such as private medical treatment. The earliest that you can apply for this visa is 3 months before your planned date of departure from Zimbabwe. You should be able to receive the results of your visa application within three weeks of its submission. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for a period of up to 6 months.

A Standard Visa is required to take part in business-related activities such as:

  • Attending meetings, conferences or training.
  • Taking part in specific sporting events.
  • Performing, if you are an artist, musician or any other kind of entertainer.
  • Doing research or accompanying students who are on a study abroad program if you are an academic.
  • When you are a medical doctor or dental practitioner going to take a clinical attachment or observer post.
  • When you want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK.

What you are allowed and not allowed to do if you enter the UK using a Standard Visitor Visa:

  • You can study for not more than 30 days as long as it is not the primary purpose of your visit to the country.
  • You can convert your civil partnership to a marriage.
  • You can pass through the UK on your way to another country.
  • Those under the age of 18 can take part in an exchange programme or educational visits.
  • You are not allowed to use this visa to try to live in the UK for long periods through frequent visits.
  • You are not allowed to get public funds.
  • You are not permitted to marry or register a civil partnership.
  • You can not do any work whether paid or unpaid.

If you need to visit more regularly

If you need to visit the UK more regularly, you can apply for the long-term Standard Visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years. You will be allowed only a maximum of 6 months on each visit.

If you want to work

Zimbabweans can work in the UK on a short or long-term basis with a work visa. There are many types of work visa, with the type you need depending on factors such as your skills and qualifications, whether or not you have a job offer and sponsorship if you intend to bring your family with you and the type of work that you will be doing.

The following are the types of UK work visas which one can apply for:

Long-term work visas

  • General work visa
  • Health and care visa
  • Intra-company visa
  • Minister of religion visa
  • Sportsperson visa

Short-term work visas

  • Temporary worker—Charity worker visa
  • Temporary worker—Creative and sporting visa
  • Temporary worker—Government Authorized Exchange visa
  • Temporary worker—International Agreement visa
  • Temporary worker—Religious worker visa
  • Temporary worker—Seasonal worker visa

If you want to invest

Those who wish to invest in the UK can apply for an Investor Visa.

If you want to start a business

Those who want to start businesses in the UK can apply for Start-up or Innovator visas.

If you want to study

Depending on the course length, its type and the place of study there are three different types of visas which students can apply for. These are namely the short-term study visa, the general student visa and the child student visa. The first lets you study for up to 6 months in the country, the second is for longer courses and you must be sponsored by a licensed college and university and have confirmed placement to be eligible. You can do some work using the general student visa.  The child student visa is for children between the ages of 4 and 17 who want to study at an independent school. Those over 16 can do some work on this visa.

If you want to join your family

Spouses, partners and family members of people with British citizenship or settlement in the UK can apply for a family visa to join them. The sponsoring family member may also need to show that they can support the visa applicant financially.

Ancestry visa

Zimbabweans with one or more British grandparents can apply for an Ancestry Visa to work in the UK.

If you want to get married

Those who wish to get married and those who want to register or give notice of a civil partnership in the UK can apply for a Marriage Visitor Visa provided that they are not planning to stay or settle in the country. The earliest that one can apply for this visa is 3 months before their planned date of travel.  Applicants should get the results of their applications within 3 weeks of applying. One can stay in the UK using this visa for a period of not more than 6 months.

What you are permitted and not allowed to do if you enter the country under the Marriage Visitor Visa:

  • You are can marry or register a civil partnership.
  • You can pass through the UK on your way to another country.
  • You can marry or enter a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival.
  • You are not allowed to use this visa to try to live in the UK for long periods through frequent visits.
  • You can study for not more than 30 days as long as it is not the main purpose of your visit to the country.
  • You are not allowed to work except for permitted activities such as those related to your work or business outside the UK e.g. attending meetings.
  • You cannot bring in family members or dependants—they must apply separately.

Applying

Zimbabweans can either apply for their visas online or through the UK embassy in Harare. Access UK is an online application service which can be accessed via computer, tablet or smartphone. Besides applying for visas, the system can also be used to book an appointment to the nearest Visa Application Centre or to pay for applications. The service is available at www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa.