UK Visit Visa

Visitors planning trips to the United Kingdom to visit family members or purely for tourism purposes may need to obtain a UK Visit Visa ahead of their visit.  Also referred to as “entry clearance”, a UK Visit Visa is the most common and accessible type of visa for most general-purpose trips to the UK. Examples of which include business trips, holidays, family visits and to undergo medical treatment.

Unfortunately, the complexities of the UK Visit Visa application process are often underestimated. As a result, success rates for UK Visit Visa applications completed without expert assistance are extremely low. Worse still, there is no formal appeal process or right to request the reconsideration of an application, if it is rejected. The only option is to start a new application from scratch, for which the likelihood of acceptance decreases significantly with each subsequent attempt.

This is why we strongly advise seeking trained legal support at the earliest possible stage. Here at Aristone Solicitors, we can provide the expert advice and consultancy you need to get your UK Visit Visa application right the first time. We’ll ensure your application is supported by all the documentation and evidence necessary to demonstrate the validity of your case. In the unlikely event that your application is rejected, we’ll talk you through the available options and help you decide what to do next.

Call today to book your obligation-free consultation with one of our experts.

UK Visit Visa Categories

Prior to April 2015, there were a total of 15 UK Visit Visa categories. Today, there are just four:

  • Transit
  • Permitted paid engagement
  • Marriage
  • Visitor (standard)

The new “Visitor (standard)” category was introduced to replace the prior categories of Family Visitor visa, General Visitor visa, Child Visitor visa, Business Visitor visa, including visas for academics, doctors and dentists, Sports Visitor visa, Entertainer Visitor visa, Prospective Entrepreneur visa, Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa and Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa.

Immigration legislation acknowledges how most visitors to the United Kingdom intend to stay for short periods only. Common reasons for entering the UK include visiting friends and family, shopping trips, sightseeing weekends, business trips, job interviews, attending conferences, undergoing medical treatment and many more besides. Eligibility for each category of visa is determined on a case by case basis, so it’s important to ensure that you submit your application for the right visa category.

What’s more, each category of UK Visit Visa has its own unique stipulations with regard to conditions that must be complied with for the duration of the stay. It’s important to note that the voluntary or involuntary breach of any of these conditions can result in being barred entry to the UK for a period of 10 years.

To gain a better understanding of your eligibility and your obligations, contact the individual immigration experts at Aristone Solicitors today. Whatever your reason for visiting the United Kingdom, we’ll ensure you enjoy a smooth and simple visa application process from start to finish.

UK Visit Visa Applicants: General Requirements

In order to qualify for a UK Visit Visa, you will be required to provide a genuine reason for your trip and prove your intention to leave before your visa expires – typically six months. You’ll be required to submit evidence of precise entry and exit dates in most instances, along with proof of sufficient finances to cover your costs for the duration of your stay, without the need to claim any benefits whatsoever.

The vast majority of general visitor activities can be enjoyed by anyone who is granted a UK Visit Visa. It’s also possible to take short-term courses on a UK Visit Visa for a maximum of 30 days, though this must not to be the primary purpose of the trip. If you intend to enter the United Kingdom for the primary purpose of studying, you’ll need to apply for a Tier 4 General or Tier 4 Child Visa.

UK Visit Visa Restrictions

There are certain activities that are restricted for all UK Visit Visa categories, which include the following:

  • The visitor must not participate in paid or unpaid work
  • The visitor must not claim benefits or attempt to access public funds
  • The visitor must not marry or register a civil partnership
  • The visitor must not receive free treatment on the NHS
  • The visitor must not enrol on a course with a duration of more than 30 days
  • The visitor must not undertake any business activities
  • The visitor must not be a transit passenger
  • The visitor must not exceed their specified exit date

Transit Visa

Individuals who travel through the United Kingdom but do not leave the airport when transferring to a connecting flight don’t need to apply for a visa. A Transit Visa is only required if you intend to pass through border control and therefore enter the United Kingdom.

A Transit Visa may be issued for highly finite entry to the United Kingdom on the condition that the applicant:

  • Has the intention and ability to exit the United Kingdom by 23:59 hours on the following day, or within a maximum period of 48 hours.
  • Is travelling to a final destination outside the Common Travel Area.
  • Intends to continue travelling to another country or destination where they have already been granted entry clearance.

Immigration visa applications can be tricky – particularly if you’re unsure of your eligibility and requirements. In order to help you gain a better understanding of the options available, our individual immigration experts would be delighted to offer you a free initial consultation. Call today to discuss your requirements in more detail.

Permitted Paid Engagement Visa

This recently added category broadened the entry-clearance scope for a variety of professionals, including qualified lawyers, assessors and examiners, lecturers and so on. While there are no specific requirements for sponsorship, the individual’s reason for visiting the UK must be in some way related to their background at home. 

In a working example, a professor of biology may be travelling to the UK to give a paid lecture at a seminar and discuss a possible position at an educational institution. The idea is that while the applicant is allowed to accept payment for services performed during their stay, their visit is time-limited (one month maximum) and they remain formerly employed overseas.

Some of the key permissions afforded by a Permitted Paid Engagement Visa include the following:

  • The visitor can give speeches and lectures at colleges and universities, strictly as a guest speaker
  • The visitor can take part in sporting or entertainment activities such as broadcasting
  • The visitor can provide advocacy in a specific area of law
  • The visitor can take part in one-off business activities such as conferences and meetings
  • The visitor could be a student assessor or examiner
  • The visitor could be a sportsperson taking part in one-off paid appearances and other engagements

There are also various restrictions attached to Permitted Paid Engagement Visa, including but not necessarily limited to the following:

  • The visitor cannot reside in the United Kingdom for extended periods
  • The visitor cannot switch to another type of visa or extend their visa
  • The visitor cannot take part in business activities that are not related to their primary occupation at home
  • The visitor is forbidden from accessing public funds
  • The visitor must not enrol on any course with a duration of more than 30 days
  • The visitor must not marry or enter into a civil partnership
  • The visitor is forbidden for bringing family members with them, unless they obtain their own separate visas

Marriage Visitor Visa

Non-EEA nationals intending to get married or enter into a civil partnership may be able to qualify for a Marriage Visitor Visa. Along with all the general freedoms afforded by a standard UK Visit Visa, Marriage Visitor Visa holders are legally entitled to get married or form a civil partnership during their stay.

The primary condition being that the visa is used to enter into a marriage or civil partnership in the United Kingdom no later than six months following the applicant’s arrival.

Once again, there are several important restrictions that apply for the duration of the stay on the basis of a Marriage Visitor Visa. Examples of which include:

  • The visitor is forbidden from accessing public funds
  • The visitor must obtain separate visas for any family members they intend to bring with them
  • The visitor cannot switch to another type of visa or extend their visa
  • The visitor must not engage in business activities, other than those directly related to their occupation at home
  • The visitor must not visit the UK on a regular basis to effectively live in the UK without obtaining the required visa
  • The visitor must not enrol on any course of study with a duration of more than 30 days

Due to the importance and sensitivity of marriage-related visa issues, we strongly suggest seeking expert legal support at the earliest possible stage. Let the individual immigration experts at Aristone Solicitors guide you through the available options and provide the tailored support you need to ensure a prompt and positive outcome. Call today to book your obligation-free consultation with one of our experts – we’re standing by to take your call.

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