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Visiting the UK on a Visit Visa

If you’re a visa national and want to visit the UK for up to 6 months, then you’ll have to apply for a visit visa before you leave. Appendix V in the Immigration Rules sets out the rules you need to meet to successfully acquire a visa.

Image of the London Eye, by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Who is a visitor?

Do you want to come visit your family, get married or just ride on the London Eye? Then, you may have to apply for a visit visa. In Appendix V,  ‘A visitor is a person who is coming to the UK, usually for up to six months, for a temporary purpose’. As a visitor, you may not work or study in the UK unless this is allowed under your specific Visitor Rules.

Categories of Visit Visa:

Standard – up to 6 months

  • This includes tourists, those visiting their friends and families
  • Visitor seeking private medical treatment – granted up to 11 months.
  • Academic employed by non-UK institution and is carrying out specific permitted activities according to paragraph 12 of Appendix 3 – granted up to 12 months
  • Approved Destination Status Agreement – for Chinese tourists travelling as part of a tour group – granted up to 30 days.

Marriage/Civil Partnership Visit – up to 6 months

Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) visit – up to 1 month

Transit Visa – up to 48 hours

Do’s & Don’ts whilst on a visit visa:

Visit visa are relatively restrictive on what activities are permitted; you may not work (apart from permitted paid activities, see below), study, or access public funds (e.g. NHS, benefit system). Work in this sense is defined as, in paragraph V 4.5 – 4.6, ‘taking employing in the UK, doing work for a UK business/organisation, being self-employed, working in a placement/internship or selling goods/services.

There are various permitted paid activities certain visitors may practice in, for instance:

  • An academic may examine students, give lectures and participate in chair selections panels if invited by a UK Higher Education Institution or equivalent.
  • A pilot examiner may examine UK based pilots to ensure they meet the national aviation regulatory requirements of other countries.
  • A qualified lawyer may provide advocacy in court or tribunal hearing, arbitration or other form of legal proceeding.
  • A professional artists or sportsperson may carry out activities relating to their professional.

How do I apply?

Applications are submitted exclusively online through the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/apply. Furthermore, you can also read more about the application process and requirements on the official government website.

In your application you will need to prove that you are a ‘genuine visitor’, by arguing:

  1. That you will leave the UK before your visa expires. For this, you should provide strong reasons for why you will return to your homeland (family life/private life/job).
  2. That you will not settle in the UK. So, you cannot keep visiting the UK on a Visit Visa, as it may appear like you are avoiding applying for a more appropriate visa e.g. Global Talent Visa, Frontier Worker Permit, Skilled Worker Route, Spouse Visa.

Additional Requirements:

If you’re travelling for reasons other than tourism and visiting friends and family, then you will need to meet additional requirements and provide supporting evidence. For instance:

  • Seeking private medical treatment:
    • proof from medical professionals of the procedure
    • arranged treatment in advance of travel
  • Organ donor
    • written confirmation of medical test
    • letter from medical professional attesting to your situation.
  • Marriage/Civil Partnership
    • Intend or already have given notice to UK registry
    • Proof of wedding booking/venue

How much does it cost?

To apply for a short-term visit (maximum 6 months) will cost £95. However, there may be additional fees like booking a biometric appointment at a visa application centre (£0 – £120).

How do I extend my visa?

In theory, yes. But visit visa’s can usually only be extended to the point where the total visit equals 6 months. Since most visa’s are issued for 6 months, then there is no scope for extension. Only if the applicant is seeking private medical treatment (no maximum extension) or sitting the Professional Linguistic Assessment Board Test (maximum stay of 18 months) will they be eligible for an extension.

I’ve been refused, what are my options?

You have five options:

  1. Accept defeat, other options can be quite costly and protacted.
  2. Re-apply with improved evidence, information and explanation
  3. Request reconsideration – some visa application centres may simply ignore this request
  4. Human Rights Appeal to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal
    1. Human rights must be engaged. This usually only occurs if the refusal interferes with your family life (less so your private life).
    1. In general, the Home Office argues that visit visa refusals rarely engage human rights. Applicants usually have other alternatives (having their family and friends visit them in their home country).
  5. Apply for Judicial Review of the refusal to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the Upper Tribunal (England/Wales), the Court of Session (Scotland) or the High Court (Northern Ireland).
    1. This process is very costly and cases rarely succeed.

So, if you’re looking to visit the UK, then get in touch to discuss your application. We look forward to hearing from you.



September 21,2021 at 9:26 am

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