Different types of UK visas available to foreign nationals, the new immigration rules  and the latest news regarding the opportunities to immigrate to the UK today according the British immigration law, are all featured in this section.

Our Law Firm UK immigration advisors can assist in all UK immigration legal services and visa matters in respect of clients throughout the world.  

Law Firm UK immigration advisors are registered at the highest level of registration with the OISC (Level 3) in all categories of immigration work including applications under the Points Based System, European law, nationality & citizenship, asylum, appellate and bail work and other complex immigration casework.

Please note that SOME FIRMS OR INDIVIDUALS PURPORT TO OFFER IMMIGRATION ADVICE AND SERVICES WITHOUT BEING APPROPRIATELY QUALIFIED.  Any firm or individual with whom you consider spending money for immigration services must use a qualified solicitor or barrister or be registered as Immigration Advisors. IF THEY ARE NOT PROPERLY QUALIFIED TO GIVE IMMIGRATION ADVICE DO NOT USE THEM.

We have a team of registered Immigration Advisors working for our clients providing immigration advice and services within their respective levels of registration with the OISC (certificate available on our website).

Changes to Immigration Rules from 11 January 2018

Good news for EU citizens: the decision of the Court of Justice of the EU

Brexit negotiations: Agreement reached on EU citizens' rights


Points Based System (PBS)

Introduction of TIER

On 30th June, 2008, Tier 1 was launched in full all over the world for highly skilled professionals to move to the UK. It has been changing ever since and one subcategory is now closed.  There are now four sub-categories of Tier 1, Tier 1 (General) having been fully closed on 6th April, 2011:

1. TIER 1 (Exceptional Talent)

TIER 1 (Exceptional Talent) This new category is for applicants who have already been recognised but also those with the potential to be recognised as leaders in their respective fields.

2. TIER 1 (Entrepreneur)

TIER 1 (Entrepreneur) replaced the Business persons category and is for those applicants who would like to set up or buy an existing business in the UK.

3. TIER 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)

TIER 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) This route is for graduates who have been identified by participating Higher Education Institutions as having developed world-class entrepreneurial ideas or skills to extend their stay in the UK after graduation in order to set up a business in the UK. From 6 April 2013 this category has been expanded to include the UK Trade and Investment’s elite global graduate entrepreneur scheme, which includes entrepreneurs from overseas Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

4. TIER 1 (Investor)

TIER 1 (Investor) replaced the Investor category and is for those applicants who wish to invest in the UK.


The Point Based System was launched in full from 27th of November 2008.

Once a sponsorship certificate is issued, the prospective employee of the sponsor (employer) will be required to submit his or her visa application that can be made while remaining in the UK, provided he/she is able to ‘switch’ to this category, or from outside the UK.

The UKBA has divided Tier 2 into four categories of applicants who require sponsorship certificates from their sponsors and will be making their visa applications in line with the certificate:-

1. TIER 2 (General)

2. TIER 2 (Minister of Religion)

3. TIER 2 (Sportsperson)

4. TIER 2 (Intra-Company Transfer)







Tier 4 (Students) of the Points Based System was launched on 31 March 2009 and has undergone some major changes, and Law Firm immigration legal help advocates assist with all its aspects.

This category includes two sub-categories:

  • General Student – for those who are coming to the United Kingdom for post-16 education.
  • Child Student – for children between 4 and 17 years old coming to the UK for their education to study at independent schools.
Students of 16 or 17 years old should agree with the chosen educational provider either to apply for General Student or Child Student visa.

Educational provider means any educational establishment in the UK that is approved by the UKBA and has been given a licence to bring overseas students to the United Kingdom under Tier 4 of the PBS.


Tier 5 of the Points Based System came into force on 27th November 2008. Tier 5 enables young nationals to experience life and culture in the UK and also permit workers to undertake short-term or temporary employment in the UK. Tier 5 replaced the following existing immigration categories:

  • Au pairs
  • Domestic workers in Diplomatic Households
  • Gap year
  • China Graduate Work Experience
  • General Agreement on Trade in services (GATS)
  • Japan: Youth Exchange Scheme
  • MP’s Research Assistants
  • Ministers of religion, missionaries and members of religious orders
  • Overseas government employees
  • Sportspeople
  • Training and Work Experience Scheme
  • Voluntary workers
  • Working holidaymakers

Tier 5 consists of two main categories under the Points Based System: the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) and the Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) which is made up of five sub-categories, set out below:


The visitor visa is the most popular single route for individuals coming to the UK for tourism, to visit family or for  business or other special purpose visits. 

In line with the recent review of the UK immigration system by the government, new rules have been implemented from 24 April 2015 to simplify the visitor categories. The purpose of this change is to make the rules clearer and more accessible for decision-makers and applicants, particularly non-experts who may be accessing them online.  

As 24 April 2015, the new rules for visitors are now in force. The Home Office have published “Appendix V” which now sets out the requirements for all types of visitors to the UK. Previously, there were 15 categories of visitor. Under the new system there are now four visitor routes which are as follows:

  • Transit
  • Permitted paid engagements
  • Marriage and
  • Visitor (standard)

Under the visitor (standard) route, the following previous categories can be found:

  • General visitor
  • Child visitor
  • Business visitor
  • Sports visitor
  • Entertainer
  • PLAB test visitor
  • Clinical attachments visitor
  • Prospective entrepreneur visitor
  • Private medical treatment

Reasons why you may wish to visit the UK 

There are numerous reasons why an individual may wish to come to the UK for a short period. In addition to visiting family, sightseeing or visiting on business, people may wish to visit the UK to get married or undertake a civil partnership ceremony, arrange plans for studying in the UK, undertake a short course, attend important events, visit the UK as a representative of a company or conduct research or sit a test/exam in the UK. 

General requirements for coming to the UK as a visitor 

Individuals intending to visit the UK must be able to demonstrate that they are genuine visitors and wish to visit the UK for no more than six months and that they will be leaving the UK at the end of the visit. In addition, individuals must be able to show that they have sufficient finds to maintain and accommodate themselves (and any dependants) without assistance from UK public funds. 

The exceptions to this general rule are:

  • ‘academic visitors’ may be granted a visa for up to 12 months
  • ‘medical visitors’ may be granted a visa for no more than 11 months 
  • A visitor under the Approved Destination Status Agreement (ADS Agreement) may be granted a visit visa for a period of up to 30 days

It is important that if you intend to visit the UK that you apply for the correct category of visitor visa before entering the country as you are required to comply with the conditions on your visa. Any breach of visa conditions during your stay in the UK may result in adverse consequences; and it is therefore recommended that you ensure that your intentions for coming to the UK are adequately reflected in the type of visitor visa you apply for.

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