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:
Under the visitor (standard) route, the following previous categories can be found:
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:
Categories of the “Visitor Visa”
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.
There are now only 4 different categories of “Visitor Visa” are now as follows:
Permitted Activities as a Visitor (Standard) includes the following and more:
If you wish to visit the UK to do any of the following above, you will need to apply in the relevant category.
Visitors are now able be able to undertake up to 30 days of recreational, English language or academic study provided it is not the main purpose of their visit. Recreational study means holiday-type and leisure course such as horse-riding or pottery. Any other study, including English language, can only take place at an institution that holds a sponsor license under Tier 4 PBS or that is accredited by a Home Office-approved body. Student visitors are now under the “Student Route” of the Immigration rules.
B. Activities not permitted on a general visitor visa
C. Documents required
If you wish to apply as a visitor, you should ensure that you have basic documentation as follows:
The maximum you can stay in the UK is six months as a visitor.
If however your visa was granted for a period less than six months, you may apply for an extension of your visa which takes you up to the maximum of six months.
Please note that upon the expiry of your visa, you are required to leave the UK. If you stay beyond the expiry of your visa, you will remain illegally in the UK and you will be considered an “overstayer”. This may have an adverse impact on your immigration record and is likely to affect any future UK immigration applications. It could even result in you being banned from re-entering the UK for a certain period of time.
E. Right of Appeal
Applicants can be refused a visa to enter the UK as a general visitor and, if refused, will receive a detailed letter explaining the reasons for refusal.
There is now no right of appeal against the Entry Clearance Officers decision to refuse an applicant’s application to visit the UK as a visitor, including a family visitor. If the application for Family Visitor visa was submitted before 25 June 2013 you still may have a right of appeal.
The only judicial remedy now will be Judicial Review. This is where a Judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by the British Embassy/Home Office in the High Court. If you wish to explore this option further then please contact us to arrange a consultation.
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