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Family Visitor Visa UK

The UK Family Visitor Visa allows non-British citizens to visit their friends and family members residing in the UK for up to six months.

If you’re applying for a visa to enter the UK and would like legal guidance on the process through an application and/or appeal, Manchester Immigration Lawyers can help. Call us on +44 (0)161 826 9783 for a free chat with no obligation to proceed.

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    Visit Family and/or Friends in the UK

    The Family Visitor Visa for the UK is now included under the standard Short Stay Visitor Visa category. A visa allowing the entry and residence of a non-national for a period of up to six months, it permits the visa holder to travel to and around the UK for leisure purposes; including to visit any UK based family member/s and or friends.

    If a visa holder is intending to stay for a period of more than six months in the UK, or is visiting to give notice of marriage to a UK national, there are separate visa classes that can be applied for. There are also several categories of visa for those intending to reside permanently in the UK along with their family members or spouse.

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    Eligibility Requirements for a UK Family Visitor Visa

    The requirement for a formal travel permission for a short stay visit in the UK is dependent on the applicant’s nationality. European Union (EU) residents usually do not require a visa for a stay of up to six months, but most citizens from outside of the bloc do. In some circumstances, an applicant may need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) rather than a visa. To confirm you’re applying for the most appropriate travel permission, speak to a solicitor on +44 (0)161 826 9783 to discuss with the Manchester Immigration Lawyers team.

    To be eligible for a British Family Visit Visa under the Short Stay Visitor category, applicants must:

    • Hold a valid passport that does not expire during their intended stay
    • Prove that they will leave the UK at the end of their visit
    • Prove that they are able to financially support themselves and any dependents for the duration of their stay (or have a sponsor able to do so)
    • Prove that they are able to pay for their return (or onward) journey (or have a sponsor able to do so)
    • Declare that they will not use the Short Stay Visitor Visa class to live in the UK through frequent or successive visits

    The Short Stay Visitor Visa, including for Family Visit Visa purposes, does have some restrictions in what it allows the holder to do during their stay; to which the applicant agrees during their UK Visit Visa application. Once in the UK, the visa holder is permitted to:

    • Attend for tourism and leisure
    • See family members and/or friends
    • To volunteer for a period of no longer than 30 days with a registered charity
    • To travel through the UK in transit
    • To attend certain business activities and carry out certain ‘permitted paid engagements’ (further details and proof will be required through the Family Visit Visa application process)
    • To take part in a school exchange programme
    • To take part in a recreational course of no longer than 30 days
    • To study, do a work placement or take an exam (further details and proof will be required through the Family Visit Visa application process)
    • To visit the UK for medical reasons
    • To visit the UK as an academic, senior doctor or dentist (further details and proof will be required through the application process)

    However, visa holders are not permitted:

    • To carry out paid or unpaid work for a company or as a self-employed person (other than the specified Permitted Paid Engagements)
    • To claim any public funds
    • To live in the UK de facto for extended periods through frequent or successive visits
    • To marry or to register a civil partnership, or give notice to do so

    Required Documents for UK Family Visitor Visa

    In order to demonstrate the eligibility of the applicant to UK immigration rules, several documents must be provided alongside the Standard Visitor Visa application form. These are as follows:

    • A valid passport that does not expire during the visa period
    • Details of family members covering the cost of any trip (see sponsor requirements below)
    • Details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences
    • Contact details of family members in the UK
    • Details of funds to cover the trip’s costs
    • Details of planned travel in the UK
    • Details of your address, employer and income
    • An onward or return travel ticket or reservation
    • Details of any current UK visa or any refused visa previously

    Further information may be requested during the UK application process. Where this happens, the application will be considered paused until such time that the authorities receive the requested information.

    Family Visitor Visa Sponsor Requirements

    The Standard Visitor Visa allows for a British citizen to cover the costs of the visa applicant’s trip. This is usually a family member, but can also be a friend. The sponsor will be asked for provide evidence of:

    • The support they are providing (including accommodation and sufficient funds financially)
    • Details of how this support is being provided
    • Details of the relationship between the sponsor and the visa applicant
    • Their British passport or long-term residence document
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    Contact our expert immigration lawyers for guidance on applying for your UK family visitor visa. Contact us

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      How to Apply for a UK Family Visit Visa (Standard Visitor Visa)

      The Standard Visitor UK visa application is a fairly straightforward process, and in most cases can be undertaken as follows:

      Collate supporting documents

      All evidentiary documentation should be compiled ahead of time so that it is immediately available when required. This includes details of any sponsoring family member and their support.

      Complete and submit application form

      The Standard Visitor Visa application form is an online form on the GOV.UK website. This form must be completed wholly and accurately.

      Pay application fee

      The application fee is payable in order to submit the online application form.

      Book UKVAC appointment

      Once the fee has been cleared, the applicant must book an appointment at their nearest UK Visa Application Centre to supply biometric information such as fingerprints and to have a photo taken.

      Provide any further information as requested

      If immigration authorities request any further information or documents, these should be supplied as quickly as possible to avoid delays.

      Receive visa decision

      The applicant will receive the visa decision in writing along with any information on the appeals process (if appropriate).

      Expected Timelines for Processing and Approval of the Visa Application

      In the majority of cases, Standard Visitor Visa applications are processed within three weeks – but this is subject to demand and may take longer during busy periods. Applications may be filed no sooner than three months before the intended date of travel.

      Expedited processing is available for an additional sum. Manchester Immigration Lawyers can help advise on such services. Call us now on +44 (0)161 826 9783 to discuss your options.

      Application Fees for UK Family Visitor Visa

      A non-refundable fee is payable for the processing of a UK Standard Visitor Visa. As of May 2024, this is £115 for a standard application, £200 for a medical application and £200 for an academic application.

      Longer term Visitor Visas are available at fees of up to £1,000.

      Our team is happy to assist with any of your immigration queries, when seeking a visa to the UK. Learn more

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        How Manchester Immigration Lawyers Can Help You

        Manchester Immigration Lawyers are a UK based firm of specialist solicitors working day in day out to help overseas nationals receive the correct travel permissions to the UK. We offer entirely bespoke services to help navigate the visa and residence permit application and appeals process under the guidance of experts.

        Call us today on +44 (0)161 826 9783 to discuss your circumstances and let us smooth your journey to Great Britain. Our specialist knowledge, combined with great problem solving skills, strategic partnerships and a willingness to go the extra mile mean we’ve helped thousands of applicants gain visa permission worldwide.

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                  Related pages for your continued reading.

                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Those with spent convictions may visit the UK but will need permission to do so. This means that even if you are a non-visa national, it is recommended that you apply for a Visitor Visa to gain entry clearance prior to arrival.

                  Non-British citizens may marry their British partner in the UK but may not do so (or give notice to do so) under a Standard Visitor Visa. A Marriage Visitor visa or a Fiance visa would be needed instead.

                  All entrants to the United Kingdom may be interviewed by an Immigration Officer upon arrival to the country. Authorities reserve the right to refuse entry, even to those holding a valid visa.