What is a Visitor visa?
The UK Visitor visa is a form of leave to remain aimed at those who wish to visit the UK for a short period of time, typically for tourism reasons, short-term business trips or to spend time with friends and family.
In terms of visiting the UK on a Visitor visa for business purposes, you may only get involved in non-commercial activities such as attending meetings and giving talks.
Taking up paid or unpaid employment under a Visitor visa is strictly prohibited. If you wish to work in the UK, you will need to apply for another type of visa such as the Temporary Worker visa or Skilled Worker visa depending on your circumstances.
The UK Visitor visa can also be used for other purposes, such as academic purposes or to receive private medical treatment in the UK.
It is also possible to use a Visitor visa for the purposes of converting a civil partnership into a marriage.
If you are a citizen of some countries including EEA countries, Switzerland and some Commonwealth countries, you will not need to apply for a UK Visitor visa.
How long does a UK Visitor visa last?
The visa lasts for a period of 6 months, after which time you will no longer have a legal entitlement to be in the UK. You will be permitted to leave the UK no later than the date upon which your visa expires.
Do you need some help with applying for a UK visa or with an immigration issue? Manchester Immigration Lawyers is an industry-leading immigration law firm with a wealth of experience in assisting with Visitor visa applications, as well as all other UK visas. For more information on eligibility and how to apply, get in contact today via our online enquiry form or call us on 0161 826 9783.
What do I need to know before applying for the UK Visitor visa?
The Standard Visitor visa enables a person to spend up to 6 months in the UK.
It should be borne in mind that citizens of certain countries – such as EEA countries, Switzerland, and a number of Commonwealth countries – will not need to apply for a Visitor visa in order to spend time in the UK.
A person’s reasons for intending to travel to the UK have a hugely important bearing on their eligibility for the Visitor visa. There are only a select few reasons for which a person can enter the UK on a Visitor visa. These reasons include:
- To receive private medical treatment
- To turn a civil partnership into a marriage
- To visit friends and/or family or participate in tourism/leisure activities
- To participate in business-related activities or academic activities
If you intend to visit the UK for a reason other than these, it may be that you would be more suited to a different visa.
For example, this visa only permits short-term academic activities such as exchange programmes – if you wish to study for a degree in the UK, you will need to apply for a Student visa.
What documents will I need to provide as part of my application?
A successful UK Visitor visa application hinges on the submission of a number of supporting documents.
All applicants are required to submit a valid passport or other form of valid travel identification as part of the application process. It is essential that your passport/travel document contains a blank page and will be valid for the duration of your stay in the UK.
The exact list of documents that an applicant needs to provide when applying for the Visitor visa varies depending on their reasons for visiting the UK. Having said this, the following documents are an essential part when you apply for any UK Visitor visa:
- Details pertaining to employment or studies if you have stated in your application that you are working or studying full-time
- All previous passports/forms of travel identification
- Proof that you have the necessary funds available to support yourself during your time in the UK – this can take the form of bank statements or a letter from your employer confirming income
- Confirmation of legal residence if applying from a country you are not a national of
- If visiting the UK for business purposes, you must provide documentation pertaining to what you will be doing whilst in the UK
Am I eligible for a UK Visitor visa?
To successfully apply for a UK Visitor visa, there are a number of eligibility requirements that must first be satisfied. These are as follows:
- You must demonstrate that you intend to leave the UK either on or prior to the expiration date of your visa
- You must demonstrate that you are able to afford your onward journey from the UK once your stay comes to an end
- You must provide proof of the activities you intend to participate in during your time in the UK
- You must demonstrate that you are able to financially support yourself and any dependents you intend to bring with you for the duration of your stay in the UK
It is essential that you are clear about which activities you are permitted to take part in during your time in the UK. Taking part in activities that are not permitted will mean you are in breach of the times of your visa.
Will I be able to extend my visa?
Under normal circumstances, you will only be permitted to extend your UK Visitor visa if it was initially granted for less than six months. If this situation applies to you, you will be able to extend it up to the full six months. Under all other circumstances, you will not be permitted to extend your visa.
Six months is the maximum length of stay permitted by any UK Visitor visa. If your circumstances are such that you need to make repeat visits to the UK it is possible to apply for long-term Visitor visas that last up to 10 years. However, holders of these visas will still only be permitted to remain in the UK for six months at a time. It should also be noted that long-term Visitor visas are more expensive than Standard Visitor visas.
If you wish to apply for a new UK Visitor visa once your current one comes to an end, applications cannot be submitted in-country. You must return to your country of residence in order to submit a new application.
Which activities are permitted under the Visitor visa?
As touched upon, a holder of a Visitor visa is only permitted to engage in certain activities during their time in the UK. These are as follows:
- Converting a civil partnership into a marriage
- Travelling through the UK whilst en route to a different location
- Study for up to 30 days, providing that it is not the main purpose of your visit
- Take part in any of the business activities that are mentioned in the Visitor Rules, for example attending meetings, negotiating deals and contracts, and carrying out site visits
- Receive private medical treatment
- Tourism and/or leisure-related activities such as visiting friends and family
Which activities are not permitted?
As mentioned, participating in activities that are not permitted under the Visitor visa will constitute a breach of its terms. These activities are as follows:
- Taking part in a work placement or internship
- Providing goods and/or services
- Receiving public funds or benefits
- Participating in paid or unpaid work
- Becoming married or registered for a civil partnership
- Residing in the UK beyond the length of your visa
All of the above activities can result in the termination of your Visitor visa, and as a result, the curtailment of your leave to remain in the UK.
How much does it cost to apply for a Standard Visitor visa?
If you wish to visit the UK on a Standard Visitor visa, the cost is £95 to apply. This is the price for the standard six-month version.
As touched upon, it is possible to apply for a long-term Visitor visa if your situation dictates that you need to make frequent trips to the UK over a prolonged period of time. However, these Visitor visas are more expensive than the standard version.
The prices are as follows:
- £361 for a 2-year stay
- £655 for a 5-year stay
- £822 for a 10-year stay
Which visas have been replaced by the Standard Visitor visa?
The Standard Visitor visa has replaced a host of more specific visitor visas and amalgamated them into one. These are as follows:
- Prospective Entrepreneur UK Visitor visa
- Private Medical Treatment UK Visitor visa
- Approved Destination Status (ADS) UK Visitor visa
- Business UK Visitor visa (this includes a number of professions from sportspeople to businesspeople)
- General UK Visitor visa
- Family UK Visitor visa
- Child UK Visitor visa
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If you wish to vist the UK with your child, unfortunately the terms of the UK Visitor visa do not permit you to bring your child to the UK alongside you.
If you wish for them to come to the UK with you, you will have to submit a separate visa application on their behalf.
A UK Visitor visa provides a person with the ability to visit the UK for all manner of purposes, from attending business meetings to visiting friends and loved ones. We understand how important this is, and as a result, do all that we can to deliver you an approved application.
If you opt for our services, you will receive:
- A Letter of Representation outlining the strengths of your application to the Home Office
- The completion of your application form to the highest possible standard
- A thorough document check to ensure that all of your supporting paperwork is in order
- Frequent correspondence with the Home Office throughout the process
Yes, the UK Visitor visa does enable the holder to conduct certain business activities, such as attending meetings and giving talks (providing they are not for commercial purposes).
However, taking up paid or unpaid employment is strictly prohibited. If you wish to work in the UK, you will need to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, or a Temporary Worker visa, depending on your circumstances.
You can visit the UK and stay for a maximum of 6 months on each Visitor visa.
You can also apply to extend your UK Visitor visa, but the total time you spend in the UK must not be more than 6 months.
You can also apply for long-term visit visa if you travel to the UK regularly. These visas are valid for 2, 5 or 10 years.