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Change Visitor Visa Status While in the UK

The UK Visitor Visa offers a good option for those who wish to travel to the UK to visit friends or family, or to do various other activities. But some people may be wishing to investigate the possibility of switching from their Visitor Visa to one of the other UK visa routes. In this article, we will look at whether it is possible to switch from a Visitor Visa and we will also look at alternatives to staying in the UK if you are on a Visitor Visa.

Can I switch from a Visitor Visa in the UK to a different type of visa?

No. Unfortunately you cannot switch from a Visitor Visa to any other visa in the UK. The Visitor Visa is intentioned as a way of coming to the UK in order to visit and not for permanent stay in the UK. The UK offers many alternative visa routes for this possibility but the Visitor Visa is not one of them. There may be an argument for saying that you could use EU family rights to stay in the UK, but technically you would not be switching, rather just exercising your right.

If you believe that you may be entitled to remain in the UK due to an EU family member then please get in touch. Our immigration specialists can help you to establish a claim and also to make an application if that is indeed an available option to you.

What are my options if I'm on a Visitor Visa and I would like to stay in the UK long term?

Apart from the specified EU Family Visa, there is little option for those looking to stay in the UK. The Visitor Visa is intentioned purely for the purposes of a visit and it's not meant as a step to any other visa route. This is the case because otherwise it would be abused very much for this purpose. Unfortunately, there a many unscrupulous people who try to come to the UK and it's for this reason that the UK has made it increasingly difficult to do so.

Your options for staying in the UK long-term mainly consist around returning to your country of origin and then applying for a new visa from there. Trying to turn a Visitor Visa into any other visa in the UK is likely to end badly. Rather than waste time, if you are looking to move to the UK, it is better to not apply for a Visitor Visa, but rather apply for one of the other UK visa routes such as the Tier 2 General Visa.

I've got a family member in the UK who has EU rights can I stay then?

Potentially yes, it will very much depend on your relationship to the person and how their rights have come about, but yes it potentially is possible. If you wish to discuss the possibility, then please get in touch and our immigration specialists will be able to help you with your claim and application.

If you are going to exercise these rights, you should do it in the near future before the UK leaves the European Union. There is a possibility that after Brexit the rights will change significantly depending on the deal that the UK makes with the European Union. For this moment in time, it's looking increasingly likely freedom of movement will be removed.

Will Brexit change the way that Visitor Visa is handled?

Potentially yes, at this stage we're still very early in the negotiations with the European Union. Britain's exit from the EU Union is still very much up in the air and more will be known in due course. At this point, it is worth noting that freedom of movement is looking increasingly likely to be removed and if that is the case then the UK's immigration system will change beyond all recognition and it will be hard for us to make a judgement call as to what the future rights will be for the Visitor Visa.

It does seem increasingly likely though that the EU Family Visa route to join family members will not exist after Brexit and in that case it may be an idea to use it now. If you're unsure about your eligibility, please get in touch and our immigration specialists will be happy to help you decide whether you actually have a case.

I've been offered a job while in the UK on a Visitor Visa how should I proceed?

Unfortunately you will need to turn this job down, on the Visitor Visa you will have no way of switching to a different visa route unless of course it's an EU Family Visa and that being the case, unfortunately you will not be able to apply for a work visa. You will need to return to your country of origin apply for a working visa (such as Tier 2 General Visa) accordingly.

If the person offering you a job is a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder, they may be able to sponsor an application for you to come to the UK. This is all well and good, but first you would need to return to your country of origin to make this application. The Tier 2 General Visa route is about the best option for those looking to move to the UK with a job offer. Unfortunately if they are not a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder then the process will be significantly more difficult.

Where can I get more help

If you need more help with a Visitor Visa query or indeed any other UK immigration query, please get in touch. Our immigration solicitors are highly trained and knowledgeable in all areas of UK immigration law and can help with applications and any other query that you may have. For more information, or to start using our services, please get in touch today and our specialists will be able to help you.

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