If you are looking to visit the UK temporarily, you'll need to apply for what is known as a Standard Visitor visa. The Standard Visitor visa was brought in to replace several other visas that already existed and to simplify the system that had become over complicated. In this article we're going to look at the Standard Visitor visa in a little more detail and look at the requirements of the visa, the ways to apply for it and the potential alternatives that exist to the Standard Visitor visa if you wanted to stay a little longer in the UK.
The Standard Visitor visa has been created for those who wish to move to the UK temporarily. You will be allowed to stay for up to six months, but there are exceptions to this - i.e. if you're coming to the UK for private medical treatment for up to 11 months or you're an academic on sabbatical coming to the UK for research - then you're allowed to stay for 12 months. During your stay on a Standard Visitor visa you'll be allowed to take part in some business activities, but you will not be allowed to work. This is on either a paid or unpaid basis. The exceptions to this however are if you're an artist, entertainer or musician and you're coming to the UK to perform, or you are a doctor or dentist and coming to the UK to take a clinical attachment. You can also come to the UK for work if you’re an academic professional doing research or accompanying students.
In the main, the visa is intended for people who coming to the UK temporarily for leisure, business or another reason such as private medical treatment. As long as you fit this criteria you should be able to apply for a Standard Visitor visa and stay in the UK for up to 6 months. It is important though that you can also prove that you will be leaving the country at a later date. Failure to do this may significantly impact the decision.
You'll be able to remain in the UK for a period of six months in order to satisfy the reason for visiting. There are some exceptions to this six month rule, such as those receiving private medical treatment who are eligible to remain in the UK for up to 11 months. The other exception is also for visiting academics who are doing research here, who can remain here for up to 12 months.
Six months is the number that the Government finds acceptable. The suggestion is that if you were to stay longer than that then it is likely that you will try and remain in the country for the foreseeable future. If that is indeed the case then you will be better off applying for a separate visa as the Standard Visitor visa really is intended for people who are going to be in a country for a short period of time.
If you are based outside of the UK already, you will need to apply online using the online government portal. If you're already in the UK, you may be able to extend your visa if you haven't already exhausted your six months. Often people come for a shorter period of time which they then want to extend up to six months. This is possible but you will need to apply for an extension and be able to prove that you will still leave the country at the end of the period.
The application process is quick and easy and all done online. You will be required to offer some proof to back up your claims and you'll be asked to provide this during the application. You will be required to pay a fee for your visa and this will vary depending upon where you are coming from and how long you intend to remain in the UK. For more information on the application process, please get in touch and our immigration specialists will be happy to help.
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will need you to provide some documentary evidence to support your application. At the very least, you will need to be able to provide your current passport and any other travel identification that is valid for your travel. You may also need additional documents if you’re visiting the UK for private medical treatment, if you're an academic, if you are prospective entrepreneur or for any other reason that UKVI deems fit.
You will be informed during your application of what documents that you will need to provide, this guidance is also provided alongside the application form on the Government website.
For those looking to come to the UK for a short time, there is no real alternative to the Standard Visitor visa. Previously there were several different visas that all covered shorter stays in the UK - these were all condensed into one visa that covered all the eventualities. If you want to come to the UK for a longer timeframe then you may need to consider one of the UK’s tiered visa routes.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur - To start up or take over a business
Tier 1 Investor - To come to the UK to make investments
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent - For talented individuals
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur - For graduates looking to start a business
Tier 2 General visa - For those looking for general employment
Tier 4 Student visa - For those wishing to study
There are other options, but these are the main visa routes to the UK. If you wish to discuss them, please get in touch and we can help.
If you need any more help with a visa application or indeed any other immigration query then please get in touch. Our immigration solicitors are highly experienced and skilled and can provide the advice and help that you need to succeed. So, for more information please get in touch.