Entry Clearance Applications

Entry Clearance Applications

People from outside the EU/EEA come to the UK for many reasons, including to work, study, visit family, and/or tour the country.  Depending on the length of time you plan to stay in the UK and the country you come from, you may or may not require entry clearance.

Entry clearance refers to the process where Entry Clearance Officers at British missions outside the UK check applications to come into the UK; ensuring that such a person qualifies and meets the set criteria for entry into the UK for the visa category they are applying for.

Our expert immigration lawyers can provide advice and representation on all aspects of UK entry clearance.  To find out how we can help you, please contact us today.

As the name suggests, entry clearance applications can only be made from outside the UK. Usually, from the applicant's country of origin or a country where they have a legal right to reside in.

How Do I Know If I Need to Apply for Entry-Clearance before I Come to the UK?

There are over 100 countries in which citizens must apply for a visa before they can enter the UK.  However, citizens of Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, Namibia, Botswana, Hong Kong, and several other nations can enter the UK without a visa if they are only staying for six months or less.

It is important to note that entry clearance is still undertaken for citizens of these visa-free countries.  The difference is that it is conducted at the UK border.  You will need to show your passport and the entry-clearance officer may ask you several questions such as how long you are staying in the UK and what is the reason for your visit.

What Are the Different Types of Entry Clearance?

Entry clearance into the UK is a stick-in vignette that is attached inside your passport or travel document.  Depending on which country you come from, the vignette can be either a:

  • Visa
  • Entry clearance
  • Family permit

The following lists the types of UK immigration applications that require entry clearance to be gained before you come to the country.

Getting a Fiancé visa

Civil Partnership visa for UK

Spouse Visa requirements

Coming to the UK as a Civil Partner

Coming to the UK as an Unmarried Partner

Coming to the UK as a Same Sex Partner

EEA Family Permit

Coming to the UK as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Coming to the UK as a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

Investing over £2m in the UK

Coming to the UK on a Work Visa

 Tier 2 Minister Of Religion

Coming to the UK for sports

Transferring staff to the UK

Coming to the UK for Domestic work

Establish a branch in the UK

UK Ancestry Visa

Coming to the UK for Charity work

Entry Clearance As Tier 5 Creative & Sporting

Tier 5 Religious Worker Visa

Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Migrant Visa

Tier 5 International Agreement Migrant Visa

Visiting the UK for Business

Coming to the UK to visit a family member

Coming with a child to the UK

Entertainer Visitor

Visit the United Kingdom

Parent Of A Child At School

Planning on the Entrepreneur visa

Coming to the UK as a Sports Visitor

Coming to the UK as a Student Visitor

Coming to the UK to sit the PLAB Test

Coming to the UK for marriage or Civil Partnership

Coming to the UK For Private Medical Treatment

Visitor In Transit Visa UK

Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement With China

Visiting the UK under Permitted Paid Engagements

Entry Clearance (UK Visa) As A Turkish ECAA Businessperson

Student visa UK

Student visa for under 18s

Coming the UK for Family Reunion

Returning Resident Visa UK

There are two critical dates on the entry clearance.  The first is the 'effective' date which marks the date when the entry clearance was issued.  The second is the 'expiry' date.  Following this date, you will not be able to enter the UK.  If you are applying for a long-term visa, for example, a Spouse Visa, the leave to enter will begin the day you arrive in Britain.  This ensures that you meet the qualifying period required to apply for Settlement without having to apply for extensions to remain in the country.

The onus is on you to ensure:

  • Your personal details on the visa are correct.
  • The visa accurately states your reasons for coming to the UK.
  • The entry clearance is valid for the date you want to travel.

When Should I Apply for Entry Clearance?

Make sure you leave plenty of time to apply for your entry clearance to the UK.  Processing times vary from country to country, so ensure you apply as early as possible.

You can apply for entry clearance up to three months before your date of travel. 

What Documents Do I Need to Provide When Applying for Entry Clearance?

To make an entry clearance application, you will need to provide:

  • A valid passport or travel document.
  • Proof that you can support yourself whilst you are in the UK, for example, bank account statements.
  • A recording of your biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph) taken at a Visa Application Centre.

You will need to present other documents depending on the type of visa you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying for a Tier 2 (General) Visa, you will need to show that you have a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer who holds a valid UK Sponsor Licence, personal savings and that you can speak English to the required level.

Do I Need Entry Clearance If I Am Transiting Through the UK On My Way to Another Country?

You may need to obtain a visa to pass through the UK in transit.  If you do not need to pass through UK border patrol (for example, your connecting flight is in the same airport and is leaving in 24 hours or less), you may need a Direct Airside Transit Visa.  If you do have to go through UK border patrol (for example, your connecting flight leaves from another airport), you may need a Visitor in Transit Visa, which will be valid for 48 hours.

How We Can Help

Understanding whether you need entry clearance and making an application can be confusing.  Our helpful, friendly immigration solicitors will take the time to understand your situation and provide accurate legal advice.  And if your entry clearance application is refused, we can advise and represent you in challenging the decision.  We have a strong track record of achieving successful results and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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