uk immigration lawyers

UK Visitor Visa

This visa category is sought after by nationals of foreign countries who intend to come to the United Kingdom for a short period. The need to make an application under this category depends on the nationality of the individual, the length of stay and the purpose of the visit. Under the Visitor Visa category exists a number of specific visitor visa types that grants the applicant entry for the purpose of holidays, visitations, marriages, short term study and many others.

The validity period for visitor visa is generally 6 months but in some special cases the applicant might be granted leave for longer periods of up to one, two, five or ten years. The long term visa holder is however expected to stay in the United Kingdom for 6 months at a time except in the cases of Parents of children at school and Academic visitors.

General Visitor Visa UK

Individuals who intend to enter the UK for reasons such as tourism, holiday or to visit family are to apply for the General visitor visa. Under this category, family members are not authorized to make an application as a dependant, as such it is required that all family members seeking to make an entry to the UK make a separate application as a General Visitor.

The applying individual must however; The applicant must:

  • Seek actual entry into the UK as a general visitor for not more than six months; or 12 months for archaeological excavation visits in the UK.
  • Vacate the UK on concluding the period of the visit
  • Accommodate and support themselves as well as any dependant applying with the without having to seek support from public sources.

Some of the things the applicant is not permitted to do include:

  • Be employed in the UK
  • Work as a self employed person
  • Study whilst in the UK
  • Give notice or marry in the UK or be registered in a civil partnership
  • Receive private medical care.
  • travel to another outside EEA

Visa nationals are mandated to receive entry clearance whereas non-visa nationals are awarded leave to enter as General Visitors on arrival at a UK port of entry. The visa nationals and the non-visa nationals are obligated to fulfill similar requirements in order to be granted entry into the United Kingdom as either the entry clearance as in the case of a visa national or a leave of entry on arrival at a UK port of entry as in the case of a non-visa national. The intention of the applicant to return to his/her home country of origin is the most usual reason why an entry clearance or a leave to enter as a General Visitor is refused.

In a situation where an individual is granted leave to enter the UK for less than six months, he/she can be granted an extension on application to remain; making their stay up to a total of six months.

However, it is a possibility for an individual to make an application to remain for more than six months once they fulfill one or more of the following requirements:

  • On the basis of compassionate grounds, such as when a close relative falls ill.
  • If the applicant falls under the group that are permitted to stay for up 12 months
  • If the individual is not able to get a flight, but the can provide evidence of application made within the stipulated period of leave or tickets that can confirm that a flight booking was made.

Business Visitor Visa UK

If you are looking to come to the UK for the purpose of carrying out certain business related activities for your overseas based company, it may be best to consider the Business Visitor Visa. Short term Visitors that are qualified to apply for this category includes:

  • Visitors looking to come into the country for academic purposes. For example, finding out more about a course.
  • Professors visiting the UK for research
  • Teachers Accompanying Students
  • Members of a Movie or Film crew
  • Sole rep of an overseas news media
  • Persons looking to visit the UK as a Religious Workers
  • Persons travelling as Advisers/Consultants, Coaches or to fix a specific technical problem
  • Persons coming to the UK for a one off training
  • Persons involved in one or more 'permissible activities' in the UK.

In order to make an application under this route, the individual must: -

  • Submit an entry clearance application as a business visitor to the UK.
  • Upon approval, ensure to leave the country at the end of the granted. leave.
  • Meet maintenance and accommodation requirements. Applicants must show that they will be financially sufficient in the UK; not needing financial or accommodation support from the UK government.
  • Have paid for or can show that they can afford a round trip.
  • Carry out at least one of the following activities during their visit;
    • Carry out activities that are authorised as per paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules
    • Embark upon an 'authorised activity' as explained in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules

It is important that the Business visitor's remuneration originates from the country of origin except in an event where the company is multinational and as a matter of policy makes all salary payments worldwide from the United Kingdom.

Extension Of Stay As A Business Visitor

In order to be eligible for extension under the route, the following would have to apply:-

    • Continue to meet the eligibility requirements for entry clearance under the route
    • Last granted leave is as a Business visitor

Judicial Review Against Refusal Of Business Visitor Visa Application

In most cases, you will not be given a right to appeal a refusal of a business visitor visa. You can however challenge a refusal with a Judicial review in the High Court. The individual must therefore make an application seeking authorisation to apply for Judicial Review within 90 days after which the application was refused.

Family Visitor Visa UK

Please note that this route has now been merged with the standard Visit Visa.

The family visitor visa is appropriate for persons whose family member is in the UK on a visa. If your family member is not a member of the EEA and has a valid leave to remain in the country, the family visit visa will be appropriate.

Please note that a family member is defined as any of the following:-

  • Spouse, civil partner, nuclear family member
  • Grandparent or grandchildren
  • Child(ren)
  • Step-nuclear family members
  • Unmarried partner

In order to qualify on this route, the applicant must show the following:-

  • That they are at least over the age of 18 years of age;
  • That the applicant intends to spend a maximum of 6 months in the country or 12, in the case of an academic visitor
  • That the applicant is able to cater for themselves without recourse to public funds throughout the period of his/her stay in the UK.
  • A round trip has either been booked or the applicant can show that he/she is able to afford it.

Judicial Review Against Refusal Of Family Visitor Visa Application

There is currently no right of appeal available for refusals of the family visit visa. You may however be able to challenge a refusal by lodging an administrative review. It is important that an application for Judicial review be lodged within 90 days of the refusal.

Our Visit visa lawyers

At Reiss Edwards, we have a strong team of London-based specialist immigration lawyers with over 40 years of immigration experience. Our experts are highly regarded and we will be more than happy to help you with your immigration matter.

Child Visitor Visa

This category (Child Visitor) is for children who are under the age of 18 years old who intend to enter the UK for up to 6 months (or 12 months if they intend to accompany an academic visitor). This category is inclusive of those who have the intention to take up a course of study in the UK for up to 6 months.

For an individual to be granted entry to the UK under the Child Visitor category, the person must prove that;

  • He/she is under 18 years old;
  • He/she plans not to spend more than six months; or 12 months if he/she applies to accompany an academic visitor.
  • He/she plans to travel back at the end of the visit.
  • Appropriate preparations have been made for the child in aspects of reception and care in the UK and if the welfare of the child will be taken care of by a relative or a foster caregiver that is not a parent or guardian, who would be responsible for the child.
  • He/she has a parent or guardian residing in the country of origin who is responsible for his/her welfare, and can make available their contact details (i.e. address, Phone Number etc.)
  • The child's parents consent to the preparations made for the child's journey to, reception and care whilst in the UK.
  • He/she can afford a round trip; and
  • He/she is not in transit to a country that in not part of the 'Common Travel Area' (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands).

The individual can take up a short course of study whilst in the UK, if it is made available by an organisation that is:

    • a licensed sponsor under Tier 4 of the points-based system;
    • accredited by an accreditation body that have been approved by the UK Border Agency (UKBA); or
    • Either inspected by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education in Scotland, Estyn, Northern Ireland's Education and Training Inspectorate or the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

The individual may also choose to partake in a short visit exchange programme with an educational visit to a UK school. The school must either be a maintained school, a non-maintained special school or an independent (fee-paying or non-fee-paying) school. The individual must however make submissions containing full information of the school offering the programme and welfare arrangements put in place to cover the individual's residence in the UK.

Depending on if the child will be travelling in the company of an adult or unaccompanied; a few requirements need to be met:

Unaccompanied Child Visitors

In a situation where the child will travel without the company of an adult (an individual aged over 18 years), he/she will be treated as an "unaccompanied child visitor" by the UKBA. Here, parents or guardians will be required to provide:

      • Written content of approval for the travel to the UK;
      • Their complete contact details; and
      • Proof that appropriate living arrangements have been made for the child's residence in the UK.

Accompanied Child Visitors

In a situation where the child is accompanied by an adult (an individual aged over 18 years) for the journey, he/she will be treated as an accompanied child visitor by the UKBA. The accompanying adult must be identified in the visa application; the name of the accompanying adult will appear on the visa of the child and he/she would be denied entry into the UK if he/she is without the adult. However up to two adults can be identified and in a situation where you are in the company of one of the adults, your entry will be authorised.

Entertainer Visitor Visa UK

An individual who intends to visit the UK temporarily for the purpose of partaking in major art festivals, music competitions and charity events; he/she will be granted an entertainer visitor permit for entry.

If you want to visit the UK for a short time to take part in some major arts festivals, music competitions and charity events, you may be able to come here as an entertainer visitor.

A person is entitled to enter the UK on the conditions that:

  • He/she as a professional entertainer you are partaking in a music competition;
  • He/she is taking part in broadcasts or public appearances as an internationally famous person on the condition that you are not getting paid to do it;
  • He/she is scheduled to attend an audition either paid or unpaid; on the condition that it is not before an audience;
  • He/she is an amateur entertainer who is to be an individual performer at a particular engagement;
  • He/she is to attend a specific engagement as part of a group of amateur entertainers such as a choir;
  • He/she is to take part in a non-paid charity concert or show as a professional entertainer as long as the show organisers are not making profit from the event.;
  • He/she is scheduled to partake in a cultural event or a major arts festival that is sponsored by government or an acknowledged international organisation; as an amateur or professional entertainer;
  • He/she is part of a support or technical staff member of an amateur or professional entertainer who will attend the same event;
  • He/she is an official (such as a choreographer, stage manager or designer) who will attend the same event as the entertainer.

Whilst in the UK, the applicant must not

  • Work as an employee in any capacity
  • Study in a higher educational institution;
  • Be married or give notice to the marriage registrar an intention to get married.
  • Take up private medical care.

Parent Of A Child At School

Parents whose children are receiving formal education in the United Kingdom under the Tier 4 (Child) of the points-based system or under the student immigration category that was in existence before 31st March, 2009; and fall under the age of 12 years old, can apply to come to the UK under the Parent of a Child at school category.

The parent can come to the UK under this category on the condition that his/her child is:

  • under the age 12 years old; and
  • a student of an independent fee-paying day school under Tier 4 (Child) of the points-based system or under the student category that existed before 31 March 2009.

The individual must however show that, during their visit, they do not intend to be involved in any of the following:

  • Take up work whether it is paid or not. The applicant not set up to offer goods and/or service for sale either directly or indirectly.
  • Undertake formal education

In addition to the above, the application must also demonstrate the following

  • That the applicant do not harbor an intention to remain permanently in the UK
  • That the application is going to leave the UK at the end of his/her visit
  • He/she was not granted entry to the UK under the Approved Destination Status Agreement with China; and
  • The applicant can afford a round trip

The individual will be grated initially entry for a maximum period of 12 months. He/she can make an application to extend their stay for a further 12 months at a time if they still meet the requirements stated above.

Prospective Entrepreneur Visa UK

If you are looking to come to the UK to secure funding as part of a bigger plan to set up a business in the UK, the prospective entrepreneur Visa may be appropriate. It includes entrepreneurs who have been earmarked by appropriate recognised funding bodies within the UK for funding; or funding as part of an ongoing competition or venture capitalist scheme.


The following requirements would have to be met in order to qualify for this visa

  1. You are looking to enter the UK for the as a prospective entrepreneur for a period within 6 months.
  2. You have received a supporting letter from the recognised UK financial institution or government body in support of your application.
  3. There is a demonstrable evidence that you intend to leave the country at the expiration of your leave
  4. You meet the maintenance and accommodation requirements in the UK (no recourse to public funds).
  5. You will be actively involved in the process to secure funding for your periods whilst in the UK.

Prior to lodging an application under this route, the following background work must have been ongoing:-

  • You must have been in communication with one or more Financial institutions or recognised providers in the UK; or
  • You have been enlisted in at least one UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions listed as endorsed on the UK Trade & investment website, or
  • A department of the government of the United Kingdom for the purpose of
    • Obtaining monetary support from them to assist you with joining, setting up or taking over an existing UK business.
    • Functionally participating in the day to day operation of the business in question

Sports Visitors Visa UK

An individual who is resident in another country may be granted entry into the UK for a short time as a Sport Visitor if the purpose of the entry is to partake in sport-related activities. If the applicant is an athlete or is part of the sport people working directly with the athlete, he/she can visit the UK for a short time in order to partake in the event. This can be done without the work permit or by making an application through the points-based system.

The individual is however expected to:

Genuine intention to spend no more than six months in the UK as a sports visitor;

  • Have plans to leave the country at the end of the visit;
  • Financial sufficiency without seeking for public funds;
  • Able to pay for a round trip (onward or return journey); and
  • Have the intention to undertake one of the following through their stay:
  • Partake in a sporting event, tournament or series of events as defined by the United Kingdom Border Agency.
  • Partake in a non-paid charity sporting event; however only his/her travelling cost and other expenses could be paid for
  • Become an amateur member of a completely amateur or mostly amateur team as long as he/she does not get paid; however only his/her travelling, accommodation cost and other reasonable expenses could be paid for; or
  • Work as a member of the technical or personal staff or as an official who will attend the same event as the sportsperson coming for any of the above stated reason stated in the three points above.

Student Visitor Visa UK

An adult individual who intends to take up a short course of study such as a work-related training course or a beginner's English language course in the United Kingdom, he/she might be able to enter the UK as a Student Visitor.

However, if the individual intends to study for a course that would last for a longer period, or intends to take up a job (which includes a placement) as he/she studies, the individual should make an application for the Tier 4 (General) of the Points-Based system.

The duration of a Student visitor visa to the UK is 6 months, but in circumstances where the individual is studying an English language course, he/she would be permitted to stay for up to 11 months.

Please note that you will need to show that you will leave the United Kingdom as soon as you complete your visit. You also need to show that you are financially capable of taking care of yourself and any other person that applied with you while you are in the UK.

We would also recommend that you pay for a round trip rather than a single journey - to and from the UK

The UKBA's offer of leave for a limited period to an individual outside the rules for applicants who are legitimately seeking admittance into the UK as a student visitor in order to take up a course only in English Language took effect from the 10th of January 2011. This permit can last for more than six months but cannot exceed 11 months. However, the student is required to fulfil all the criteria required in this category.

UK Visa For PLAB Test

PLAB refers to the Professional Linguistic Assessment Board. If you are a doctor and are looking to practice medicine in the UK, you will need to register with the General Medical Council (GMC). In order to qualify for registration, it is important that they pass the PLAB; showing their knowledge of English language as well their medical knowledge.

In addition, the applicant must pass the IELTS to meet the English language requirements. This is particularly important as it shows the competence and fluency of the applicant in English language in relation to gauge his suitability to take the PLAB test.

On the successful completion of the IELTS, the applicant (Doctor) may then proceed to taking the PLAB test in the United Kingdom.

Please note that the Professional Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) examination is broken down into two distinct areas; Part 1 and Part 2. The exams are set up in such a way that you can only move to stage 2 after you have successfully completed and passed stage 1.

Please note that where the applicants fails woefully in stage 1, they would have to wait for at least 4 months to be able to retake the exam.

If you are from a country that would normally need a visa to come to the United Kingdom, you will have to apply for entry clearance on the basis for the PLAB test in other to sit the exams.

In addition to the applicant meeting all the requirements in paragraph 75a of the Immigration rules, the following are the additional requirements that would need to be fulfilled.

  • The applicant must have genuinely completed his medical degree and graduated from a medical school.
  • The applicant has a genuine intention to take the PLAB exams
  • Has reasonable evidence which confirms the test date or the individual's eligibility to make an application to sit the test;
  • The applicant is able to support themselves in terms of accommodation and finance whilst in the UK; without having to depend on public funds
  • The applicant has no intention to take on employment whilst on the route. Please note that clinical attachment are not regarded as employment here

Furthermore, applicants on this route, in the UK, may take on additional periods of clinical attachment courses. However, it is not obligatory to make applications individually in order to take on clinical attachments, only in situations where the duration of the clinical attachment exceeds the expiration of the leave to take the PLAB test in the United Kingdom.

Visitor For Marriage/Civil Partnership

Individuals who intend to enter the United Kingdom so as to get married or register a civil partnership, and the couple intends to vacate the country within six months that the individuals can make the application for a visa as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership.

In a situation where the couple intends to reside in the UK after their marriage or civil partnership ceremony, they are not permitted to make an application to enter the UK as a Marriage Visitor.

The individual applying for the UK visa as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership must meet the following criteria:

    • He/she should legitimately seek entry as a general visitor for a limited period not more than six months.
    • He/she should possess a legitimate UK entry clearance for entry in this capacity
    • He/she will vacate the UK at the conclusion of their visit
    • He/she must be able to pay for a round trip (to and fro);
    • He/she must exhibit their intention to give notice of marriage or civil partnership, or marry or form a civil partnership
    • He/she must provide adequate proof to show preparations for giving notice of marriage or civil partnership, or for their wedding or civil partnership to take place in the UK.

There is no provision for extension of stay as a visitor for marriage or civil partnership contain within the rules of the Immigration of the UK.

Visitor For Private Medical Treatment

If you are looking coming to the UK for the main purpose of receiving treatment for a medical condition is required, you may consider making an application as a visitor for private medical treatment. However the individual would not be able to receive treatments form the National Health Service (NHS).

    • Seek entry clearance to the UK for the reason of receiving private medical care.
    • Leave the UK after treatments have been concluded.
    • Meet financial and accommodation requirements for self and for dependants;
    • Be in a position to pay for a round trip;
    • Satisfactorily convince the medical inspector that the ailment poses not threat to public health in the UK, if the disease is contagious.
    • Be able to show that any proposed course of treatment is only for a limited period of time
    • Show proof of:
        • The medical condition requiring consultation or treatment
        • Arrangements for the consultation or treatment afforded by the individual
        • The entire costs required for such consultation or treatment
        • The estimated duration of their visit
        • Availability of adequate funds in the UK to meet the estimated costs and their undertaking to do so.

      Extension Of Stay As A Visitor For Private Medical Treatment

      Extension of stay under this category is permitted but in order for an individual to qualify for an extension of stay as a visitor for private medical care, it is mandatory that the applicant fulfils the following requirements:
          • He/she continually meets all of the criteria as stated above (apart from seeking entry)
          • Make available proof from a registered medical practitioner who holds an NHS consultant post, or who is a Registered Specialist of the General Medical Council; showing adequate arrangements for private medical consultation or treatment, the estimated time it will last, where the treatments have started and proof of progress made.
          • Provide evidence that will show that the individual has successfully fulfilled the cost incurred for treatment in the UK.
          • Possess sufficient funds to meet the probable cost of treatments in the UK and the intention to fulfil those costs.
          • Not granted entry to the UK under the Approved Destination Status Agreement with China; and
      An individual who intends to extend his/her stay in the UK, for the purpose of undergoing private medical treatment, he/she must make available a letter form a registered medical practitioner. The medical practitioner must hold an NHS consultant post, or must be a Registered Specialist of the General Medical Council (GMC).

Switching Into Visitor For Medical Treatment Category

Switching into the private medical treatment category is permitted under the immigration rules, unless in situations where the last permit of leave was done under the Approved Destination Status Agreement with China route.

Visitor In Transit Visa UK

An individual is entitled to enter the United Kingdom as a visitor in transit if he/she is scheduled to arrive the UK, moves through the Immigration control and then vacate the UK within 48 hours of arrival or 24 hours in cases where the individual is travelling under the 'travel without visa' concession. This is termed the transiting landslide.

In a situation, where the individual arrives the UK on a flight, remains in the arrival lounge of the airport without moving through the immigration control and the leaves with another flight from the same airport, he/she is does not need to enter as a visitor in transit.

However, for an individual to enter the United Kingdom as a Visitor in Transit, he/she must be able to exhibit that:

  • He/she is actually in transit to a final destination that is not among the Common Travel Area (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands);
  • He/she has the intent to advance to another country,
  • He/she is confident of admittance in the destination country;
  • He/she has the intention and ability to vacate the United Kingdom in of 48 hours (or 24 hours).

The individual is not permitted to take up employment during his/her stay in the UK. Visa Nationals are required to obtain a UK visa before they will be granted entry into the UK as a visitor in transit.

On the other hand, if an individual seeks to transit the UK whilst on his/her way to a country that is among the Common Travel Area (Ireland, the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), the person would not be granted entry to the UK as a Visitor in transit.

Visitor Under Approved Destination Status (ADS) Agreement With China

Singed on the 21st of January 2005 was The UK/China Approved Destination Status (ADS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The purpose of this MoU was to give assistance to the journey of groups of Chinese tourists who wishes to visit the UK. This Approved Destination Status (ADS) category was developed so as to give though to the terms established in the MoU, meet the needs of Chinese citizens who intend to enter the United Kingdom as part of a tourist group of at least five people.

This category (ADS) does not take the place of the Visitor category for Chinese citizens, ordinary visit applications from Chinese citizens are still handled in the usual manner.

This Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme only works through a limited amount of appointed tour operators, authorised and tutored by the British Embassy in China, who has submits visa applications on behalf of each member of the tour group.

Visitors Undertaking Permitted Paid Engagements

This Visitors Undertaking Permitted Paid Engagements category is for a specified list of individuals who seek to enter the UK for the Purpose of engaging in events because of their skill and expertise. The individual may be granted entry for up to a period of one month in which he/she will not require being sponsored under the points-based system. This category is mainly for guest examiners, lecturers, overseas designated pilot examiners, qualified lawyers, and professional artists, entertainers and sportsperson.

In a situation where by the applicant intends to take up job that is not authorised under this category, he/she may be authorise to enter under the points-based system.

However, he/she will be permitted to enter the UK as a Visitor undertaking a permitted paid engagement if the activities he/she will be engaged in are enumerated below:

The individual is also expected to make available a formal invitation to partake in a pre-arranged engagement, that reveals the relationship between the engagement and applicant's:

  • expertise and/or qualifications; and
  • full-time occupation in your home country.

Visiting examiners and assessors

To be granted entry on this basis, the individual has to be highly qualified in his/her area of professionalism, and must have received an invitation by a UK higher education institution or UK-based arts or research organisation in order to:

  • examine students; and/or
  • Partake in or be the head of selection panels as part of that institution or organisation's quality assurance processes.

Visiting lecturers

The individual invited by the UK higher education institution or UK-based arts or research organisation to lecture a course or sequence of lectures in his/her area of expertise. This role must not be a formal teaching role.

Overseas designated pilot examiners

The invitation of the individual in this case must be by an approved training organisation that is based in the UK to assess UK-based pilots so as to make for certain that the person meets the national aviation regulatory criteria of other countries. The training organisation that would carry out these assessments must for that purpose be one under the supervision of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Lawyers providing advocacy

In the case of lawyers, the individual must be qualified in a certain field of law and must have been invited by a client who is resided in the United Kingdom or another country in order to provide advocacy for legal proceedings in the United Kingdom. The court proceedings might be a court hearing, arbitration or an alternative form of dispute resolution.

Arts, entertainment or sports professionals

The individual in this circumstance must be invited by an arts or sports organization or broadcaster that is resided in the United Kingdom so as to carry out an activity that relates to the expertise of the individual either in the arts, entertainment or sports. This category might also comprise of fashion models entering the UK to partake in a particular engagement, as long as the individual does not have the intention to be based on a long-term basis in the United Kingdom.

Judicial Review Against Refusal Of Application For UK Visa As A Visitor Undertaking Permitted Paid Engagements

The individual has no right to appeal against a decision to refuse his/her application for entry as a Visitor Undertaking Permitted Paid Engagements; this position can only be confronted by Judicial Review in the High Court. The individual must therefore make an application seeking authorisation to apply for Judicial Review within 90 days after which the application was refused.

There is no right of appeal against the refusal of an application for entry clearance as a visitor undertaking permitted paid engagement and the refusal can only be challenged by way of Judicial Review in High Court. An application for permission to apply for Judicial Review must be lodged in High Court within 90 days of the date of the refusal of the application.

For further assistance with your immigration matter, you can speak with one of our experienced immigration solicitors.

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