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’s Visa category exists a number of specific visitor’s 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’s 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.
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:
Some of the things the applicant is not permitted to do include:
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:
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:
In order to make an application under this route, the individual must: -
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.
In order to be eligible for extension under the route, the following would have to apply:-
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.
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:-
In order to qualify on this route, the applicant must show the following:-
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.
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;
The individual can take up a short course of study whilst in the UK, if it is made available by an organisation that is:
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:
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:
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.
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:
Whilst in the UK, the applicant must not
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:
The individual must however show that, during their visit, they do not intend to be involved in any of the following:
In addition to the above, the application must also demonstrate the following
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.
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
Prior to lodging an application under this route, the following background work must have been ongoing:-
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;
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.