UK Visit Visa
THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF UK VISITOR VISAS.
- Visitor Visa
- Transit Visa
- Marriage Visitor Visa
The UK Visitor Visa allows a person from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, to visit the UK for up to six months.
To visit the United Kingdom, a person requires permission to do so. This permission can be in the form of the UK Visitor Visa or Leave to Enter the UK. A visitor has to apply for the UK Visitor Visa before travelling to the UK. The Leave to Enter can be obtained at the UK port of entry.
Whether a person requires a UK Visitor Visa will depend on whether the person is regarded as a visa national or not.
ACTIVITIES ALLOWED ON A UK VISITOR VISA
The UK visitor visa allows a person to do a range of things:
- To take a holiday in the UK.
- Visit family or friends.
- For business reasons.
- To take part in sports or creative events.
- Receive private medical treatment.
- Study for up to 30 days, provided this is not the main reason for your visit.
- If you are under 18 years, you may take part in an exchange program or educational visit.
- You can convert your civil partnership into a marriage.
ACTIVITIES NOT ALLOWED ON A UK VISITOR VISA
The UK visitor visa does not allow a person to do a range of things:
- You are not allowed to do paid or unpaid work.
- You cannot through frequent visits to the UK basically live in the UK.
- There is no access to UK Public funds.
- One cannot marry, register a civil partnership or give notice of marriage or a civil partnership. You can only do this if you have applied for the Marriage Visitor Visa.
DOING BUSINESS IN THE UK ON A UK VISITOR VISA
Applicants are often unsure whether they can do business in the UK on the UK Visitor Visa. There is, however, a range of business activities that are allowed.
- Taking part in a specific sports-related event.
- Performing as an artist, entertainer or musician.
- Academics who are doing research, or accompanying students on a study abroad program.
- Doctor or dentist who are taking a clinical attachment or observer post.
- To take the Professional Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or to sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
- To get funds to start, take over, join or run a business in the UK.
LENGTH OF STAY ON THE UK VISITOR VISA
- You can stay in the UK for up to six months. You can also apply to extend your UK Visitor Visa, as long as the total time you spend in the UK is not more than 6 months.
- It is also possible to apply for long-term visit visas if you travel to the UK regularly. These visas are valid for 2, 5 or 10 years. However, note that you are only allowed to stay a maximum of 6 months during any given year.
- If you are going to the UK for private medical treatment, you might be able to extend your stay for up to eleven months.
- If you are going to the UK as an academic on sabbatical or for research, you, your spouse civil partner and children might be able to stay for up to twelve months.
- Visitors under the Approved Destination Status Agreement, may be granted a visa for a period of up to 30 days.
APPLYING FOR THE UK VISITOR VISA
You can only apply for the UK Visitor Visa 3 months before you travel to the UK.
Things you need to proof;
- You have to show that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit.
- That you are able to support yourself and any dependents during your trip.
- That you are able to pay for any costs relating to the trip, as well as the onward journey.
- You have to show proof of any business or other activities you will be doing in the UK.
There are additional and very specific document requirements if you are visiting as an academic, for private medical treatment, applying as an organ donor, prospective entrepreneur or to take the PLAB or OSCE test. Please speak to one of our consultants for more information about this.
UK TRANSIT VISAS
With transit visas, you have to differentiate between whether you will be going through UK Border Control or not.
DIRECT AIRSIDE TRANSIT VISAS – NOT GOING THROUGH UK IMMIGRATION CONTROL
If you are not a national from the EEA or Switzerland, not leaving the airport, and only changing flights, and not going through the UK Immigration Control, you can apply for a Direct Airside Transit Visa.
VISITOR IN TRANSIT VISA – GOING THROUGH UK IMMIGRATION CONTROL
If you are not a national from the EEA or Switzerland, going through UK Immigration Control, and will be leaving the UK within 48 hours, you can apply for a Visitor in Transit Visa.
You may not work or study in the UK on the Visitor in Transit Visa.
It is also possible to apply for a long-term Visitor in Transit visa if you can prove that you need to pass through the UK frequently over long periods.
If you are travelling to the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you will need to apply for a UK Visitor Visa.
UK MARRIAGE VISITOR VISA
The UK Marriage Visitor Visa is a type of visitor visa that allows one to get married in the United Kingdom. The visa is thus primarily for getting married in the UK.
DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR A UK MARRIAGE VISITOR VISA?
You have to apply for this type of visa if you intend to;
- Get married or register a civil partnership in the UK; or
- Give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in the UK; and
- You do not plan to stay or settle in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership.
You do not need a Marriage Visitor visa to convert your Civil Partnership into a marriage. In such a case you can apply for a Standard UK Visitor visa.
CAN I SWITCH TO ANOTHER TYPE OF VISA WHILE IN THE UK ON THE MARRIAGE VISITOR VISA?
You are not allowed to apply or switch into any other permit while on a Marriage Visitor visa. If your intention is to move to the UK, you have to return to your country of residence and apply for new entry clearance to the UK.
APPLYING FOR THE MARRIAGE VISITOR VISA
The most important detail to prove under the marriage visitor visa will be as follow:
- That you are 18 years or older;
- You are free to give notice of marriage, or to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK within 6 months of your arrival;
- Proof that you intend to get married or register a civil partnership within the 6-month period of your visit;
That you are in a genuine relationship;
- Enough funds to support your visit as well as your return to your country of residence. Alternatively be able to prove that you can be supported and housed by relatives or friends;
- That you have accommodation in the UK; and
- You intend to leave the UK.
LENGTH OF STAY ON THE MARRIAGE VISITOR VISA
The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel. Your visa will then be valid from the date a decision has been made.
You can use this visa to visit the UK for up to 6 months.
ACTIVITIES ALLOWED ON THE MARRIAGE VISITOR VISA
You can use this visa to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK, within 6 months of your arrival in any location licensed for this purpose.
ACTIVITIES NOT ALLOWED ON THE MARRIAGE VISITOR VISA
- There is no recourse to public funds.
- You are not allowed to bring any dependents. They have to apply for a visa in their own right.
You cannot live in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits.
- No work is allowed, except for permitted activities related to your work or business overseas. This might include attending meetings and study for more than 30 days. Note however that none of these activities may be the main reason for your visit.