Going to UK on a Visitor Visa


Standard Visitor Visa and its Limitations

If you want to go to the UK for any purpose, the purpose of which is not to settle but with the intent to visit for a limited period of time, then the United Kingdom government has set forth the Standard Visitor visa for anyone who wants to go to the United Kingdom for leisure. If you are within the European Economic Area (EEA), then this visa is not required for you. Citizens of Switzerland also are exempt from needing this visa to visit the UK. The validity of the Standard Visitor visa extends to a limit of 6 months. If any person visiting wants to stay for a longer period of time, then visit visas that are for long term can be availed which are available but only if you can provide evidence that you will need to make multiple repeat trips to the United Kingdom. Although still valid for only a six month period, these visas allow you to revisit the UK for up to a limit of 10 years starting from a 1 year period.

If the purpose of your visit is business related, you can apply for the Visitor Visa by providing evidence to the government that you need to attend to a job-related situation in the UK. Any sportsperson, art, or media related professional, or someone visiting for academic purposes can also apply. Medical professionals can also apply if it relates to a clinical issue in the UK.

The fee required for a Standard Visitor visa is 89 pounds. It will cost 337 pounds if the stay is for a period of two years on a long visit. For a five year period, the fee will move up to 612 pounds. And for the maximum period of time that you can stay, which is 10 years, the fee will come up to be 767 pounds. This fee can be paid in either Pound Sterling or the currency of your country.

For applicants applying and coming to the United Kingdom for the first time, a personal interview is arranged. While processes may vary by embassy, mostly interviews are taken the same day at which you submit your application. If the number of applicants is higher than most, you may be asked to come back for the interview on a later day. This interview takes place at the Entry Clearance Office.

Note that you are not allow to marry on a visitor visa or give any form of notice that you intend to marry during your temporary stay in the United Kingdom. The same rule also applies to civil partnerships.

Access UK

For foreigners applying to the United Kingdom, a new online visa application service has been started by the government. This online forum is called Access UK (www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa). It includes a list of over 180 countries that are eligible to apply online. The purpose of this is convenience so that you do not have to physically visit an Embassy or any office of the UK high commission.

If I am in the UK on a Visitor visa, can I apply to stay in the UK permanently?

If you can prove to the United Kingdom government that you intend to marry a citizen of the UK and continue your settlement after applying for permanent residence, then you can apply to settle permanently on a Visitor visa.

Note that the United Kingdom reserves the right to refuse any applicant who possesses any form of a criminal history or have provided false information about yourself to the government of the UK. Even giving incomplete information can get you exempted from the settlement process.

Besides this there are plenty of other visa schemes like UK business visa, UK startup visa, entrepreneur visa UK etc. which can help you for a longer stay in UK and eventually letting you settle in UK permanently after some basic years stay in UK.

I just need to visit the United Kingdom for a brief period, which visa should I apply for? 

Any non-EEA (European Economic Area) person can apply for the ‘Standard Visitor’ visa if the period of stay is short. You can study for up to 1 month period on a Standard Visitor visa. The Entry Clearance Officer makes the decision to shorten your visitor visa. 

Am I allowed to extend my stay in the UK on a Visitor visa?

If you can prove to the United Kingdom government that your intent is to only stay temporarily, an extension on your visa can be granted. You will need to fill all the necessary paperwork and provide accountability that you will not abuse this extension by choosing to rather not leave the UK at all.

Is there any special criterion to check that the applicant on a visitor visa does not intend to abuse the visa and stay longer than expected?

The British government assesses the travel, financial history of the applicant along with their personal background. The past 1 year period in which the applicant has travelled to and from the United Kingdom is also seen along with the frequency of trips. The government can reject the application if any suspicious activity is discovered or any pattern of malicious behavior is observed in the applicant’s history.

Not having ties to the country you were born in and having close ties to citizens in the UK who are discovered to be family members is viewed negatively in the applicants favor.

You must not abuse the Immigration Law of the United Kingdom which states that under paragraphs:

46 G (iii) that states that the applicant must not stay for more than 6 months or 1 year if he’s an academic visitor.

46M (iii) If he’s applying as a sportsperson, then he must be in a professional team or be taking part professionally alone or

46S Any professional entertainer must take part in the production team to which his employer has assigned him in.

Why does my past travel history matter when applying for this visa?

A behavior that shows that the applicant has abused the travel laws of the United Kingdom in the past shows a possible future pattern of breaking the law in the eyes of the government. If the applicant has visited other countries as well and has not overstayed the set period by the country, and has not abused any laws, then the applicant is viewed favorably to be given a visa. Although this is not the only factor necessary to securing a short term visa, it is one of important factor to be kept in mind.

How does a pattern of abuse emerge when the UK government is assessing my visa application?

UKVI takes notice of how frequently you visit the United Kingdom and whether you have abused your stay in the past while visiting. Your previous applications are also considered and the reasons for previous rejection reviewed and investigated.

How much money do I need to show when applying for a visitor visa?

An amount that reflects to the UK government that the applicant is capable of sustaining himself financially while staying in the UK is seen. Although there’s no set limit, it’s usually an estimate of whether the funds present with the applicant are enough to cover visit costs. If you are bringing family members along, then you must also show a financial position where you can provide and accommodate for them if they are financially dependent on you. But the figures of visit visa money is eventually less than the amount of money needed to show when applying for UK startup visa or entrepreneur visa UK.

Can a sponsor in the UK claim financial responsibility for any applicant?

No, any sponsor willing to claim financial responsibility is not going to be taken into account as evidence that applicant will be accommodated while in the UK.

Am I allowed to visit the UK on a visitor visa if I am planning to start a business there?

Yes, while you may not be allowed to stay in the UK to start a business on a visitor visa, you are allowed to apply for a visitor visa with the intent of securing funding for your future business that you are planning. You will eventually need to apply on a Tier 1 visa UK or UK business visa etc. demanding on your business idea, before you start any proper business in the United Kingdom as an entrepreneur.

Can I go to the UK for academic purposes/research on a visitor visa?

Yes, a maximum of a 1 year period is allowed to go the UK for research or academic purposes. The government will inquire whether you are a PhD holder or not and do background checks related to your workplace and university credibility. An extension of a 1 year period can be given to any academic who is highly qualified or a recognizable figure in his field.

Can I go to the UK for private medical treatment on a Visit visa?

You are allowed to apply for the visit visa if you are going to the United Kingdom for private treatment. But, you must have planned treatment or made arrangements in advance to apply and show proof of your visit. You must also show the United Kingdom government that you have enough funds to pay for the treatment. Note that your medical treatment must not exceed a certain limit which gives you a reason to stay longer than anticipated.

You will also be required to produce documents from a doctor or the facility that has taken responsibility for your procedure in advance. The same facility or doctor must provide written documents stating the time period of the treatment. Documents that provide ample evidence that you can pay for this treatment also need to be submitted.

Note that the UK government does tests on certain countries to check whether the applicant is diagnosed with Tuberculosis or not.

Am I allowed to receive payments on a Visit visa while in the UK?

Payments are only allowed to the person on special instances keeping in mind the fact that they must not equate to a salary.

Are children allowed to enter the United Kingdom on a Visit visa?

If proper evidence is provided to the UKVI that the applicant is well within his financial means to accommodate his children who are dependants, then the government will approve the application. The UKVI reserves the right to investigate whether the children will be well taken care of if they are granted a visit visa with the parent that they are applying.

For parents who are divorced, the approval must be from the parent who has legal custody over the child. If the applicant does not hold legal custody over the child he wishes to bring along, then permission of the parent who holds responsibility over the child must be taken. The United Kingdom government reserves the right to refuse application if at any point it is shown that the child will not be well taken care of on his visit.

Is there any special visa arrangement for applicants of Chinese nationality?

From the start of January 2016, a new visitor visa scheme has been launched for Chinese nationals which holds for two years on the visitor visa. This will also allow them to make several number of official trips on a company’s behalf and give them flexibility to stay longer. The funds needed to apply for this visa amount to 85 pounds for an application.