UK Tier 1 and other Immigration Scenarios: A General Overview of Immigration and Visa in United Kingdom


The laws set forth by the United Kingdom that define procedures and regulations regarding entry into the country is laid out in the Immigration Rules. These rules, comprising of several acts that have been implemented throughout the modern history of the country, such as the Immigration Act of 1971, the British Nationality Act of 1981, the Immigration Act of 1981, the Immigration and Asylum Act of 1999, the United Kingdom Borders Act of 2007 and many others define processes and rules for several categories of entry and exclusion.

Acts such as the Immigration Act of 1971 define processes and procedures such as ‘right of abode’, ‘exclusion from the United Kingdom’ and rights that commonwealth citizens hold. Other acts have helped define other procedures as well, such as what rights European Union nationals possess and the strength of their rights over non-European Union nationals.

The whole of the Immigration Rules, comprised by these acts, are divided into 15 parts and several appendixes and statement of changes.

  • Part 1 of the Immigration Rules cover provisions that define procedural work on how to enter or leave the United Kingdom. Topics such as temporary stay, indefinite stay and regulations regarding leave from the UK are covered from paragraphs 7 to 39E.
  • Part 2 of the Immigration Rules covers transitional provisions regarding laws set forth by the United Kingdom regarding entry in the country for visitors. Appendix 5 is defined to explain procedures in part of these rules.
  • Part 3 of the Immigration Rules covers mostly the Tier 4 student category. These laws laid out over the years define temporary and indefinite stay in the United Kingdom for individuals willing to come to the country for study purposes and entrepreneurial activities.
  • Part 4 of the Immigration Rules cover the laws laid by the United Kingdom for individuals willing to enter the country to gain work related experience or training in any respective field. This is defined through paragraphs 122 to 127 and lay out the requirements and regulations for eligibility in this category.
  • Part 5 of the Immigration Rules continues Part 3 of the laws laid out by the United Kingdom for individuals coming to the country for work related matters. While the previous part defined procedures for individuals who wanted to gain work experience in the UK, this part covers rules for anyone who wants to work in the United Kingdom or settle in the country because of work in the country. This is defined through paragraphs 128A to 199B.
  • Part 6 of the Immigration Rules covers provisions and laws laid out by the United Kingdom for individuals who wish to enter the country for business or investment purposes (home office investor visa, business residence visa, UK startup visa etc.) and are not directly related to any company or organization and declare themselves self-employed. This category also includes laws for individuals who are defined as artists, writers or any category related to the arts. This is defined through paragraphs 200A to 237.
  • Part 6A of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding the points based system that sets a minimum amount of points required to qualify for entry into the country. The minimum points required to qualify varies from category to category and changes throughout the Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5 visas. These points are gained through the filing and completion of requirements and precedents set forth for the category in question. These are defined throughout paragraphs 245AAA to 245ZZE.
  • Part 7 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom which are referred to as ‘other categories’. These other categories include settlement in the UK through
  • The long residence route.
  • Settlement for retired persons who live through independent means.
  • Laws for migrants who are from the European Economic Area (EEA) and their respective families.
  • Individuals who are exercising their rights of access to their children who are staying in the UK, entry into the country as a parent of a child (of less than 18 years of age) who entered through the student visa.
  • Limited leave or entry for citizens of Afghanistan.
  • For members of the armed forces who are exempt from immigration control under the Immigration Act of 1971.
  • Part 8 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding entry or leave for family members of permanently settled citizens. This is defined through paragraphs A277 to 319Y.
  • Part 9 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding any grounds for refusal that the government possesses when assessing any application for entry or leave into the country.
  • Part 10 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding regulations that individuals entering or leaving the country must follow related to police registration.
  • Part 11 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding asylum and temporary protection for individuals entering or leaving the country.
  • Part 12 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding procedures and the rights of appeals that individuals possess when being told that they have to leave the country.
  • Part 13 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding deportation that the government imposes on any individual who is in violation of its laws.
  • Part 14 of the Immigration Rules covers laws laid out by the United Kingdom regarding rights of stateless persons who are present in the United Kingdom and regarding their leave or settlement procedure.
  • Part 15 of the Immigration Rules covers conditions set forth by the United Kingdom to acquire an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate

What is a visa?

A document that is filed along with your passport that serves as evidence that you have been permitted to enter a certain country for which the visa was asked to be issued. The United Kingdom requires that any individual entering the country possess a valid visa if you are a citizen of a country listed in Appendix 1 of the Immigration Rules. The visa must be obtained prior to entry into the United Kingdom and must be issued by any British Embassy or Consulate situated in any part of the world.

The visa issued by the United Kingdom is given when the individual has laid out his purpose for coming to the country on his application. The government requires that the applicant provide a valid reason for applying for a visa. Different categories of visas exist that are differentiated for every scenario that the applicant defines as his reason for coming to the UK.

A visa is also required for individuals who possess non-national papers, for individuals who are categorized by UK law as stateless persons or any person who holds a document that proves he is a citizen of the former Soviet Union or from the Republic of Yugoslavia (which now ceases to exist).

How many categories of visas are there?

Visas are categorized through Tier 1,2,4 and 5 types and comprise in the following general categories:

  • A visa issued for visit purposes
  • A visa issued for employment purposes
  • A visa issued for business purposes
  • A visa issued to students
  • A visa issued for settlement purposes

What are some visa requirements generally required for any category?

A certain fee is charged from individuals applying which differs from category to category. The fee changes annually and can be paid in the applicant’s local currency.

A passport size photograph is required, the specifications of which are defined as:

  • Should be colorized, and not black and white.
  • 45mm in height, 35mm in width.
  • The individual must be looking straight into the camera, face forward.
  • There shouldn’t be any shadows in the photograph
  • The background of the photograph should be light grey or cream
  • The eyes of the applicant must be visible and without any objects such as spectacles or hair covering them.
  • The photographs must be submitted undamaged
  • No object or obstacle should be covering the applicant’s face
  • The photograph must not have ‘red eye’
  • A strong distinction between the background and the applicant must be present in the photograph
  • The expression of the applicant must be neutral and with the mouth closed
  • No other object or person must be present in the photograph. The applicant must be the sole subject of the picture.
  • The picture must not be digitally enhanced or artificially changed through any medium
  • Although no object must be present in the photograph that covers the face, an exemption is made if worn for medical or religious purposes

The UKVI

The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) is the older name of the Home Office’s division responsible for handling issues related to immigration and visas being issued. The name has been changed by the government to the ‘United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI)’ which is still a division of the Home Office headed by the Secretary of State.

The Home Office and this division of the Home Office are responsible for approving and declining visa applications and also are responsible for deporting and detaining individuals in violation of the country’s laws.

The UKVI handles almost three million visa applications annually such as home office investor visa, business residence visa, UK startup visa and many others who wish to visit, work, study or settle in the United Kingdom.

The UKVI can be reached through the phone, by post or through their website.

The European Economic Area (EEA) 

The European Economic Area (EEA) is a list of countries comprised of European Union (EU) states including the United Kingdom. Nationals of the EEA are able to move freely from state to state that are also included in the EEA work, study, visit or settlement purposes and are protected under free movement rights. The United Kingdom is included in the EU free market until 2019, when it leaves the EU.

What are Economic Migrants?

Students who come to the United Kingdom for study purposes, including both EEA and non-EEA nationals, are referred to as economic migrants. A total of 28 countries are included in the European Union (EU) and EEA.

How many foreigners are currently living in the United Kingdom?

Almost thirteen percent of the United Kingdom’s total population are comprised of foreign nationals who are in the country for various reasons including study, visit, work or to settle.

A recent census reflected figures that helped determine the countries from where most foreigners come from. These countries include Spain, Portugal, India, Poland, Italy, Pakistan, France, Romania, Lithuania and Ireland.

Studies show that the number of Polish citizens has increased thirty-five times the original number recorded in 2001. This, and other statistical data, reflects that the majority of the individuals coming to the United Kingdom are from European nations.

United Kingdom Screening Requirement of Tuberculosis

The United Kingdom government has a requirement from individuals of certain countries to have health tests conducted for Tuberculosis before coming to the country. The TB health test taken is valid for a period longer than six months. Applicants who are required to take this test must have a medical certificate that serves as evidence that they have taken this test and are free from this disease. The screening procedure and the list of countries included in this category are listed online on the Home Office’s website.