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UK Visitor or Tourist Visa

Do you need to apply for a UK Visitor or Tourist Visa?
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Visit Visa Applications

What is a UK Visitor Visa?

A UK visitor visa - also known as a UK tourist visa - enables people to visit the UK for business, leisure, to get private medical treatment or donate an organ. This type of visa is popular for individuals who wish to come to the UK for tourism, business or visiting their family members. When a visitor is in the UK on a tourist visa, they must ensure clear understanding of the sphere of activities they are allowed to undertake.

If you have been refused a visitor visa, then you can submit a new application straightaway. When you re-apply, you should be able to challenge the refusal decision and provide evidence to support your arguments. You cannot appeal against the decision of a visitor visa refusal unless there has a breach of Human Rights by the Home Office - find out more about how to appeal a visa refusal.

Visit Visa Requirements & Eligibility

When applying for a UK tourist or visitor visa, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements.

Firstly, you must be able to demonstrate that you are visiting the UK for a short period of time. If you are applying for a visitor visa, you cannot stay in the UK for any longer than six months, and you have to leave the UK at the end of your visit. In this instance, the only exception is in the case of academic visitors and parents of children at school in the UK, who can stay in the UK for up to 12 months. There may also be cases where student visitors are on an English language course that may take longer than 6 months but not longer than 11 months.

You must be able to demonstrate that - during the visit - you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself and any dependents - including the necessary accommodation - without working in the UK or receiving assistance from UK public funds. Alternatively, you can show that relatives or friends will be financially supporting and/or accommodating you during your stay.

While on a UK tourist visa, you cannot have any intention of engaging in any form of employment during your stay, and you must willing to leave as soon as your tenure of visit to the UK has expired.

UK Tourist Visa Categories

Those who wish to visit the UK must apply for the appropriate category of visitor visa. During your stay in the UK, you must comply with the conditions of your short visa - if not, it will result in adverse consequences.

The following categories, conditions and requirements to be fulfilled for Visitor Visa are:

General Visitors

If you’re visiting the UK to see family or friends, or simply visiting for tourism and sightseeing purposes, you should apply as a general visitor.

General visitors are now allowed to undertake up to 30 days of recreational, English language or academic study provided it is not the main purpose of their visit. Recreational study means holiday and leisure courses, such as horse-riding, pottery, etc. Any other studies, such as English language, can only take place at an institution that holds a sponsor license under Tier 4 PBS or which is accredited by the Home Office.

Academic Visitors

Academic visitors consist of advisers, consultants, trainers and so on who are employed abroad by the same company which has the UK branch. This also covers individuals undertaking specific, one-off training or coming to the UK for meetings.

Entertainment Visitors For individuals who intend to visit the UK for a short period of time to take part in cultural activities and events like musical events, charity events and art festivals.
Business Visitors An individual who is employed in another country and wishes to visit the UK for a short period of time and engage in business-related activities is entitled to apply in the capacity of a business visitor.
Child Visitors All children wishing to visit the UK must apply for a visitor visa. The applicant must be under the age of 18 years and is permitted to visit the UK for a period of 6 months. This can be extended to 12 months if a child has entry clearance and is accompanied by an academic visitor.
Visitors for Private Medical Treatment A large number of visitors come to the UK for the sole purpose of having medical treatment, and are entitled to stay for a limited period of time. People coming on this visa require sufficient funds to financially support accommodate and pay for the medical treatment without any recourse to public funds. All arrangements should be made for the consultation or treatment.
Special Visitors This category is reserved for special visitors, such as visitors intending to marry or undertake a civil partnership ceremony in the UK or parents of a child at school in the UK.

How to Extend a Short Stay Visa in the UK

If you apply for a short stay visa, you can stay in the UK for a maximum period of six months as a general visitor. However, it is possible to apply for a tourist or visit visa extension.

If your visa has been granted for a period of less than six months, you can apply for an extension of visa. This can be for a maximum of six months in total - i.e. including the period already spent in the UK.

No extension can be granted beyond the prescribed period of 6 months in any case and the visitor is required to leave the UK on expiry of the visa. Any period of stay beyond 6 months is illegal and the visitor will be considered as an "over stayer". This will have an adverse impact on your immigration record and may affect any future UK immigration applications. It may even result in you being banned from re-entering the UK for a certain period of time.

Do you need to apply for a UK Visitor or Tourist Visa?
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We specialise exclusively in UK Immigration and Nationality Law. We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner(OISC). We provide immigration services to clients from worldwide. Immigration law is complex and with the rules constantly changing we strongly recommend that you use specialists to support and represent you from the start. Call us now for an honest opinion of your case, possible costs and options.

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