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UK Visa

UK Visitor or Tourist Visa

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UK Visit Visa Applications

What is a UK Visitor Visa or UK visit 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 or UK visit visa, they must ensure a 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. The only way to challenge a visit visa refusal is through the Judicial Review process. 

UK 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 the UK visit 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. Additionally, you must be able to provide evidence of strong ties and committments to the country of your nationality or residence. 

While on a UK tourist visa or UK visit 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 a visit to the UK has expired.

UK Visit 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.

Please note - every category have their separate requirements and the applicant also needs to fulfil general UK visit visa requirements. 

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 the 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 the 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 who are highly qualified in their field and are coming for a work exchange, for research etc can apply under this route. You will be granted visa for 12 months and will need a TB test certificate if applying under this route. 

Permitted Paid Engagement  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. You can be paid for your work in the UK under this category and it is generally granted for one month.
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 or performance at an event is entitled to apply in the capacity of a business visitor. 

If you will paid for the work in the UK then you must apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visa. 

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 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, unless there are compassionate and compelling reasons. Any period of stay beyond 6 months is considered as an overstay and the visitor will be considered as an "overstayer". 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.

The only reason for extension can be based on private medical treatment as a visitor or compassionate of compelling circumstances. 

UK Visit Visa Refused

Generally, a UK visitor visa is refused because - 

  • The Entry Clearance Officer is not satisfied with the Balance of Probabilities; 
  • Your financial circumstances are not clear or you have large deposits in your Bank Account; 
  • You have been banned for 10 Years; 
  • Your documents are not found to be genuine or unverifiable; or 
  • Any other reason why the Home Office thinks that you will not leave the UK after the end of your visit

There can be other reasons for refusals, however, in our experience, most of the refusals are based on the fact that the applicant does not meet the requirements under Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. 

If you have been refused then there is no right of appeal stated on the refusal letter. An appeal can still be lodged on the basis of Human Rights - if your Family Visitor Visa is refused and Human Rights were raised at the time of submitting the application. The only other ways are either apply for Judicial Review or Re-Apply. 

We have been able to get a successful outcome on most of our cases with a re-application if the applicant is able to provide the evidence requested. 

If you would like to discuss your UK visit visa refusal Contact Us and we can advise you on how to get achieve successful outcome.   

How We Work

  • We assess your circumstances and provide you a quote for our services; If you want to move ahead -  
  • You pay a 50% deposit of our fee so you never part with all your money;
  • We Provide you with a comprehensive checklist of documents according to your circumstances; 
  • We provide you with templates and approved and accepted by the Home Office; 
  • We advise you on the evidence and process of submitting the application from the country you apply from; 
  • We Review all the evidence and suggest any amendments you may require (and/or We draft letters or templates for you where necessary);
  • We do not leave any scope for refusal of your application - if there is anything which is of concern we point this out to you and help you to remedy the issues;  
  • We fill and prepare the application forms and we always send this for you to review and confirm to avoid any simple mistakes;
  • We prepare and finalise your application for submission and book you an appointment in the country where you provide your biometrics;  
  • We prepare detailed representations for the Home Office or UKV&I in reference to the Immigration Rules (This is when you pay the rest of our 50% fee); and 
  • Should there be a delay beyond the processing timings we will chase the application for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the process take?

A: The current processing time for a visit visa is 3 weeks, however if pay for priority the processing time can take between 5 to 7 working days.

Do I need to take a tuberculosis test?

A: For the purpose of a 6 month visit visa you do not need to take a tuberculosis test, if you intend to spend more than 6 months then you will need to provide a tuberculosis test.

What documents do I need to provide?

A: To satisfy the requirements under Appendix V of the Immigration Rules you will need to provide evidence of your financial, economic, social and proprietary/ monetary ties to your home country.

Can I switch to another visa inside the UK while holding a valid visit visa?

A: Under the Immigration Rules you are unable to switch from a valid visit visa to another visa, as it is not considered as a valid leave to remain, unless there are compassionate and compelling circumstances

Can I work/study with my visit visa?

A: You are only eligible to take recreational studies for upto 30 days. If you want to study for a short course you must apply for a Student Visitor visa or for work apply for a permitted paid engagement visa or a business visitor – for example to perform at an event.

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

Speak to our experts to find out about our fast, friendly and affordable service

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Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.