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UK visit visa applications

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Spring is in the air; thoughts are turning to holidays and spending time with friends and family. However, if you are a global family it is not so easy to keep in touch or to visit a loved one. Many families require a UK standard visitor visa in order to travel to the UK to spend time with relatives or to combine a trip with attending a family or friend’s wedding.

The best London immigration solicitors will tell you that the refusal of a UK visit visa can be devastating to both the applicant and their friends and family in the UK. Not only can the refusal of a visit visa be very frustrating, it can also make family in the UK feel “alien” to the UK because of the perception that their visitors are not welcome in the UK.
top London immigration solicitors emphasise the importance of carefully preparing a visit visa application. It is often assumed that a visit visa application will just go through. However, even if you have not previously been refused a UK standard visitor visa, it is important to carefully prepare the application and submit it with all the necessary supporting paperwork and, where relevant, with an explanatory note to clarify anything that is not clear in the paperwork.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law matters. The Legal 500 recommend OTS Solicitors for Immigration law.
For advice on applying for a standard visitor visa or resubmitting an application or any other aspect of Immigration law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors.

The UK visit visa

The most common visa is the UK standard visitor visa. The visa is designed for people wanting to visit the UK for leisure, tourism or to visit family and friends. The maximum length of the visa is six months. If you need to visit the UK on a regular basis then you should consider the option of a long-term standard visitor visa.

Guide to visit visas

The Home Office has recently published an updated 66-page guide to the visit visa. This guide looks at the application process and the grounds for refusal. The best London immigration solicitors anticipate that the 66-page document, intended for use by Home Office caseworkers, will be turgid reading material for visit visa applicants who just want to know what they need to put in their application to secure a visa and the supporting paperwork they need to provide.
However, in many situations, careful reading of the Home Office guidance is necessary unless an applicant or their family decide to take legal advice from a top London Immigration solicitor on their visit visa application. Sometimes the reason for the visit visa is so important, for example attendance at a family wedding or to help a family member after the birth of a child or after a bereavement, that it pays to take legal advice to secure your visit visa, without having to risk making a repeated application and risk a second refusal.

Visit visa Home Office criteria

The best London immigration solicitors advise that when a Home Office caseworker is looking at a visit visa application they will consider and assess:

• Whether the applicant meets all mandatory checks, including identity and suitability;

• Whether the applicant is a genuine visitor;

• Whether any person providing support to the visit visa applicant is in a genuine relationship with the applicant;

• The purpose of the visit visa applicant’s stay and whether the applicant needs to meet any additional eligibility criteria for the purpose of their visit, for example, if the applicant is travelling to the UK for the purposes of receiving private medical treatment or to carry out a permitted paid engagement.

Visit visas and the genuine visitor test and enquiry

The best London immigration solicitors say that Home Office caseworkers will assess whether the applicant for a visit visa is a “genuine visitor” by firstly assessing whether:

• The applicant will only undertake permitted activities during their stay in the UK;

• The applicant will leave the UK at the end of their visa;

• The applicant will not be using the visa or a series of visas as a back door route to living in the UK;

• The applicant has sufficient money and accommodation for the duration of their visit.

The “genuine visitor” test and the visit visa

When considering if a visit visa applicant is a “genuine visitor” a Home Office caseworker will assess the applicants:
• Genuine intentions to visit;
• Personal circumstances;
• Travel and Immigration history;
• Credibility.
The top London immigration solicitors say that if the Home Office official does not think that the visit visa applicant is a genuine visitor the Home Office guidance states that the visa application should be refused.
When considering an individual’s personal circumstances and travel history a Home Office caseworker will look at:

Immigration record and history of any previous visits to the UK;

• Duration of previous visits and in particular if the duration was longer than stated;

• Personal and economic ties to their country – if an applicant has a home and a job in their country of residence or nationality it is thought that the visitor will be more likely to return to their country;

• The country of residence or nationality and the economic or security or conflict situation in that country. The Home Office caseworker can consider statistical information about Immigration and visa non-compliance of visitors to the UK from the same geographic region.

Tips on securing a visit visa

Some applicants are very surprised when an application for a visit visa is refused. The best London immigration solicitors say that the difference between a refusal and the grant of a visit visa can be down to:

• The quality of the visit visa application;

• Providing an explanation in the application and covering documents for anything that a Home Office caseworker might query, for example, if an applicant made a previous trip to the UK and is making a return trip the repeat visit visa applications might seem reasonable and genuine to a Home Office caseworker if the family reasons of say a family illness followed by return to support a relative through a bereavement are detailed and evidenced;

• The extent of the supporting documents, for example, a letter from an employer stating that the employee has been granted extended holiday leave for the purposes of the planned trip to the UK may give a Home Office official reason to think that the visit visa applicant has strong economic ties to his country of residence or nationality.

Visit visa refusals

If an application for a visit visa is refused, an applicant can make another application for a visit visa or can apply for a judicial review of the Home Office decision.
A judicial review application can only be made if the Home Office decision was illegal, irrational or there was procedural unfairness. On cost and time grounds, a repeat application is normally the cheapest alternative for a standard visitor visa applicant, unless the Home Office reasons for refusal make it clear to a top London Immigration solicitor that any repeat application is also likely to be refused unless there is a judicial review challenge.
The option of making another application for a visit visa is generally the preferred route to follow. However, any second application for a visit visa is, in the opinion of the best London immigration solicitors, likely to be refused unless the second application addresses all the reasons why the first application was refused. Any second application must therefore be carefully prepared and pay attention to the details and supporting paperwork.
When you anticipate you may encounter problems with a visit visa application or after the refusal of an application, you should consider instructing an experienced London Immigration solicitor who is used to submitting visa applications on a daily basis and who knows the extent and quality of the information required by the Home Office to successfully secure the visit visa.

How can OTS Solicitors help?

Central London based OTS Solicitors are specialists in Immigration law matters and are recommended for Immigration law in the Legal 500. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.
The specialist Immigration lawyers are highly experienced in making applications for visit visas in situations where previous visa applications have been refused. The team can also apply to extend visas.
OTS Solicitors are used to dealing with the complex Home Office Immigration Rules and regulations surrounding visit visa applications and extension applications. By using a top London Immigration solicitor to sort out your visit visa or visa extension, you will minimise the stress and the risks of your application being refused.
For more information on applying for a visit visa or to extend a visa or any aspect of personal or business immigration law please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.

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