UK Visitor Visas
Easter is approaching and that brings a flurry of visitor visa enquiries as visitors to the UK plan their Easter breaks. With that in mind, our immigration solicitors answer your questions on the UK visitor visa.
UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors
Do I need a UK visitor visa?
Depending on your nationality, you may need a UK visitor visa if you are planning a trip to the UK. Even if you are a national of a country where a UK visa is not required for a trip of up to 6 months duration it may be advisable to apply for a visitor visa if you have previously been refused UK entry clearance.
If you are from a country where you do not need to apply for a visa to visit the UK you should be aware that you still need to meet the visitor visa requirements to enter the UK and a UK border official has the power to refuse entry clearance.
If you aren’t sure if you need a visitor visa, or if you are concerned about getting entry clearance because of your immigration history, it is best to speak to immigration solicitors about your options. Call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123.
Do I qualify for a visitor visa?
To get a visitor visa you will need to be able to show that:
- You will leave the UK at the end of your visit
- You will not use your visitor visa, or successive visitor visas, to make the UK your home – you must be a ‘genuine visitor’
- You can support yourself whilst you are in the UK
- You will be able to pay for your return airfare or other return travel expenses
- Any business activities you will be doing whilst in the UK are allowed under the immigration rules as permissible activities. For example, you can attend seminars, conferences and training sessions but you cannot carry out work such as direct sales
If you don’t have the money to support yourself or to pay for a return fare out of the UK, you can show that someone else has the means to do this. For example, a close relative living in the UK or a travel companion.
What can you do in the UK while on a visitor visa?
Many people come to the UK to see London and its attractions. Others want to tour the whole of the UK. The visitor visa allows you to do all the usual tourist and leisure activities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. You can also use your visitor visa to:
- Visit friends or stay with family
- Attend a recreational course – for no more than 30 days
- Volunteer with a registered charity - for no more than 30 days
- Take part in an educational exchanges programme
- Conduct business activities provided the activities are on a list of permissible activities published by the Home Office, such as attending a job interview
If you are not sure if a visitor visa is the best visa option for you then talk to our immigration solicitors. For example, if you want to work whilst in the UK a skilled worker visa may be your best visa option, or if you have existing family members in the UK you may qualify for a dependant visa. Call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
Will my visitor visa application be refused?
The Home Office will consider your visitor visa application and look at your:
- Immigration history – this includes your UK immigration history and in other countries
- Financial circumstances
- Personal links to the UK
If you have made several previous visits to the UK of long duration you may need to consider explaining the reason for a further visit. For example, if you are visiting family to attend a funeral after having spent some months in the UK as a relative was terminally ill. The Home Office official will consider your travel history. For example, how long you spend in the UK on each visit and how often you are returning to the UK. That’s why if there are exceptional reasons for an additional visit it is best to include this in your application.
How do I apply for a UK Visitor Visa?
You apply online for a visitor visa and you can ask the Home Office to give you a visitor visa for 6 months or 2.5 years or 10 years. If you get a visitor visa for 2.5 years or 10 years you can only stay 6 months at a time and you cannot use your visitor visa as a means of living in the UK whether or not your visitor visa is for single, dual or multiple entries to the UK.
You will need to provide biometric information as part of your visa application by attending a visa centre to have your photograph and fingerprints taken.
What is the visitor visa application fee?
The Home Office visitor visa application fee is £95 but you may also need to pay an extra fee for the biometric appointment.
Can I appeal if my visitor visa application is refused by the Home Office?
There are several reasons why a visitor visa application may be refused, such as:
- Genuine visitor issues – if the Home Office is not satisfied that you are a genuine visitor
- Your immigration history – for example, if you have been deported from the UK the Home Office will automatically refuse a visitor visa application
- Your record – this could be your history of criminal offending or if it is felt that your entry to the UK on a visitor visa is not conducive to the public good because you are deemed a security risk
There is no right to appeal against a visitor visa refusal but you can apply again for a new visa. However, immigration solicitors warn that the reasons for the refusal must be addressed as otherwise your application will be refused again. For example, if your application was refused because you did not give sufficient evidence that you had the means to pay for your stay or for your return fare you need to provide evidence of savings or a document from a family member saying they are funding the trip and you will not rely on state resources.
If you have had a visitor visa application refused it is best to take specialist immigration legal advice before resubmitting a fresh visa application or applying for an alternative type of visa.
UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors