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For those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who wish to travel to the UK for a short period as a visitor, for example as a tourist, to carry out business activities or to visit friends or family, a visa application will need to be made to enable them to enter the country.

Wilford Smith's team of Immigration Solicitors can provide essential guidance and support when it comes to making an application for a visa to travel to the UK. Our Immigration Lawyers can provide you with clear, simple, step-by-step advice to make sure you satisfy all UK Visa Immigration (UKVI) requirements so that your application is completed as quickly and straightforwardly as possible. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

What type of visa is required to travel to the UK as a visitor?

Those travelling to the UK as a visitor will need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. Following changes to the law, the Standard Visitor Visa replaced a range of other visas that were previously required to enter the UK. As of April 2015, the Standard Visitor Visa has replaced the following visas:

  • General Visitor Visa
  • Family Visitor Visa
  • Child Visitor Visa
  • Business Visitor Visa – this visa previously covered travelling academics, doctors and dentists
  • Sports Visitor Visa
  • Entertainer Visitor Visa
  • Prospective Entrepreneur Visa
  • Private Medical Treatment Visitor Visa
  • Approved Destination Status (ADS) Visa

How long does a Standard Visitor Visa allow an individual to stay in the UK for?

A Standard Visitor Visa will usually be issued for six months, however in some cases it may be possible to extend this. An extension may be granted in the following circumstances:

  • If you can show that you need to visit the UK regularly for a period longer than six months
  • If you are carrying out academic research in the UK – you may then be granted a visa for up to 12 months
  • If you are coming to the UK to receive private medical treatment – you may then be granted a visa for up to 11 months
  • On compassionate grounds – for example, due to the illness of a close relative

In other circumstances, you may only be permitted to stay in the UK for a shorter period:

  • If you are visiting the UK under the Approved Destination Status Agreement (ADS Agreement) – your visitor visa may be granted for up to 30 days
  • If you are making a Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visit – those travelling on a PPE visa can remain in the country for up to 30 days

It is important to note that it is very rare to be able to change your visitor visa to another type of visa once you are in the UK. Therefore, it is vital that you apply for the most appropriate visa in the first place. If you are unsure which visa is right for your circumstances, please contact us for advice.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Standard Visitor Visa?

You will be able to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa if you are travelling to the UK for one of the following purposes:

  • For leisure – for example, to visit friends or family or on holiday
  • For business – this includes taking part in a sporting or creative event
  • For another reason – for example, to receive medical treatment

As well as being able to show that you are visiting the UK for an approved purpose, you will also be required to prove that:

  • You will leave the UK after your visit
  • You can financially support yourself and any dependent family members during your time in the UK
  • You can pay for your return journey or your onward journey to another country and any associated costs

If you are travelling to the UK for business purposes, you will need to have proof of these and be sure that these are permitted under the Home Office's Visitor Rules.

What documents do I need to provide to enter the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa?

If entering on a Standard Visitor Visa, you will need to provide a current passport or other valid travel ID. You may need to provide additional documents if you are travelling to the UK for one of the following purposes:

  • To receive private medical treatment
  • To apply as an organ donor
  • As an academic for a period longer than 12 months
  • As a prospective entrepreneur
  • If you are in transit to another country outside the UK

For any supporting documents that are not in English or Welsh, a certified translation must be provided.

Contact our Immigration Solicitors in Sheffield and London

Wilford Smith's experienced Immigration Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London, and advise clients throughout England and Wales. Contact one of our Immigration Lawyers today on 01709 828 044.

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