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28 May 2020

Do I need a visa to visit the UK?

4 mins

Do I need a visa to visit the UK on holiday?
Nationals of some countries do not have to apply for a  visit visa for the UK before they travel. They are what is known as “non-visa nationals”.  However, applicants from other countries must apply. The list of countries from which an applicant must apply for a visa before they travel if they wish to visit the UK is set out in Appendix 2 of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules. Nationals of all countries must apply for a visit visa in advance of travel in certain circumstances, for instance, if they are visiting the UK in order to marry. 

What do I need to show to be granted a UK visit visa?
There are various requirements for a UK visit visa. These include that you must be a genuine visitor and intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit. You must not intend to work or undertake certain prohibited activities set out in the Immigration Rules. You must have the funds available to cover the costs of your trip, including for accommodation and travel.  An application must be refused if you have certain criminal convictions.  

Will it impact on a UK visit visa application if I have a criminal conviction?
It may do. A visit visa can be refused automatically if the conviction led to a custodial sentence (imprisonment). This will depend on the length of sentence and the time that has passed since you were sentenced. A non-custodial sentence can also lead to a refusal of a visit visa, but will normally have less impact once more than 12 months has passed. 

For how long can I visit the UK on a visit visa?
The maximum length of time a general visit visa will be granted for is 180 days for any one visit.  
You can apply for ‘multiple entry’ visit visas, valid for 2, 5 or 10 years.  These allow you to return to the UK for a visit without having to apply for a new visa each time but each visit will still be limited to 180 days.

Can I extend my visit visa or switch onto another type of visa?
Visit visas are not extendable beyond 6 months other than in very exceptional circumstances, for example where someone has entered the UK as a visitor specifically to receive medical treatment and the treatment has to be extended.
You are not generally allowed to switch onto a different type of visa if you are in the UK as a visitor

I want to visit the UK. Will I be able to work while I am there?
You are not normally allowed to work or receive payment for services while in the UK as a visitor. There are certain very limited exceptions contained in the Immigration Rules. For instance, certain academics and experts may be allowed to visit the UK for up to 4 weeks and be paid if conditions set out in the Immigration Rules are met. 

My UK visit visa has been refused. What can I do?  
You will not normally be able to appeal the decision. You may be able to ask for a review of the decision. If the Home Office continues to refuse the application you may be able to bring a legal challenge called a judicial review claim.  You may be better making a new visit visa application, perfecting any reasons the application was refused. You may want to seek legal advice about best to do this and what evidence will help improve your prospects of success.  

If you have any specific questions around UK visas or immigration please get in touch.

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