In 2017, over 2 million visitor visas were granted for people to visit the UK for up to 6 months. Visiting family or friends, to conduct business or a period of study, or for a holiday, a visitor visa is a great way to come to the UK – but the application is not always straightforward, and it’s worth checking through these 8 tips, put together by our team of top immigration solicitors in London.
1. Make sure you need a visit visa to come to the UK
Not everyone needs a visa to visit the UK. Citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area are still free to come to the UK without a visa, although the details of what the position will be once the UK leaves the EU are not yet known.
Even if you aren’t from an EU/EEA country, you may not need a visit visa to come to the UK. If you are a ‘non-visa national’ you can apply for leave to enter the UK once you arrive at the border, rather than having to apply for a visit visa before you travel. The UK Immigration Rules contain a list of visa nationals – people who must apply for a visit visa before traveling to the UK.
2. Check that the reason for your visit falls within the permitted activities under a visit visa
If you are granted a visit visa, you will be allowed to take part in a number of permitted activities while you are in the UK. These are set out in the UK Immigration Rules and cover wide range of activities you might wish to engage in while you’re in the UK.
If you want to do something that is not include in the list of permitted activities, you may need to consider whether you should be applying for a different type of visa. The best Immigration Lawyers in London will be able to advise you further on this.
3. Complete the application process as directed
The relevant section of the UK Immigration Rules (Appendix V) sets out the application process for a visit visa, directing that the application should be completed online unless this is not possible. In those circumstances, the local visa post or application centre will be able to advise on an alternative process. You must be outside the UK to make your application.
You will need to pay a fee, and may be required to provide biometric information, as well as a valid travel document
4. Remember that you can withdraw your application before a decision is made
If you have applied for a visit visa but a decision has not been made, you can withdraw your application. No decision will be made, but the fee you have paid will not be refunded. If you ask for your travel document to be returned before the decision on the visa application has been made, this will be treated as a notice of withdrawal of the visa application.
5. Take care to provide accurate information and genuine documentation
One of the reasons that a visit visa may be refused is if you provide false information or documents. It doesn’t matter if this information or documentation is not actually crucial to the application – if you have submitted information or documents that the Home Office consider to be false, your application will be refused.
6. Be prepared to answer more questions if asked
In addition to the information and documents you may have to supply when you make your application, you may be asked for more information, and even to attend an interview or undergo a medical examination, before your application is considered and you receive a decision. Unless you have a reasonable excuse not to comply with this, your application may be refused.
7. Pay attention to the requirements for the visit visa
Appendix V of the Immigration Rules set out the eligibility requirements for granting a visit visa. One of the key requirements is that you can prove that you are a genuine visitor and are not intending to try and stay in the UK when the visa runs out. The Home Office will also want to be satisfied that you are not trying to use the visit visa route to live in the UK for an extended period of time, or make the UK your home.
8. Consider whether there is something that may complicate your visit visa application
In some cases, it may be worth taking legal advice from a specialist UK immigration lawyer before you submit your application. If you have previously been refused a visit visa (or some other form of UK visa), or you are the subject of a re-entry ban because of an earlier breach of UK Immigration Rules, you should take care that your application puts forward the strongest possible case for your visitor visa. An experienced immigration solicitor can also frame your application to give you the best possible chance of being able to appeal if your visit visa application is refused initially.
As some of the top immigration solicitors in London, OTS Solicitors are well placed to help you with your visit visa application, or to advise and support you with any immigration issue that you may be facing. We are recommended in the Legal 500 for immigration and human rights matters and have an enviable record of achieving the best results for our immigration clients. Call 0203 959 9123 to book an appointment with one of our experienced immigration solicitors.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
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Posted on: Monday, 04 June, 2018