Visiting the United Kingdom

General Visitor, or Tourist Visitor, is the most common type of visitor’s visa.  General Visitors are allowed to remain in the UK for a period of up to six months. They have to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves without working or taking recourse to public funds and to cover the cost of their return trip. They also need to demonstrate their intention to return to their country of origin on completion of their visit (this is normally assessed on the basis of the ties with the country of origin, such as close family, property, employment, assets etc).

Visitors are not allowed to undertake any work in the UK, either for an employer or in self-employed capacity, voluntarily or for payment; to use the NHS (other than Accident and Emergency Unit or for treatment of certain infectious diseases) or to have assistance from public funds. A breach of these conditions may lead to cancellation of the visa and a ban from the UK.

This type of visa cannot be extended beyond six months other than in the most exceptional circumstances, such as the illness of a close relative.

Visiting Family Members

Family Visitor’s visa is for those who wish to visit their family in the UK. The requirements for family visitors are the same as General Visitor’s.

It is not unusual for Family Visitor Applications to be particularly rigorously assessed by the Entry Clearance Officer against the requirement to demonstrate the intention to leave the UK on completion of the visit.

UK Visa for parents of a child at school in the UK

We assist with visa applications for parents of children studying in independent fee paying schools in the UK.

The general rule is that parents of a child under 12 years of age who attends a private day school in the UK may apply for entry clearance as visitors in this category. They will need to provide evidence of adequate funds for maintaining a second home in the UK and evidence of ties with their country of origin. They are not allowed to move their principal home to the UK.

This type of Visitor’s Visa may be issued for a maximum of 12 months. Although the visa cannot be extended, the parent may return to the country of origin and re-apply on expiry of the visa.

Visiting the UK: Visitors for Private Medical Treatment

Those seeking to come to the UK for private medical treatment have to meet the general requirements as to maintenance and accommodation and demonstrate that they have made satisfactory arrangements with a registered medical practitioner for the necessary consultation or treatment at their own expense. The required treatment has to be of finite duration and the medical practitioner might be required to indicate its likely duration.

This type of visa can be extended beyond six months where further treatment is required.

Visiting the UK: Entertainer Visitors

This is a route for both professional and amateur entertainers seeking to come to the UK for a not for profit performance, competition, audition, or to take part in a cultural event or a festival. Members of technical or support staff of amateur or professional entertainers, such as make-up artists, personal bodyguards, or press officers, as well as artist managers, choreographers, and stage managers may enter the UK under this category. Entertainer Visitors are not allowed to receive fees and sponsorship, but may receive cash prizes, board, lodging and living expenses.

In some circumstances, Entertainer Visitors may apply to switch in country into Tier 5 of the Points Based System. Further leave to remain is then granted for the period specified by the sponsor, up to a maximum of 12 months.

Visiting the UK: Business Visitors

Business Visitors are those who live and work abroad and visit the UK for a purpose related to their business, employment or professional activity, provided they do not receive any salary from a UK based employer and are not involved in selling goods or services directly to members of the public.

Business Visitors include secondees from overseas companies, where a UK company provides goods or services to the overseas company on a contractual basis and there is no corporate relationship between the two companies. Overseas companies may send their representatives as business visitors to the UK in order to clarify issues, negotiate deals or to facilitate delivery of the contract. In some cases, secondment arrangements can continue legitimately for longer than six months. If so, a multiple entry visa is normally issued to allow for repeated visits.

Board-level Directors may visit the UK as Business Visitors to attend board meetings in the UK provided they are not employed by a UK company.

Other Business Visitors may include advisors, consultants and trainers employed by an overseas company who are coming to provide consultancy services to the company’s UK branch. Importantly, these visitors cannot be directly involved in producing goods or services on behalf of the UK branch.

To speak to an experienced immigration solicitor, please contact us.

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