Visitor’s Visa

Visiting the United Kingdom

Our experienced immigration lawyers are able to assist those interested in visiting the United Kingdom.

There, like many other areas of immigration law, have been considerable changes to the rules governing who can come to the United Kingdom for a visit.

What has not change is the length of immigration visas for visitors. They last 6 months (or occasionally 3 months)

Multiple entry visas are available for certain special visitors for six months, and for longer with the immigration authorities granting visas for 1, 2, 5 and 10 years.

The main categories of immigration visitor are :
· General visitors (including family and tourist visits)
· Private Medical Treatment visitors
· Business visitors
· Special visitors

Immigration Rules for General Visitors

There tend to be two types of people who seek immigration entry as a visitor, family visitors and tourist visas. Both are only allowed to stay in the United Kingdom for a maximum of six months. The main difference is that this as a family visitor you have a right of appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal of the immigration authorities refuse your application.

Special visitors (see below) also a have a right of appeal.

The main requirements to come to United Kingdom as a general visitor are set out below.

You must be able to the immigration authorities that:
· You want to visit the United Kingdom for a maximum of 6 months; and
· That you plan to leave the United Kingdom when your visit ends; and
· That you have enough money in order to pay for your accommodation and
· general upkeep (or that you will be supported by relatives who you also live with.)

That you do not intend to :
· Run a business by charging the public for goods received or for services provided or;
· Undertake a course of study;
· Carry out any other form of business, undertake sport or entertainer visitor activities (for this form of immigration visitor see below)
· To marry or form a civil partnership (for this form of immigration visitor see below)
· Receive private medical treatment during the course of your visit (for this form of immigration visitor see below)

You must also be able to pay for the cost of the return or onward journey to a third country.

If you wish to come to the UK as a general visitor, please contact our experienced immigration lawyers for further detailed advice.

Immigration rules for Private Medical Treatment Visitors

We have particular expertise in cases where private medical treatment is sought by those who are visiting there United Kingdom and are able to liaise directly with your hospital to ensure the correct documentation is received by the immigration authorities on your behalf.

To come to the United Kingdom for medical treatment you must be able to show that:
· you meet the above immigration requirements for permission to enter as a general visitor;
· if suffering you are suffering from a disease that can be caught by others, there is no danger to the health of the general public;
· your course of treatment is for a period of time that is limited or finite, rather than for the rest of your life.
· you have enough money to pay for treatment, and that you have made proper arrangements for that treatment and
· that you can also afford to pay for your upkeep and a place to live with you needing public benefits; and
· you plan to leave the United Kingdom when your treatment ends.

Our specialist immigration lawyers have particular expertise in this area and we are able to:
· Advise on the immigration requirements, evidence needed and the procedure to be adopted for Private Medical treatment visitors;
· Liaise directly with your hospital to ensure that the correct documents and letters of support are received by the immigration authorities, with the correct content and emphasis;
· Advise on appeal prospects of success if your application is refused.

Immigration rules for business visitors

Our experienced immigration lawyers will be able to advise on the requirements for those seeking to enter as a business visitor. As an initial guide, you must be able to show the immigration authorities following:
· That you plan to be in the United Kingdom for no longer than 6 months; and;
· That plan to leave the United Kingdom when the visit is over; and
· You want to visit the United Kingdom for a maximum of 6 months; and
· That you plan to leave the United Kingdom when your visit ends; and
· That you have enough money in order to pay for your accommodation and general upkeep (or that you will be supported by relatives who you also live with.)

There are a list of permissible activities for those who are on business visitor visas. These are activities which the immigration authorities state you must do at least one of, but not go beyond whilst you are here in the United Kingdom. These are:
· Attending meetings and conferences. These can include any conferences, interviewing or meetings, as long as they are business related. So meetings that involve negotiation, signing documents, making deals and other such activities are all permitted.

· Planning and undertaking missions which involve site visits and fact finding

· The delivering and transferring of goods and passengers from outside the United Kingdom. The immigration authorities give the example of lorry drivers and coach drivers; and

· couriers for tour groups, the tour group firm must be based outside the United Kingdom, the courier must intend to seek entry to accompany a tour group;

· speaking and addressing at conferences where the conference is not run as a commercial concern and where the conference is not part of a series of conferences to be addressed by you;

· providing maintenance and other similar services for computer software companies. You must be visiting to install, maintain, debug or upgrade your firm’s products. The current guidance from the immigration authorities draw a distinction between being briefed as to the requirements of a United Kingdom client (this is fine for business visitors) and providing a service involving making detailed assessment of a potential customer’s requirements which they state is consultancy work; in those cases entry under the points-based system is the required course of action.

· Similar to the above, workers for foreign manufacturers can come under the business visa scheme coming to erect and install machinery. This machinery must be too heavy to be delivered in one whole piece;

· Similarly the immigration authorities cite the example of monteurs – workers who are fitters or service persons who are here to undertake specific tasks that can include erecting dismantling, installing, servicing, repairing or advising on the development and up keep of machinery that if foreign made.

· Interpreters are allowed to enter under immigration rules, but must be employed by an overseas company, must be only entering to provide interpreting services and must only be accompanying foreign business visitors.

· There is also a provision for board-level Directors who wish to attend board meetings in the United Kingdom. They can be paid a fee for attending the meeting but they must be employed by an
overseas company.

Others who are business visitors

A wide variety of other industries and purposes are covered by business visitors, if you are in one of the following categories and wish to travel to the United Kingdom as a business visitor, please contact our experienced immigration lawyers.

· Academic visitors (academic visitors, under the immigration rules, can stay here up to 12 months, if more time is needed then that needs to be applied for from outside the United Kingdom). This includes visiting professors accompanying students programmes for study abroad

· Doctors taking the PLAB test at one of the centres in the United Kingdom, PLAB stands for professional and linguistic assessment board.

· Doctors and dentists attending for clinical attachments and observations respectively.

· Film crews on location shoots only, they need to be employed or funded by an overseas company.

· Employees from news media organizations, these organizations need to be based overseas and the employees payment must originate entirely from the overseas organization.

· Religious workers undertaking limited preaching and pastoral work. This must be part of a wider business trip (to attend a meeting or conference, for example), they need to be based abroad and not be taking up an existing post.

· Secondees from overseas companies.

· Interpreters who are being brought to the UK to provide services to organizations based primarily outside the United Kingdom.

· International companies can bring existing foreign based employees to be trained in UK work practices, to trouble shoot, train in company practices or consult, as long as this does not amount to on the job training for a permanent position in the United Kingdom.

As can be seen, business visitor positions are largely to fill as specific one off work or business need. If a wider ranging position is needed, or a longer period is needed, then other parts of the immigration framework, including the points based system, usually Tier 1 should be used. Our experienced immigration lawyers can advise on this.

Other forms of special visitor

· as child visitor;
· for marriage;
· as a parent of a child at school;
· as a student visitor;
· as a prospective student;
· as a visitor in transit.

If you fall into one of the above categories or need further advice, please contact one of our specialist immigration lawyers.