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September 18, 2022

Types of UK Visitor Visas & How To Choose The Right Visa – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our series on the UK’s Visitor visa.

If you are planning on visiting the UK, you may have to apply for a visitor visa. This will entirely depend on your nationality. UK law dictates that nationals of certain countries apply for a visitor visa prior to visiting the UK, whereas others can travel to the UK and apply as visitors at the UK border.

In some circumstances, where non-visa nationals (those who do not require a visa in advance of travelling to the UK) have a complicated immigration history, they may want to apply for a visitor visa in advance of coming to the UK to gain clarity on whether they will be permitted entry.

The UK imposes accountability on carriers such as airlines, if they carry visa nationals for example, individuals who require a visa in advance of travelling to the UK who do not hold the required visa. In such circumstances, those who require visas to visit the UK will usually be denied boarding.

As the ETA system arrives in 2024, the UK visitor visa regime is expected to change.

What is your reason for visiting the UK?

A Standard Visitor visa is for individuals who want to visit the UK for up to 6 months with the intent of tourism, visiting friends or family, or volunteering for a recognized non-profit organization.

What is the grant duration for a Standard Visitor visa?

When applying for a UK visitor visa, there is a choice of applying for a longer validity / multiple entry visa (i.e. 6 months, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years). The decision on which duration to grant remains completely with the government caseworker, and submitting an application for a longer visa does not imply that the appealed length will automatically be granted.

Apart from the length of the visa issued, the longevity of stay is still limited to 6 months per entry. It is of paramount importance to note that a visitor cannot use this status to live or work in the UK. It is worth taking into account that the more times that you enter the UK as a visitor and the longer you stay on each occasion, the more chances you will be questioned at the border about your activities in the UK.

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