There are many different types of visit visas to the UK, depending upon the purpose of the visit. There are rules relating to general visitors for persons only undertaking a visit and other visitors who are described as special visitors.
They include business visitors, sports visitors, entertainer visitors, child visitors, visitor in transit, visitor for medical treatment, visitors for paid engagement or to discuss setting up a business, and visitors entering the UK to marry or enter into a civil partnership.
All those categories are for persons intending a short-term stay (for up to 6 months), but the limitations on permissible activities under each category may differ slightly.
Choose your type of Visa for travelling to UK:
This is the general category and is used by persons visiting the UK for a holiday or visiting family and friends. To be eligible for admission as a general visitor, a person must show that they:
A recent change to the Immigration Rules has introduced some flexibility for tourists to undertake some study where it is merely incidental to the main purpose of their visit.
Any person who is not a general visitor must enter the UK for a specific purpose as a visitor. Such persons are considered to be special visitors and have their activities limited to the purpose for which they were granted a visa.
To be eligible for admission as a business visitor, an applicant must show that they are a genuine visitor and fulfill the principal requirements of paragraph 41 of the Immigration Rules. In addition they must show that they intend to undertake one or more of the permissible activities stated under the Rules. These include attending meetings, conferences and interviews, attending trade fairs for promotional work only, to arrange deals, negotiate or sign trade agreement or contracts.
A Business visitor may also be an Academic visitor or a visiting professor visiting the UK to undertake research, or as a member of a film crew taking part in a location shoot, or as a representative of an overseas news media. Recent changes to the Immigration Rules now allow a business visitor to undertake a course of study provided it is merely incidental to the main purpose of their visit.
A business visitor may be admitted for up to 6 months with the exception of an Academic visitor who can be admitted for up to 12 months.
In addition to meeting the qualifying requirement under paragraph 41, an applicant under this category must establish that they intend to undertake any of the particular activities specified under paragraphs 46M and 46S of the Rules respectively.
Leave may be granted for up to 6 months.
A person under 18 years of age who wishes to visit the UK must apply for a visa as a child visitor. In addition to meeting the requirement of paragraph 41, an applicant must show that suitable arrangements have been made for the child’s travel to, and reception and care in the UK. He must also show that a parent or guardian in his home country is responsible for his care.
The rules now allow a child visitor to take up studies in the UK at an accredited institution outside the maintained sector.
Leave may be granted for up to 6 months or in the case of a child visitor accompanying an Academic visitor, for up to 12 months.
As well as meeting the qualifying requirements under paragraph 41 (with the necessary modifications), an applicant under this category must fulfill the requirements of paragraph 51-56 of the Rules. They must show that they can support themselves and that their treatment is of a finite duration. Visas are given for treatment of a fixed duration, for example, an operation.
Leave may be granted for up to 6 months with a condition prohibiting employment, but an extension may be granted if the applicant still needs private medical treatment and can provide evidence of that
This is a new category introduced from 6 April 2012. It enables persons to visit the UK as a visiting academic or lecturer, to provide advocacy in a particular area of law or to undertake a prearranged activity in the area of sport, art or entertainment, or to receive payment for their work.
Leave may be granted for up to one month.
In addition to meeting the general qualifying requirement under paragraph 41, a person may be admitted as a student visitor provided that they are genuinely seeking entry as a student visitor for the limited period as stated by them and have been accepted on an approved course of study.
Leave may be granted for up to 6 months, subject to a condition prohibiting employment and recourse to public funds.
Paragraph 56A of the Rules sets out the requirements for the parent of a child at school. The parent must meet all the requirement of paragraph 41, and must in addition show that the child is attending an independent fee paying day school and is under the age of 12. There is an additional requirement of the parent being able to show that they have adequate and reliable funds for maintaining a second home in the UK and must show that they do not intend to make the UK their main home.
Leave may be granted for up to 12 months subject to a condition prohibiting employment and recourse to public funds.
A person seeking entry under this category must fulfill the requirements of paragraph 41 and show an intention to marry or have a civil partnership ceremony or give notice of a marriage or civil partnership within the period for which entry is sought.
Leave may be granted for up to 6 months subject to a condition prohibiting employment, study and recourse to public funds.
The UK requires persons from certain countries to have a visa even though they do not intend to enter the UK, but only to pass through the UK on their way to another country. Those who are only transiting by changing planes will require a Direct Airside Transit Visa. There are however exceptions to the requirement where the passenger holds visas or residence documents for the USA, Canada or an EEA state.
Those seeking to stay in the UK for longer in transit, i.e., to leave the airport, must show that they are traveling to a country outside the common travel area and that they have the means and intention to proceed with their travel.
Leave may be granted for up to 48 hours with a prohibition on employment, study and recourse to public funds.
More info about UK Visas: