The new Visitor Visa system has simplified the system by reducing the 15 types of UK Visitor Visa categories to four. The four categories now consist of:
- Visit (standard) – the standard visa available to tourists;
- Marriage / Civil Partnership Visit – this covers those entering the UK to finalise marriage and civil partnerships;
- Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) Visit – a visa for persons who will be undertaking paid engagements such as theatre appearances, concerts and performing arts;
- Transit Visit – will be for people transits through the UK.
A Short-Term Visit Visa allows you to go to the UK for a maximum of 6 months (or a maximum of 12 months if you are accompanying an academic visitor).
A Long-Term Visit Visa is valid for 1, 2, 5 or 10 years. The application fee is higher than for a short-term visit visa and is granted if:
- You have a frequent on going need to be in the UK.
- You may be given a visa for a shorter period than requested if you don’t do have sufficient motivation to substantiate your application. You won’t get a refund of the application fee if you get a shorter visa or your application is refused.
- Your visa may be cancelled and you may get a long-term ban on visiting if your travel history shows you’re repeatedly living in the UK for extended periods.Processing times
- Most applications are processed within 15 days.
|Number of days to process application||2 days||3 days||5 days||10 days||15 days||30 days||60 days|
|% of applications decided||19%||61%||92%||99%||99%||99%||100%|
Standard Visit Visa
You need to apply for this Visa if you want to visit the UK:
- for leisure, e.g. on holiday or to see your family and friends.
- for business, or to take part in sports or creative events.
- for another reason, e.g. to receive private medical treatment. You can:
What you can and can’t do
- take part in any of the business-related activities mentioned in the Visitor Rules.
- study for up to 30 days, as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit.
- take part in an exchange programme or educational visit (if you’re under 18).
- do paid or unpaid work.
- live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits.
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership.
- get public funds.Eligibility
- You must always show that:
- you’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit.
- you’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip.
- you’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit.
- any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, are allowed by the Visitor Rules.
- the reason why you need to come to the UK is unlikely to change while your visitor visa is valid.
- you plan to leave the UK at the end of each visit.
Marriage / Civil Partnership Visit Visa
You must apply for a Marriage Visitor visa if:
- you want to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK.
- you want to give notice of a marriage or civil partnership in UK.
- you’re not planning to stay or settle in the UK after your marriage or civil partnership.
- you meet the other eligibility requirements.
What you can and can’t do
- use this visa to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the UK:
- within 6 months of your arrival.
- in any location licensed for this purpose.
- get public funds.
- bring in family members (‘dependants’) – they must apply separately.
- live in the UK for extended periods through frequent visits.
- extend your visa or switch to another visa.
- work – except for permitted activities related to your work or business overseas, eg attending meetings.
- do a course of study – except for 30 days of incidental study.
Permitted Paid Engagement Visit Visa
You can apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa if you:
- want to come to the UK to do specific paid work without having to be sponsored under the points-based visa system,
- are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
- meet the other eligibility requirements.You can:
What you can and can’t do
- be a student examiner or assessor;
- take part in selection panels for the education, arts or research organisation you’re invited by as a highly qualified academic;
- give lectures at a higher education institution, as long as it’s not a part-time or full-time role;
- examine UK-based pilots so they meet the standards of the country you come from, by invitation of an approved UK training organisation regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority;
- provide advocacy in a particular area of law;
- take part in arts, entertainment or sporting activities including broadcasting;
- take part in fashion modelling assignments;
- do minor activities related to your work or business overseas, e.g. meetings.
- do specific paid work unrelated to your main job or area of expertise at home or sell merchandise, other than what’s allowed by your visa;
- extend this visa or switch to another visa;
- live in the UK for extended periods;
- get public funds;
- study – except for 30 days of incidental study;
- marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership;
- bring family members (‘dependants’) with you on your application – they must apply separately.
Under certain conditions may need a visa to pass through the UK in transit.
To apply for a transit visa you must be:
- in transit to another country with enough funds and the intention to travel on;
- able to prove you can enter that country;
- able to show that the only purpose of your visit to the UK is transit.
- There are two sub-categories:
· Direct Airside Transit Visa – Not leaving the airport
- Apply for a Direct Airside Transit visa (DATV) if you’ll be changing flights in the UK and won’t be going through UK border control.
- DATVs last for up to 24 hours.
- You can’t apply for this visa if you need to go through immigration (‘cross the border’) e.g. to check in your luggage on to a connecting flight – you need to apply for a Visitor in Transit visa instead.
- You may need a Direct Airside Transit visa (DATV) if you’ll be changing flights in the UK without going through immigration control and you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
· Visitor In Transit Visa – Leaving the airport
- Apply for a Visitor in Transit visa if you’ll be going through UK border control but leaving the UK within 48 hours.
- You can also apply for a long-term Visitor in Transit visa if you can prove you need to frequently pass through the UK multiple times, over a longer period.
You may need a Visitor in Transit visa if you’ll be going through immigration control but leaving the UK within 48 hours and you’re:
- from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland;
- not going to work or study while in the UK.
Children Visiting the UK
The New Immigration Regulation dictate that as from 01 June 2015 children require UNABRIDGED BIRTH CERTIFICATES, along with their passports, when travelling. Should you be travelling with children, please ensure that you apply for these certificates timeously.
SA Travelbug can assist you to obtain these.
The additional visa requirements for children are:
- Adequate arrangements must have been made for their travel to, reception and care in the UK.
- If the applicant is not applying or travelling with a parent or guardian based in their home country or country of ordinary residence who is responsible for their care:
- that parent or guardian must confirm that they consent to the arrangements for the child’s travel to, and reception and care in the UK.
- Where requested, this consent must be given in writing.
- A child who holds a visit visa must either:(b) hold a visit visa which states they are unaccompanied;
- if neither applies, the child may be refused entry unless they meet the requirements of the previous paragraph.
- (a) hold a valid visit visa that states they are accompanied and will be travelling with an adult identified on that visit visa; or
- (b) hold a visit visa which states they are unaccompanied;if neither applies, the child may be refused entry unless they meet the requirements of the previous paragraph.
Visa Application Centre (VAC)
Teleperformance Ltd is the commercial company that works with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to capture your biometrics and accept your Application Form and supporting documents which are then forwarded to the UKVI for consideration.
At an additional cost, Teleperformance offers the following services:
- a Premium Service Package £40 – in the Visa Application Centre for those that would like a higher quality and more personalised service.
- Priority Visa Service £120 (non-settlement applications) – guarantees that your visa application is placed at the front of the processing queue. Under normal circumstances, Priority Visa Service applications will be processed within 5 working days.
- Return Courier Service £9.95 – to have your passport returned to you by express courier once your application has been processed.
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