Standard Visitor Visa
5 October 2021
A visitor can enter the United Kingdom (UK) as a ‘Standard Visitor’ for tourism (holiday, seeing family and friends), business activities (attending a meeting, conference, trade fairs or negotiating contracts, providing training), studying (a short course of recreation, English Language, placement), participating in research or taking part in exchange programme as an academic, volunteering with a registered charity, (private) medical treatment or organ donation.
There are other short-term visas which should not be confused with the Standard Visitor Visa. They may be:
- Permitted Paid Engagement Visa (if a UK organization is paying the visitor to visit as an expert in a profession).
- Student Visa (if visitor is planning to study more than Six months and a licensed sponsor offers the course).
- Transit Visa (if the visitor is only passing through the UK to another country).
The visitor must provide the ‘eligibility requirements’ according to the purpose of visit. The visitor cannot work without permission and rely on the public funds (social benefits). The academicians, researchers, senior doctors or dentists, teachers, and clinical practitioners can work temporarily with prior permission and recommendation based on valid offers for roles, but these cannot be permanent positions.
The visitor must have financial arrangements to support all travelling, living in the UK and funding for any other activities or otherwise the visitor’s sponsor must provide all financial arrangements which must be verifiable at any stage of visa process. The visitor must show a genuine intention to leave the UK at the end of visit. If the visitor has planned activities other than family, friends and holiday tourism in the UK, the visitor must show proof of these activities and relevant arrangements to do these activities (for example, business activities). The visitor who is coming to study a short course (within 6 months) must provide ‘offer’ and ‘acceptance’ by an accredited UK institution. It cannot be an academy or state-funded school.
The younger visitor coming for overseas ‘research’, or ‘placement’ must be at least 16 years with proof of age, written permission and consent from parents or guardian if traveling alone and written consent from close relation in the UK who must be taking care of the young visitor with details of relationship with receiving person, living arrangements, or official arrangements of stay with Council information. If traveling with a non-parent adult having separate visa, the young visitor provides details, relationship to one or two adults if traveling with one or both. The visitor ‘enrolment’ in a course at least equivalent to the UK Undergraduate Degree.
For the postgraduate level short term study or research, the visitor may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before starting study, research, or placement. The visitor applying as an ‘academic’ must prove higher expert qualification (e.g., PhD), overseas expert academic standing (e.g., working as an academic in field of expertise in an academic institution) or visiting in formal exchange or conducting research in respective field of expertise and not fulfilling a permanent teaching position.
The visitor who is coming for private medical treatment must have a medical condition that needs consultation or treatment in the UK. The disease must not be a danger to the UK public health (e.g., an infectious disease like leprosy). The consultation and treatment must be pre-arranged. The visitor must have enough money to pay for all traveling, living, consultation, and treatment expenses. The visitor must intend to leave when visa comes to expiry or treatment completes. The visitor who is coming to donate an organ to a family member (sibling or parent), spouse or friend must prove the recipient (donee) is on a legal stay in the UK and matching of organ donation arrangement.
The visitor must provide following documents and information:
- valid passports,
- English translations of documents which are not in English,
- proposed dates of traveling,
- details of stay in the UK during the visit,
- estimated costs of trip,
- present home address in home country and period of stay,
- parents’ details,
- annual income, employer’s details if employed, income and tax details if self-employed,
- details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences,
- past 10 years international travel history,
- spouse or partner’s details,
- sponsor’s details,
- details of family members or friends in the UK the visitor intends to see,
- documents related to any other activities.
The applicant can have a more detailed view of supporting documents here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visitor-visa-guide-to-supporting-documents/guide-to-supporting-documents-visiting-the-uk
The visitor can apply online. The visitor should make traveling arrangements after confirmation of visa. The visitor needs to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre for biometrics (fingerprints and photographs). The visa officer dealing with the application of the visitor visa normally considers two things: suitability and eligibility. The suitability check is most probably deals with criminal record and any earlier breaches of the UK immigration law. The eligibility check is related to the genuine intention of the visitor to visit and return to the home country, financial arrangements, visitor’s personal circumstances and sponsor’s details and arrangements.
Although, an applicant can apply for a 6 months, 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years visit visa, in case the ‘standard visitor visa’ is allowed, it is a maximum six months’ period to visit and return in one go. If the visa officer refuses an application, the visa fee is non-refundable. The refusal decision supplies detailed reasons why the visa officer refused the application. The next options are:
- (Human Rights) Appeal (The UK government withdrew appeal rights of visit visa refusal decision in July 2013. Now, the only appeal choice is valid if the visit visa application has human rights ground in it and the applicant can appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal on human rights grounds. The judge will decide whether the appeal has human rights grounds or not and decide accordingly).
- Judicial Review: The applicant can challenge refusal decision in a Judicial Review where no appeal is involved.