Visit Visas

Short stays in the UK

A Visit Visa allows you to spend up to six months in the UK. There are strict conditions on your stay. You can get a single Visit Visa or a Multiple Entry Visit Visa valid for two, five or ten years.

Not every nationality needs a Visit Visa to come to the UK for tourism or to visit family.   EU countries, The United States and Brazil, for example, have arrangements with the UK that allows their citizens to enter the UK without a Visa obtained before they travel - but only for leisure purposes and for a maximum of six months.

People from most countries, however, will need a Visit Visa before they travel.

Standard Visit Visa

Here is what you can do on a Standard Visit Visa:

  • for leisure, for example on holiday or to see your family and friends
  • for certain business activities, or to take part in sports or creative events
  • any another reason, for example to receive private medical treatment
  • study for up to 30 days, as long as it is not the main reason for the visit

You cannot:

  • work, volunteer or marry in the UK while on a Standard Visit Visa
  • 'switch' to other types of more long-term visas, unless there are exceptional circumstances
  • extend your Visit Visa unless there are exceptional circumstances

The multi-entry Visit Visas are for those who can show they have a good reason to visit the UK regularly. Again, no single visit must last longer than 6 months.

You can stay for up to 12 months if you are an academic on sabbatical for research or if you are here for private medical treatment.

Marriage Visa 

This is for those who wish to visit the UK to marry or give notice of marriage and then return to their home country. It is not a long term visa application. You do not need a Marriage Visit Visa to convert a civil partnership to a marriage - you just need a Standard Visit Visa.

Working with us on your Visit Visa Application

Let's be frank - there are certain nationalities that find it difficult to obtain Visit Visas. Research - and our experience - shows this. The Home Office suspect that visitors from certain countries will not return to their home country and that they intend to stay illegally in the UK beyond the 6 month expiry date. People from many countries in Africa, for example, often struggle to obtain Visit Visas.

There are essentially two things to prove when applying for a Visit Visa:

  1. You are going to return to your home country at the end of your visit. It is essential that you show that you have perhaps a job, family, property, or study that indicates you will return.
  2. You have enough money to fund your trip - both your return journey and your expenses and accommodation in the UK. Either you or someone in the UK can fund your trip but we recommend both provide evidence that there is plenty of money and accommodation available to you when you come here.

If you are coming for business activities, for example as a prospective entrepreneur, you will need to provide evidence of this.

The requirements above mean that you will need to find detailed and genuine evidence - perhaps bank statements, property deeds, college letters, employer letters and payslips. Even the best evidence applications can fail if the Home Office decide one single detail is questionable.

How does the process of applying for a Visit Visa work?

Come and see us to discuss who wants to visit, when, how they will fund the trip and what their situation is in the home country. We can then advise initially and you can decide whether you wish to use our services.

If you instruct us, we will list the documents we need from you and other involved people. We will put together and submit the online form, write a legal letter to convince the Home Office that the applicant should be granted a Visit Visa, and submit the relevant evidence. The visitor will need to attend a Visa Application Centre in their home country to register their fingerprints and a photo and to present their passport. The decision takes about three weeks after this appointment.

"These three women are amazing and extremely friendly. They will not give you false hope, many a time I was told they won't take on a case unless they are confident about the outcome."

Maria Ag

Unlike most of our other work which is charged on a fixed fee basis, we charge an hourly rate for Visit Visa applications. This is because it can be difficult to assess how much work will be involved for us. Visit Visa applications can vary greatly depending on who wants to visit and from where. We will give you an estimate of our fees and let you know if and when we are approaching that estimate.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I apply for a Visit Visa?  How long does the process take?

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you wish to travel. Once you have applied, the decision takes about 3 weeks.

My mother's Visit Visa has just been refused. What can I do?

It depends on why it was refused. There is no right of appeal against a Visit Visa refusal unless human rights are involved - but we can look at your case and see if there are human rights involved.

We have found other ways to successfully challenge badly reasoned refusals - this is quicker than an appeal. And, if your mother was refused for reasons that can be put right, we might recommend applying again.

I want to live in the UK with my civil partner. Can I just come and go on a Visit Visa?

No. The Home Office will look at your pattern of travel and, if they think you are living permanently in the UK using Visit Visas, they will refuse the next one. It is better to obtain a longer term visa such as permission to enter as a partner than risk refusals.

  • Sallie was an amazing help and supported us through the full process. It was extremely difficult for us, and she helped make the whole thing very simple and ensured our application was successful. Thank you to Sallie and the team for the work you did tirelessly to help us.
  • For almost a year I had tried to get my wife's spousal visa. Two tries, two fails due to technical reasons. I contacted Immigration Legal Services, and Sallie & Angela took control of my wife's visa application. They were very supportive, told us exactly which documents were needed, and just over a month later, the visa was issued. We can't thank them enough.
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