There are several ways of entering the UK as a visitor. For this the applicant needs to show that he/she wants to visit the UK for up to six months, intends to leave the UK at the end of the visit and has sufficient money for maintenance and accommodation in the UK.
Visitors can enter the UK under one of the following categories:
- Business visitor
- General visitor
- Special visitor
The business visitor visa is designed for people entering the UK to do one of the following:
- arrange deals or negotiate or sign trade agreements or contracts;
- undertake fact-finding missions;
- conduct site visits;
- speak at a conference, where this is not a commercial concern;
- represent computer software companies to enter the UK in order to install, debug or enhance their products;
represent foreign manufacturers by coming to service or repair their company’s products;
- interpret or translate for visiting business persons, provided the interpreter/ translator is employed by the overseas company;
- monitor workers;
- attend board meetings in the United Kingdom as Directors, provided they are not employed by a United Kingdom company.
Business visitors need to prove that they are going to stay in the UK for up to six months with an intention of leaving the UK at the end of their visit, have sufficient money to maintain and accommodate themselves without claiming any public funds from the British Government, and do not intend to charge for their services or work or study in the UK. They also need to prove that they have made all necessary return arrangements and that they are based outside of the UK and do not intend to transfer their base to the UK.
Apart from the above, the following categories also fall under the business visitor category:
- representatives of overseas news media: it is necessary to prove that they are employed outside of the UK and are paid overseas and their aim in entering the UK is to gather information for his/her employer;
- film crews on location shoots only: actors, producers, directors and technicians are considered as a part of the film crew; they must be employed and paid by an overseas company outside of the UK;
- medical doctors taking a PLAB test;
- medical doctors coming for clinical attachment or dentists coming for observation;
- academic visitors: they are entitled to enter the UK for up to 12 months subject to entry clearance;
- secondees from overseas companies: this category should not be confused with Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer), as secondees from overseas companies must show that there is a contract with a UK company and that they are paid by the overseas company.
This visa is designed for tourists who enter the UK to visit for up to six months, plan to leave the UK at the end of their visit, have sufficient money to maintain and accommodate themselves without claiming any public funds from the British Government, do not intend to work, study or carry out sport or entertainer visitor activities in the UK. They also need to prove that they have made all necessary return arrangements to leave the UK.
Normally it is possible to obtain a general visitor visa for up to six months.
This is another type of visitor visa. If you want to visit the UK under one of the following categories then you would need to obtain a special visitor visa.
- child visitor;
- student visitor;
- prospective student;
- as a parent of a child at school;
- coming for a private medical treatment;
- visitor in transit;
- coming to marry in the UK;
- sports visitors;
- entertainer visitors.
Special visitor visas can be issued for up to six months but parents accompanying their child at school can obtain this visa for up to 12 months;
Special visitors – Sports visitors
Sports visitor visas are for people entering the UK to attend a specific event, tournament, or series of events as individual competitors or as members of an overseas team (e.g. for a tour). This includes charity events, exhibition matches etc.
Sports visitors can also enter the UK under this visa category if they are an amateur coming to join an amateur team, intending to do personal promotions such as television interviews, negotiating contracts etc., or intending to undertake short-term training. Technical and support staff of the sports person can also obtain this visa if they accompany the sports person.
Special visitors – Entertainer visitors
An entertainer visitor visa is designed for entertainers who are taking part in music competitions, festivals, charity events, etc.
The following types of people can obtain the entertainer visitor visa:
- a musician or singer entering the UK to take part in a music competition;
- a well-known person who has made arrangements to take part in broadcasts or make a public appearance; however, they cannot be paid for this;
- an amateur entertainer who enters the UK to perform in front of an audience either as an individual or as part of a group;
- technical and support staff of amateur or professional entertainers.
Special visitors: Parents of children at school in the UK
Parents of children at school in the UK are entitled to obtain this visa as long as they can prove that they have a child of under 12 years who is attending a private school in the UK and that they are not going to make the UK their main home.
Special visitors: Child visitors
This is also a new visa category and this visa is applicable to child visitors traveling to the UK without an adult.
It is mandatory to prove that there is pre-arranged accommodation for the child in the UK as well as contact details for the child’s parents or guardians overseas.
If the child wants to study in the UK they must obtain a Tier 4 (child student) visa.
Special visitors: Student visitors
The student visitor visa is for those who wish to study in the UK for up to 6 months and who do not intend to work in the UK.
It is necessary to prove that they have been enrolled on a course at an accredited institution that has obtained a Sponsor Licence under the Points Based System.
They also need to prove that they can maintain and accommodate themselves without claiming public funds from the UK Government.