People come to the UK for many different reasons including to visit family or friends, as a tourist, to work or to study, or with the intention of settling here temporarily or permanently. If you are a foreign national under UK Immigration Rules you may need to be granted Entry Clearance from the UK Home Office before you can enter the UK to do these things.
Where you do need Entry Clearance you must make an application to the department of UK Visas and Immigration established at a British Embassy or High Commission in your country of residence prior to travelling.
Our lawyers are experienced in offering Entry Clearance advice, as well as helping many foreign nationals successfully apply for Entry Clearance into the UK. One of our dedicated immigration lawyers can work with you to individually assess which type of Entry Clearance is right for you.
Please see below for more information on the different types of Entry Clearance which can be granted to foreign nationals.
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Visas are for people – referred to as “visa nationals”, whose country of origin is a “visa national country”.
You can find a long list of visa national countries under Appendix A of the Immigration Rules. There are many different categories of visa available including Partner and Family Visas, Tourist or Visitor Visas, Worker and Student Visas, with many applications falling under the five-tier points-based system (Tier 1 Visas through to Tier 5) which forms the backbone of the UK Immigration regime.
These certificates are for people referred to as non-visa nationals. These are nationals of a specific list of non-visa national countries including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
An EEA Family Permit is for family members of EEA (European Economic Area) nationals or Swiss nationals.
An exempt vignette is for people such as diplomats, who are exempt from the requirements of the Immigration Act 1971.
You will not need a visa if you hold a passport issued by the UK or any other country in the EEA or Switzerland. If you are a visa national you will need a visa before you come to the UK. If you are a non-visa national you:
- might not need a visa if you want to come to the UK for up to six months; and
- you will need a visa if you want to come here for more than six months.
If you are a non-European foreign national and simply want to transit through the UK on your way to another country you may not need a visa. If you arrive on a flight and depart on another flight without passing through immigration control, also known as transit airside, you do not need a visa.
You can also transit landside without a visa if you arrive on a flight, pass through immigration control but only remain in the UK for 24 hours (under the transit without visa concession). If you remain for 48 hours you will need a Visitor In-Transit Visa unless you are a non-visa national or hold a travel document issued by the UK government.
For more about the Visitor in Transit Visa
Here at IAS, we can assist with all applications for Entry Clearance to the UK, including any issues arising from a refusal to gain entry.
We understand the stress this can cause as well as how daunting it may seem, so we want to simplify this process for you.
One of our lawyers will work with you to:
- assess your eligibility for Entry Clearance;
- assess whether you need a UK sponsor and make arrangements for this if so;
- perform a full document check to ensure that they are sufficient;
- liaise with you in person, via phone or Skype at a time that suits you;
- prepare a Letter of Representation to accompany your application. This letter details your case and its merits as well as referencing any UK immigration regulations which support your application for Entry Clearance;
- liaise with the Home Office during your application process;
- complete each part of your application form to the best standard.
Contact us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online for Entry Clearance Advice which is tailored to you.