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UK Visa

Get in touch with our team of professional immigration lawyers to explore your options to enter the UK.

Call us on 0330 828 4126 for immediate help & assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.


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    Benefits of Choosing IAS’ Immigration Lawyers

    At IAS, we understand that every case and client is unique, so we provide bespoke assessment and support to each client. With us, you get a dedicated immigration lawyer who is dedicated to ensuring your application is successful. Enjoy the following benefits with IAS:

    Compassionate support from an experienced immigration lawyer dedicated to your success

    Support in gathering supporting documents and completing a high-quality application.

    A personalised Letter of Representation to help compile a compelling case for approval

    Continued support from your lawyer in the event of any complications.

    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

    Services we Provide

    Do I need a Visa to enter the UK?

    Depending on your situation, you may need to send a visa application to visit and enter the UK.

    Each visa category has different eligibility criteria and in some circumstances, applicants are required to have a UK-based sponsor.

    To support your case and demonstrate that you qualify for your desired visa, you must also include an adequate portfolio of documents.

    To learn more about your options to enter the country and how to send your UK visa application, get in touch with our team of professional immigration lawyers on 0333 305 9272.

    Join your Family and Visit the UK

    If you wish to live in the UK for more than 6 months with family members or partners who are British citizens or settled persons, you must send an application for a Family or Partner Visa.

    Family Visas

    To join your family in the UK, you can apply for one of the following Family Visas:

    • Parent of a British national or settled person – You can apply for this permit if your child is under the age of 18, you have an active role in their upbringing and are not the partner of their other parent.
    • Children of a British national or settled person – Only children under the age of 18 can be included in your application as dependants.
    • Adults coming to be cared for by a relative – To be eligible, your designated relative must be a British national or settled person. Furthermore, the applicant must require long-term personal care, which can not be obtained in their home country.
    • UK Ancestry Visa – If you have a British born grandparent, you may be eligible for the ancestry visa.
    • EEA Family Permit –This visa is for those who live outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and want to join their family in the UK within six months from the date of their application.

    Partner Visas

    Partners Visas are available for those who are engaged with, married to, or in a civil partnership with a British national or settled person. Depending on your situation, and if you decide to include your dependents in your form, there may be additional financial and eligibility criteria you will need to meet.

    • Spouse Visa With a Marriage Visa, you can join your partner in the UK for up to 30 months. To be eligible, you must prove that your relationship is genuine and that you meet certain financial requirements.
    • Fiance Visa – The fiance visa is designed for someone who intends to get married in the UK within six months from the date of your application. However, if somebody fails to meet this essential requirement, they will be required to leave the UK at the end of their permitted period of residence in the UK
    • Unmarried Partner Visa – The unmarried partner visa is for couples who have lived together for at least two years but are not married .

    Business Visas

    The UK businesses visas are targeted towards “high-value migrants”, such as international entrepreneur or investors who wish to invest their capital or set up a business in the UK. The business visa categories are as follows:

    • Global Talent Visa -This is for those who work in a specific field (such as science, medicine, engineering, or the arts) and are internationally recognised as leaders in their area of expertise. The minimum points score is 75.
    • Innovator Founder Visa –  This visa is for experienced businesspeople starting a business in the UK who have an endorsement from an approved body.

    UK Skilled Work Visas

    This category of UK visas is suitable for applicants who have been offered a skilled job (such as accountancy, IT, or healthcare) by a UK-based sponsor. The employer must hold a sponsor licence and then issue a certificate of sponsorship to the employee. The Skilled Worker Visa is the main visa for skilled workers, but there are also several different categories of visas available for skilled workers.

    The following are the four different visa categories under the Skilled Worker route:

    • Skilled Worker Visa – This visa is for international workers who have received a job offer from an employer in the UK who holds a sponsor licence. Furthermore, the applicant must meet the other eligibility requirement.
    • Senior or Specialist Worker Visa – This category of UK visas is accessible only for existing employees who work abroad but need to be transferred to a UK branch of their company. This permit is available for both long-term staff and for new graduate trainees.
    • Sportsperson Visa – Internationally established athletes and qualified coaches can apply for this category only if their role is recognised or endorsed by their sport’s governing body.
    • Minister of Religion Visa – This permit is targeted at religious workers and missionaries who need to undertake employment within a faith community based in the UK.

    Study in the UK: Student UK Visas

    Student visas allow international pupils to enter the UK as a student at a school, college or university. To be eligible, applicants must hold a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) at a UK educational institution.

    •  Student Visa – Students aged 18 or over who have been offered a place at a UK educational institution who hold a valid sponsorship licence, can send their visa application.
    • Child Student Visa – This permit is accessible for non-UK students under the age of 18. Applicants over the age of 16 may be allowed to work up to 10 hours per week.
    • Short-Term Study Visa – You can apply for this permit if you wish to visit the UK for a short period and you have been offered a place on a short-term course, such as a training course or an English language course. This visa only lasts between 6 to 11 months.

    Temporary Worker Visas

    Temporary Work Visas are suitable for those who wish to enter the UK for a limited amount of time and do not intend to settle in the country.

    • Charity Worker – This permit is for workers who have an unpaid or voluntary job offer.
    • Creative and Sportspersons –  Only highly skilled creative workers or sportspersons who have been offered a job in the UK can apply for this visa.
    • International Agreement – This visa is for workers who have a job offer that is covered by international law, such as diplomatic or embassy workers.
    • Youth Mobility Scheme Visa – This visa enables international workers aged 18 to 30 and who are nationals of one of the countries listed in the Youth Mobility Scheme, to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.

    UK Visa Application Advice

    Our highly qualified immigration advisors can help you choose the best visa for your case, and evaluate your eligibility and your chances to succeed. Book your first Advice Session with one of our immigration specialists to receive professional guidance.

    Call us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to find out if you qualify for your desired visa.

    UK Visa Application Assistance

    With decades of legal experience and professional expertise, our immigration lawyers are ready to help you and your family enter the UK. Hire one of our experts to process your case, complete and submit your UK visa application form on your behalf, and liaise with the UKVI.

    Call us on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to investigate your options to apply for a UK Visa.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on your UK Visa application.

    Visit the UK

    UK Visitor and Short-Stay Visas allow non-EEA nationals to enter the UK for a short time (up to 6 months) for leisure, medical, artistic works or limited business activities.

    UK Visitor Visas

    To visit the UK for business, leisure or to get private medical treatment, you can apply for a Visitor Visa.

    • Standard Visitor Visa – Standard visit visa is for tourism, business and short study, Under which there are several sub-categories:
      • The Business visitor visa is for activities such as attending conferences, trade fairs or work-related training
      • Visit to Study allows someone to study a short course of up to 6 months with an accredited institution or for research relating to overseas study
      • Academic Visitor allows someone who is a scientist, researcher or academic to come to the UK as part of a formal exchange arrangement or for research
      • A Permitted Paid Engagement visa is for people who are coming to the UK to do a permitted activity and must have a written invitation from a UK-based organisation or client.
      • The Private Medical Treatment visa is for those coming to the UK to receive pre-planned private medical treatment
    • Visitors in transit Visa – Some travellers may need to send a relevant visa application to pass through the UK on their way to another country.

    UK Short-stay Visas

    You can apply for a short-stay visa if you wish to visit for tourism or business for up to 6 months.

    • Short-term Study Visa – You qualify for this visa if you wish to enter the UK to study a short course, or for a short period of research as part of your international degree course.
    • Parent of a Child Visa – This permit is available for applicants whose children attend an independent fee-paying school in the UK.
    • Visitor Visa for Chinese tour groups – This category is reserved for Chinese tour groups of a minimum of 5 people that are organised by an ADS licensed Chinese tour operator.

    If you have any questions about your UK Visa application and eligibility, our team is happy to assist.

    Settle in the UK

    Depending on your current circumstances, you may qualify to settle in the UK after a certain amount of time spent in the country as a lawful resident. For example, if you have lived in the UK on a skilled worker visa, you may be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years.

    With Indefinite Leave to Remain status, you may be able to acquire British Citizenship after a year or sooner depending on the visa you held before you acquired ILR.

    Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

    You will automatically receive your Biometric Residence Permit if you:

    • Are granted permission to stay in the UK for more than 6 months
    • Apply to extend your existing visa for at least 6 more months
    • Apply to settle in the country as a UK national
    • Request to transfer your current permit to a new passport.

    Right of Abode

    Those who hold dual nationality are entitled to include a Right of Abode stamp in their foreign passport to enter the UK freely. You can also apply if you are:

    • A Commonwealth national whose parents were born as British citizens
    • A Commonwealth woman married to a British national on or before 1st January 1983.

    However, please note that the eligibility requirements and process are complex – it’s more than meeting the above two points.

    Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)

    As a general rule, you must have spent at least five years in the UK before you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. How long you must have spent in the UK depends on the visa you hold and how long you have lived in the UK on that visa or other permits.

    Once you settle in the UK, you will no longer be subjected to any immigration-related restrictions. You will be free to visit, work and study in the UK, and to travel abroad and re-enter the UK without the need to apply for a visa.

    On the other hand, if you spend more than two years abroad, you will lose your permanent residence status.

    Holding Indefinite Leave to Remain is a mandatory preliminary requirement before you can apply for British citizenship.

    UK Citizenship and Naturalisation

    You can naturalise as a British citizen after five years of lawful residence in the UK.

    Once you get Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, you may be eligible for British nationality after a further 12-month period or sooner, depending on the visa you held previously and how long you have lived in the UK. Before you send your request to naturalise as a UK national, you must also meet specific requirements, such as:

    • Demonstrate your adequate knowledge of the English language
    • Pass the Life in the UK Test to prove your commitment to British customs
    • Be of good character, meaning that you must not hold any severe criminal record nor having lived in the UK in breach of any immigration rule
    • Not have spent more than 450 days outside the UK during your qualifying period

    Since British naturalisation is a complicated process that requires someone to send a strong portfolio of documents and evidence to the UKVI, it is always advisable to seek guidance from an expert immigration lawyer.

    UK Visa appeal

    We understand the frustration that comes with a UK Visa refusal. However, a refusal does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to come to the UK.

    The UK Visa appeal process means that there are routes available for individuals who wish to challenge the decision.

    In the past, there were broader rights of appeal against immigration or visa decisions, but this has changed to primarily rights of administrative review of the decision.

    The right to appeal a UK Visa decision is primarily limited to grounds of human rights. The complexity of immigration law means that it is strongly recommended to work with a specialist immigration solicitor if you wish to appeal a UK Visa decision.

    Other reasons why an appeal may proceed to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber include:

    • The decision is not compatible with immigration rules
    • The decision breaches the Race and Religion Act, Section 19B
    • The decision breaches the applicant’s rights under the Community Treaties because of their relation to an EEA national family member
    • The decision breaches some other law, apart from an immigration law
    • That the decision should have been made differently compared to how the decision maker made the legal judgement
    • The decision would result in the applicant’s human rights under the Refugee Convention and Human Rights Act being breached if the individual was removed from the UK

    How to appeal UK Visa refusals

    It is important to act quickly if you are unhappy with the outcome of an immigration decision. The deadlines include 14 calendar days for individuals who apply within the UK, or 28 days if they apply outside the UK.

    However, some visa refusals come with no right to appeal. In cases like this, pre-action protocol for judicial review may be your next best option. This is not right for every case – it is important that you discuss with a lawyer to understand if this option is available to you.

    Due to the nature of the UK’s legal landscape when it comes to immigration law, working with an experienced legal adviser may give you a better chance of a successful outcome.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Not all travellers who wish to visit the UK are required to apply for a visa. The following categories do not need to submit their application to the UKVI:

    • European citizens
    • Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA)
    • Commonwealth citizens
    • Those who already hold settled status in the UK
    • Returning residents (holding Indefinite Leave to Remain)
    • Citizens of countries not listed on the Visa Nationals list

    If you are unsure whether you need a visa to visit the UK, you can ask for the advice of one of IAS’ professional lawyers.

    It is essential to apply for the most appropriate visa category to your personal circumstances. For example, if you have children, you must include them in your form.

    If you fail to individuate the visa you need to apply for, or if you don’t meet the relevant requirements, your application will be refused. This will translate into a loss of money and time. If your case is refused, your application fee will not be refunded.

    Submitting the wrong form can also lead to complications or delays with your case. This may compromise your current immigration status, especially if you are trying to extend your existing visa or trying to switch into another category while you are already in the UK.

    UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) has implemented an application system known as Entry Clearance (EC). Under this system, citizens who are non-UK-nationals but who wish to visit and enter the country for different purposes can apply for a visa based on their circumstances.

    This process usually includes an appointment to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photos) to be taken and recorded before they visit the UK.

    If one of your family members is a British citizen or settled person, you can apply for a Family Visa. Otherwise, you may be eligible to enter the UK as a dependent of a work or ancestry visa.

    For immigration purposes, the following categories can be dependents of an eligible visa:

    • The partner (either the spouse, fiancé or civil partner)
    • A minor child (under 18 years old).

    Successful applicants will be granted the right to remain in the UK in line with the expiry date of the PBS holder’s status.

    PBS dependants are allowed to work in the UK. If they wish to study in the country, they may be required to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate, depending on the course.

    The majority of UK Visas will expire after a specific time, that depends on your visa category. The only immigration status that do not need to be extended are ILR and British citizenship.

    If it essential to understand precisely when your visa is going to expire, and when you must submit your extension application. Otherwise, you may risk to overstay your permission, and face severe consequences.

    Do not forget that, once you have submitted your renewal request, you may need to wait up to 8 weeks before you get a decision from the Home Office.

    If your visa is going to expire any time soon and you wish to receive professional advice on how to extend it, our immigration lawyers will be happy to help.

    As a general rule, you should send your application form at most 90 days before your intended date of arrival in the UK.

    The latest you can submit your forms is at most 15 working days before you wish to visit the UK.

    The waiting time for receiving a verdict from the Home Office will depend on the visa category or status you are applying for.

    However, you can receive a faster decision on your case if you choose the Home Office’s priority service. The cost for this service is £500, to be paid in addition to your application fee, and it allows you to receive a decision from the UKVI within 5 working days.

    For a surcharge of £800, you can access to the Home Office’s super-priority service. This will make your final decision available by the end of the next working day (or 2 working days if the day after your UKVCAS appointment is at the weekend.

    Please note that the Home Office priority and super-priority services availability is subject to the visa you applied for and the country from where you applied.

    If your application is time-sensitive and you wish to speed up your application process, IAS offers a premium Fast Track service. Get in touch with our immigration specialists to find out how we can help you submit your forms within any strict deadline.

    Depending on the immigration status you are applying for, you may be required to pay a healthcare surcharge, also known as the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

    You must pay your fee directly when you send your application form online. If you are applying by post, you will need to include your IHS reference number on your forms.

    As soon as you pay the surcharge and your application is granted, you can start using the National Health Service (NHS). However, you will still need to pay for additional services, such as prescriptions, eye tests and dental treatments.

    Certain applications require, among other criteria, specific knowledge of written and spoken English. For example, this condition is mandatory for those applying for a Spouse Visa or who wish to settle in the UK under ILR.

    You can prove your knowledge of the English language by:

    • Providing a valid academic qualification. The UKVI will only accept degrees or other qualifications that were taught or researched in English, and that are recognised by UK ECCTIS.
    • Taking an approved English language test with at least CEFT level A1. Some visa categories require a higher knowledge of the language, especially if you wish to settle in the UK.

    Applicants who are under the age of 18 or over 65, or who have a physical or mental condition, may be exempt from the English language requirement.

    Together with your refusal letter, you will receive from the Home Office further instructions on your right to appeal against its decision.

    If you are not granted the right of appeal, you may be offered the chance for an administrative review.

    You will only have 28 days to send your appeal application if you applied from outside the UK or 14 days if you applied from within the UK. Nevertheless, before you proceed, it is essential to understand the reasons for your refusal, so you can ensure to avoid further mistakes. In the majority of cases, submitting a new application may be less time consuming and cost-effective than appealing against the authorities’ decision.

    Proceeding with an appeal or administrative review case is always complicated. For this reason, you should seek professional legal guidance.

    Call us or enquire online to learn more about our Appeal package and all our bespoke immigration services.

    It is a criminal offence under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971 to overstay your visa. In other words, when your permit expires you must leave the UK within 30 days unless there are reasonable causes to do otherwise.

    If you overstay your visa, you will face long term consequences. For example, if you leave the UK voluntarily after your 30-day period, you may be banned from re-entering the country from one to ten years. You can avoid the ban by leaving the country at your own expense.

    Overstaying your visa will harm any future applications you will make to re-enter and visit the UK. Besides, you will not be considered of good character in any circumstances, and you will thus never be allowed to naturalise as a British citizen.

    Under specific circumstances, you may get a refund for your application if you withdraw your form before your biometrics are collected.

    If you applied from outside the UK, you would need to contact the UKVI. In this case, you will receive a refund only if your application hasn’t been processed yet.

    Applications made from within the UK can be withdrawn by submitting the relevant online form. However, it must be noted that it is not possible to receive a fee refund for applications made in the UK.

    To qualify for a Partner or Marriage Visa, you must satisfy the following conditions:

    • Be at least 18
    • Be legally married to your partner, who must be a British national or settled person
    • Intend to live together with your spouse permanently
    • Prove that you meet specific financial requirements, and have enough money to support yourselves and your dependants without claiming public funds. The minimum income threshold is £18,600, but the required sum may be higher if you wish to include your dependent children in your application
    • Have access to suitable accommodation, that meets the UK living standards
    • Meet the English language requirement

    To receive guidance on how to prepare your application and compile a successful portfolio of documents, call us or get in touch through our live chat.

    UK immigration law states that students must spend at least 15 hours a week in study. However, eligible pupils may be granted the right to work up to 20 hours per week while they study and full-time during the holidays.

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