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UK Immigration Rules Myth Buster

Westkin Associates – UK Immigration Rules Myth Buster – Visit Visas

In this blog we will clarify some common Immigration law misconceptions as well as debunking some visa myths that are commonly asked by clients.

1. As a Visitor to the UK, how long can I stay?

Firstly the general principle is that a visitor can remain a total of 6 months in the UK in the latest 12 month period. What this means in normal English is that;

a. You do not get a new 6 months right of leave each time you enter

b. You can make multiple trips to the UK as long as those trips do not exceed a total of 6 months

c. The period assessed is always the latest 12 month period, not the current calendar year. So for example if you enter the UK on the 2nd December 2019, then the assessment is made from the 2nd December 2019 the 1st December 2018.

d. if you are a non-visa national such as US National, leaving the UK and obtaining a visit visa does not reset the number of days that you have been in the UK, you would still be subject to the 6 month maximum.

So what do you do if you have spent 6 months in the UK as a visitor already? Well here are your options:

a. You leave the UK for a minimum period of 6 months before you return again as a visitor.

b. You leave the UK and apply for a non-visit visa such as a Tier 2 Work Visa, a Tier 1 Investor visa (sometimes called a Golden Visa) or other available visa categories.

c. You apply for an extension of your visit visa (see more below)

2. How can you extend a UK visit visa?

Extending a UK visit visa is only possible under two grounds; firstly if you are extending on the basis of private medical treatment, meaning that you are under the care of a UK Private hospital and you have the confirmation from a Medical Consultant of your treatment and ability to pay for the care.

Extensions on the basis of Private Medical grounds can be made on a 6 monthly basis.

The other option for extending a visit visa would be for serious compassionate circumstances or matters outside your control. This does not simply mean a set back or a lack of funds but rather a serious matter that would make it unsafe for you to return to your home country or the serious illness or even death of a person you may be travelling with or whom is in your care.

3. What to do if you are denied entry at the border?

If you are a non-visa national, such as a Canadian or US national and you attempt to enter the UK but you are denied entry to the UK at the boarder (eg an airport or the channel crossing) here is what you can do. Firstly stay calm, it may be possible for the border agent to grant you temporary admission for a few days if you can re-assure them that you will leave.

Secondly always remain honest, this is because if the border agent believes that you have lied then there may give you an entry ban.

If the border agent may suspect that you will not leave the UK within the time frame that you have stated for a number of reasons, the most common are; frequent trips to the UK in a short period of time, suggesting that the UK is your home, the expression of having a romantic partner in the UK or lack of evidence of how you will maintain and accommodate yourself during your trip.

As such if you are denied entry at the border because the border agent states he/she doubts your intention to return then here is what you can do.

Firstly insist on paying for your own return flight, having the Home office pick up the bill may result in an ban (something they may not tell you).

When you return to your home country you can make an application for a visit visa, this way you can demonstrate your intention to return by showing documents relating to things like work, family and assets in your home country.

Although a non aggravated denial of entry at the border does not give you a ban it is more than likely that any future attempt to re-enter the UK without a visit visa would result in a denial of entry again, as such it is highly recommend for migrants to apply for a visit visa if they wish to return to the UK.

If you would like to seek further clarification or you would like assistance with a visit visa issue, please contact us for more information.

Westkin Associates


5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
0207 118 4546

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