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Visiting the United Kingdom

Our expert immigration specialists are more than ready to advise applicants who wish to come to the UK for visit purposes.

The main categories of immigration visitor are:

  • General visitors (including family and tourist visits)
    · Private Medical Treatment visitors
    · Business visitors
    · Special visitors

Immigration Rules for General Visitors

Typically, we see clients entering the UK as family visitors or as tourists under the general visitor route. Both routes permit the applicant to remain in the UK for up to 6 months. A key legal difference between the two routes is that the family visit visa allows for the right to appeal a refusal decision, where a tourist visa does not.

The main requirements to come to United Kingdom as a general visitor are set out below.

  • The applicant intends to visit the UK for up to 6 months; and
    · The applicant intends to depart from the UK upon the visit; and
    · The applicant has access to sufficient funds in order to pay for suitable accommodation,    general maintenance and a return flight out of the UK.

The applicant will also need to demonstrate that they do not intend to:

  • Do business in the UK
    · Enrol on a long term course to study
    · Get married or enter into a legal civil partnership
    · Obtain private medical treatment.

Should you like to speak with one of our specialist lawyers about coming to the UK as a general visitor, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Immigration rules for Private Medical Treatment Visitors

For clients who wish to enter the UK for the purpose of private medical treatment, we assist by contacting the relevant hospitals directly to ensure the right paperwork is gathered before making the submission to the relevant government body.

In order to qualify as a private medical treatment visitor, applicants will need to demonstrate the following:

  • The illness being treated cannot be caught by others, in order words, it cannot be an illness that is contagious to those in the UK.
  • The length of the treatment is for a limited period of time only, as appose to spending an indefinite time in the UK.
  • Applicants will need to show they have sufficient funds for the duration of the visit, as well as covering the costs of the medical treatments and a return flight home.
  • Applicants will also need to show they intend to return to their home country when the treatment is complete.

Our immigration experts have great expertise in this area and we are able to assist with advising on what evidence is required to demonstrate you are a genuine private medical treatment visitor. We can also advise you on the likelihood of success at appeal if the application is refused.

Immigration rules for business visitors

Our experienced immigration specialists will be happy to assist with advising on the requirements for applicants who wish to enter the UK as a business visitor.

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they meet a number of criteria, with a few of the key points as follows:

  • The applicant intends to remain in the UK for less than 6 months
  • The applicant intends to depart the UK once the business trip is over;
  • The applicant will need to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds available in order to cover the costs for suitable accommodation and maintenance.

As a business visitor, the types of work which you can partake in are quite restricted and there is guidance on the types of business activity which you can do.

These are:

  • Attending meetings and conferences. These can include any conferences, interviewing or meetings, as long as they are business related. So meetings that involve negotiation, signing documents, making deals and other such activities are all permitted.
  • Planning and undertaking missions which involve site visits and fact finding
  • The delivering and transferring of goods and passengers from outside the United Kingdom. The immigration authorities give the example of lorry drivers and coach drivers; and
  • couriers for tour groups, the tour group firm must be based outside the United Kingdom, the courier must intend to seek entry to accompany a tour group;
  • speaking and addressing at conferences where the conference is not run as a commercial concern and where the conference is not part of a series of conferences to be addressed by you;
  • providing maintenance and other similar services for computer software companies. You must be visiting to install, maintain, debug or upgrade your firm’s products. The current guidance from the immigration authorities draw a distinction between being briefed as to the requirements of a United Kingdom client (this is fine for business visitors) and providing a service involving making detailed assessment of a potential customer’s requirements which they state is consultancy work; in those cases entry under the points-based system is the required course of action.
  • Similar to the above, workers for foreign manufacturers can come under the business visa scheme coming to erect and install machinery. This machinery must be too heavy to be delivered in one whole piece;
  • Similarly the immigration authorities cite the example of monteurs – workers who are fitters or service persons who are here to undertake specific tasks that can include erecting dismantling, installing, servicing, repairing or advising on the development and up keep of machinery that if foreign made
  • Interpreters are allowed to enter under immigration rules, but must be employed by an overseas company, must be only entering to provide interpreting services and must only be accompanying foreign business visitors.
  • There is also a provision for board-level Directors who wish to attend board meetings in the United Kingdom. They can be paid a fee for attending the meeting but they must be employed by an overseas company.

Other types of business visitors

The business visitor rules are designed to cover a large variety of businesses and within the category, they are split into further sub-categories as follows:

  • Academic visitors (academic visitors, under the immigration rules, can stay here up to 12 months, if more time is needed then that needs to be applied for from outside the United Kingdom).This includes visiting professors accompanying students programmes for study abroad
  • Doctors taking the PLAB test at one of the centres in the United Kingdom, PLAB stands for professional and linguistic assessment board.
  • Doctors and dentists attending for clinical attachments and observations respectively.
  • Film crews on location shoots only, they need to be employed or funded by an overseas company.
  • Employees from news media organizations, these organizations need to be based overseas and the employees payment must originate entirely from the overseas organization.
  • Religious workers undertaking limited preaching and pastoral work. This must be part of a wider business trip (to attend a meeting or conference, for example), they need to be based abroad and not be taking up an existing post.
  • Secondees from overseas companies.
  • Interpreters who are being brought to the UK to provide services to organizations based primarily outside the United Kingdom.
  • International companies can bring existing foreign based employees to be trained in UK work practices, to trouble shoot, train in company practices or consult, as long as this does not amount to on the job training for a permanent position in the United Kingdom.

It is apparent that the business visitor route caters for a range of short-term business needs; however if longer term work-related activity is required in the UK, often Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the Points-Based Systems may be more suitable. In any case, our experienced immigration specialists can advise further.

Other forms of special visitor

  • as child visitor;
    · for marriage;
    · as a parent of a child at school;
    · as a student visitor;
    · as a prospective student;
    · as a visitor in transit.

For further information on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Westkin Associates


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

© 2019 Westkin – London Immigration Lawyers

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