Do I Need a Visa to Enter the UK?
You will need to apply for a UK Visa to enter the United Kingdom if you are a foreign national of a visa-required country.
There are many different visa categories, ranging from simple Tourist Visas to long-term work visas such as the Tier 2 (General) Visa.
Every visa has different requirements and eligibility, and you must submit a number of documents with every visa application.
If you would like any information on UK visas, including how to prepare and submit a visa application, please call us now on 0121 667 6530.
Family Visas are for family members of foreign nationals who are living in the UK.
With this visa, family members can enter the UK on the basis of being a family member of a UK resident.
The different family visa categories are as follows:
- Parent of a British national/settled person. You can apply for a family visa if you are the parent of a UK citizen or someone with settled status who is under 18
- Children of a British national/settled person. Applications can be made for children who are under 18 to join their parent/s in the UK if they are a citizen or have settled status
- Care giving. The applicant must be at least 18-years-old and need long-term care from a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter who is living permanently in the UK
- UK Ancestry Visa. This is a visa specifically for Commonwealth citizens or for those who can prove that one of their grandparents was a UK national. This is a five-year visa
- EEA Family Permit. This is a slightly different type of family visa which is designed for family members of EEA nationals
Partner Visas are available to foreign nationals who are married to, engaged with or in a civil partnership with a British national or settled person.
Partner Visas are some of the most popular of all UK Visas. Applicants will need to submit a comprehensive bundle of documents to support their case, and these documents must be in their original form.
There are three UK Partner Visas which are as follows:
- Spouse Visa. Otherwise known as the marriage visa, the Spouse Visa is the most popular UK Visa. It is available to foreign nationals who are married to a British citizen or person with settled status. The visa lasts for 30 months and can be extended too
- Fiance Visa. The Fiance Visa is for foreign nationals who are engaged to a UK citizen or person with settled status. In order to qualify for the visa, the marriage must be conducted in the UK within six months of the date of the application. Failure to meet this necessary requirement will result in automatic deportation
- Civil Partnership Visa. The Civil Partnership Visa is for foreign nationals who are in a same-sex relationship with a UK citizen or person with settled status. The couple will need to prove that they are in a civil partnership or marriage which is recognised under UK law
UK Tier 1 Visas
The Tier 1 Visa is designed for those deemed to be of ‘high value’ such as international entrepreneurs with an approved business idea or investors with significant capital to invest in the UK.
The three Tier 1 Visas are as follows:
- Innovator Visa. The Innovator Visa replaced the old Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. Applicants must have their business idea endorsed by an approved body, and have a capital investment of at least £50,000
- Investor Visa. The Investor Visa is the most exclusive of all the UK Visas. To qualify for this visa, you must have at least £2,000,000 to invest in the UK
- Start-up Visa. The Start-up Visa replaced the old Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. It is designed for new entrepreneurs who wish to set up a first business in the UK.
Also, there are a number of other visas which are commonly associated with the Tier 1 category:
- Entrepreneur Visa. The Entrepreneur Visa went out of operation in April of 2019. However, you can still apply for an extension of this visa if you are currently lawfully living in the UK under an Entrepreneur Visa. It is also possible to switch to this visa from certain other visas
- Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. The Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is another permit which is now out of operation. You can still switch to the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa under certain circumstances
- Global Talent Visa. The Exceptional Talent Visa has also gone out of operation. It was replaced by the Global Talent visa, and the requirements are very similar to the former Exceptional Talent Visa
Tier 2 Visas
UK Tier 2 Visas are for applicants with specialist skills such as accountants, IT professionals and healthcare workers.
The employer of a prospective Tier 2 applicant must hold a certificate of sponsorship in order to employ the Tier 2 worker. A Tier 2 Visa application cannot be completed without an accepted certificate of sponsorship.
The four different visa categories are as follows:
- Tier 2 (General). This is a visa for international applicants who have been offered a job which is on the Shortage Occupation List, or for a position which cannot be filled by the domestic labour workforce
- Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer Visa). The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa is for those who wish to enter into a position in the UK for a multinational company. This visa is only open to existing employees of the company who work abroad. There are two routes, one for long-term staff and one for graduates
- Tier 2 (Sportsperson). This is a visa for international recognised athletes and qualified coaches. The role of the applicant must be endorsed by the sport’s governing body
- Tier 2 (Minister of Religion). This Tier 2 visa is for religious workers and missionaries who wish to undertake employment with a faith community based in the UK
All of the Tier 2 Visas can be extended, as long as holder of the visa applies for an extension before their current visa expires.
We are a highly experienced immigration law firm and have dealt with countless Tier 2 Visa applications. For comprehensive guidance on Tier 2 Visas, and the particularities of each one, please contact us now on 0121 667 6530.
Tier 4 Student Visas
Tier 4 Student Visas are for international students who wish to undertake studies in the UK at a school, college or university.
In order to be eligible, applicants must hold a Confirmation of Acceptance Studies (CAS) from a UK educational institution.
The three student visas are as follows:
- Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. This is the main student visa for those who are at least 18 years old. Applicants must have been offered a place at a UK educational institution
- Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa. This visa is for children who are under 18 years old. Applicants who are 17 are permitted to work for up to 10 hours per week
- Short-term Study Visa. This is a permit for those who wish to visit the UK for a short period of time, typically between 6 and 11 months. Applicants must have been offered a place on a training course in order to be eligible
Tier 5 UK Visas (Temporary Workers)
The UK Tier 5 Visas are designed for workers taking up temporary jobs in the UK. These visas are not intended for those who wish to remain in the UK for long periods of time.
- Tier 5 Visa (Charity Worker). This visa is specifically for workers who have a voluntary or unpaid job offer in the UK
- Tier 5 Visa (Creative and Sportspersons). This visa is specifically for highly skilled creative workers or sportspersons who have been offered a position to work in the UK
- Tier 5 Visa (International Agreement). This visa is for workers who have been offered a job which is covered by international law. Embassy and diplomatic workers are typically covered by this visa
- Tier 5 Visa (Youth Mobility Scheme). The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa enables international workers 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. This permit is only available to those aged between 18 and 30
Do you Need Some Advice on UK Visas?
We are a team of highly skilled immigration lawyers in Birmingham with a wealth of experience.
If you need any assistance with UK visas, we can help. We have immigration lawyers in Birmingham and throughout the UK to assist with any immigration query you might have.
We offer a specialist, industry-leading advice package to those who are looking for a bespoke service. With our advice package, you will be paired with an immigration lawyer who suits your needs.
Your caseworker will analyse your case and explore the options available to you, deciding on the one most appropriate for your needs. They will advise you on each step of the process, providing you with the understanding and knowledge you need.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 for further information about our specialist advice package.
Do you Need Help with a Visa Application?
One of the services we offer is a specialist visa application package. This is a comprehensive service which covers the entire application process.
An immigration lawyer will work with you closely through every step of the application process. They will ascertain the documents which you require for the specific visa application, whilst ensuring that the documents adhere to the strict Home Office administrative standards.
Your immigration caseworker will complete all the forms of the application on your behalf, along with a detailed cover letter to support your case, before submitting it to the Home Office. Also, they will liaise with the Home Office after the application has been submitted.
Simply put, with our expertise your chances of receiving a successful outcome on your visa application is maximised.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 for further information about our visa application service.
UK Visitor Visas
The United Kingdom attracts numerous tourists and visitors every year from across the globe.
You can apply for a visitor visa for many different reasons, but you must prove that the reason is a genuine one. Another key requirement is to be able to show that you are obligated to return to your home country.
The three main types of visitor visas are as follows:
- Standard Visitor Visa. This visa is the most common visitor visa. This is the visa to apply for if you want to visit the UK as a tourist, as well as to visit family and to receive medical treatment
- Visitors in Transit. This visa is for tourists who are in transit, passing through the UK. It is for those who wish to leave the airport when they are in the UK
- Permitted Paid Engagement Visa. This is for individuals who have been invited to the UK on the basis of their professional expertise. Performers, academics and journalists are just some of those who can apply for this visa
Other UK Visit Visas
The aforementioned visas are the ones most commonly associated with UK visitor visas.
However, there are three other visas which fall under this category:
- Marriage Visitor Visa. This visa is designed for those who wish to travel to the UK to get married. You must be able to prove that you will get married in the UK and return to your home country. In comparison to the similar Fiance Visa, the Marriage Visitor Visa is for those who wish to enter the UK for a short period of time, and solely for the purpose of getting married
- Business Visitor Visa. The Business Visitor Visa is for individuals who want to travel to the UK for business purposes, including to attend meetings. One important condition of this visa is that you cannot work or run a business whilst you are in the UK
- Short-term Study Visa. As explained above, the Short-term Study Visa is for people who wish to visit the UK for a short period of time to study
Can I Extend my Visa?
Many UK visas can be extended if a person wishes to stay in the UK for a longer period of time. Visa extensions can be the key steppingstone towards receiving permanent residence status in the United Kingdom.
If you do wish to extend your visa, you must do so before your current visa expires. You will also need to prove that you have lived in accordance with the conditions of your visa, and that your circumstances haven’t significantly changed.
UK Family Visa Extensions
Family visas can be extended for a further two and a half years. This means that at the expiration date of your visa extension, you will have lawfully lived in the UK for five years.
Five years of residence is the minimum residency qualifying period you need to meet in order to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. You will have official settled status in the UK if your ILR application is accepted.
Work/Student Visa Extensions
You can apply for a visa extension with all Tier 1 and Tier 2 Visas. The specific extension period for visas under these categories depends on the particular visa you are extending.
Extensions of these visas will count towards residency requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain and British citizenship.
However, Tier 4 and Tier 5 Visas cannot be extended. Tier 4 and Tier 5 Visa holders will need to switch to another visa if they wish to extend their time in the UK.
UK Settlement Applications
Generally speaking, all foreign nationals must have spent at least five years of residence in the UK to be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
In certain cases, individuals will be able to apply for settled status after three years of residence in the UK, such as those living in the UK under Investor Visas.
Those who hold ILR can study, work and run a business without holding a visa.
Some of the key ILR requirements which applicants need to fulfil are as follows:
- Lawfully lived in the UK for a continuous period of at least five years (in certain cases three years)
- Able to prove that they meet a certain standard of English
- Absences from the UK which don’t exceed 180 days in a 12-month period
- Must pass the Life in the UK test
After foreign nationals have lived under ILR for one year, they will be eligible to apply for British citizenship by naturalisation, the final step of the immigration journey.
In order to be eligible for British citizenship (and ILR), you must have lived in the UK in accordance with the rules of your visa and your circumstances mustn’t have changed significantly.
One of the key requirements for British citizenship is that you are of good character. Anyone who has got a serious criminal record or has been in breach of any immigration rule, will not be eligible for British citizenship.
After someone receives British citizenship, they will be able to apply of a British passport and enjoy the full benefits of British citizenship.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
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During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
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With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
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Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
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By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
If you are a foreign national of an EEA country, Switzerland and a select group of non-visa required countries, which includes many Commonwealth countries, you will not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom.
However, citizens of all other countries will need to apply for a visa. The particular visa you need to apply for depends on the purpose of your visit.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 to speak with one of our expert immigration lawyers about UK visas.
If you are a British citizen or a settled person, you will be able to apply for certain family members to join you in the UK under a Family Visa. This includes your spouse, partner or civil partner, a minor child and a person who requires long-term, significant care.
It is also possible for your family members to join you in the UK if they hold a Tier 1, 2, 4 or 5 visa. This is known as the PBS dependent route.
Dependents can join their family in the UK through this route in the following circumstances:
- Those with a direct family relation to anyone who holds, or is applying for, a Tier 1, 2, 4 or 5 Visa
- The spouse, fiancé or civil partner of a person who has settled in the UK after holding a PBS Visa for a qualifying period
- A minor child of a person who holds a UK national or holds ILR and first entered the country on a PBS Visa
PBS dependents can work in the UK without restrictions. However, if they wish to study in the UK, they must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate.
All UK Visas will expire after a certain period of time, and that expiry date depends on the particular visa category.
Many UK Visas can be extended should you wish to remain in the UK for longer. It is extremely important for you to know when your visa expires, as visa extension applications must be submitted before the original visa expires.
If you overstay your permission in the UK, you could face severe consequences including removal from the UK and face being unable to return to the country for a lengthy period of time.
You may wish to speak to an immigration law expert if your visa is due to expire soon. One of our immigration lawyers in Birmingham are at hand should you need any assistance.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 for more information.
We recommend that you submit your visa application no sooner than 90 before you intend to arrive in the UK.
The very latest you can submit your application is 15 working days before you visit the UK.
The processing time depends on the visa category or status you are applying for as well as the nature of your particular circumstances and application.
For instance, immigration officials may request further information if they have any concerns with your application, which will delay the processing time.
Generally speaking, the Home Office will process visa applications within eight weeks of the date it is received.
The Home Office offers a priority service for those who would like a quick decision on their application.
With the priority service your application will be processed within five working days at an additional cost of £500.
The super priority service costs an additional £800 and with this service, your application will be processed within one working day.
If your application is time sensitive, the priority service is a great option. We offer a premium Fast Track service. Get in touch with one of our immigration law specialists in Birmingham to find out how we can help you on 0121 667 6530.
- Tier 1 Investor: £1,623
- Tier 1 Innovator: £1,021 – £1,277
- Tier 2 Work Visa: £610 – £704
- Tier 4 Student Visa: £348
- Tier 5 Temporary Work Visa: £244
- Spouse/Partner Visa: £1,033- £1,523
- Fiancé Visa: £1,033- £1,523
- Ancestry Visa: £516
- Adult Dependent: £3,250
- Child Dependent: Usually equal to the cost of sponsoring visa
- Visit Visa: £361 – £822
This depends on the visa which a person is living under.
Tier 2 Visa holders will be able to stay in the UK for between 3-5 years, whereas temporary visas last for no longer than 24 months.
Family visas, such as the Spouse Visa, enable a person to live in the UK for 2 and a half years.
Your visa refusal letter will highlight the reasons why your visa was rejected, and whether you can appeal against the decision.
If you decide to lodge an appeal, you can re-submit your application for an administrative review or proceed with a judicial review.
An administrative review means that your application will be reviewed again by a different member of staff. This option is most suitable if you believe that a clear mistake was made in the original application decision.
A judicial review is an entirely different process. With a judicial review your case will be heard by an independent judge who will review the case and decide whether to overturn the Home Office’s decision.
Judicial reviews can usually be lodged on paper or in-person in a court of law in front of the Upper Tribunal.
If you decide to lodge an appeal, we highly recommend that you enlist the services of an experienced immigration law firm.
Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we offer a specialist Appeal package for those who wish to proceed with an appeal. One of our expert immigration law specialists will review your case and advise you on the best course of action to take.
With judicial reviews, your immigration lawyer will offer full legal representation including at the Upper Tribunal, where your case will be heard.
Call us now on 0121 667 6530 for more information on how we can help you with appeals.
If you wish to apply for a Spouse Visa, there are a few fundamental conditions which must be met:
- Must be at least 18-years-old
- Must be legally married to your partner who is a British citizen or has settled status in the UK
- You intend to live with your spouse permanently
- Proof that you meet financial requirements and have enough money to support yourself. Your spouse must have a minimum income of £18,600
- Able to prove that you have at least an A1 level of English
Applicants must provide a comprehensive portfolio of evidence to support their case. Should you need any help with the application process, our Birmingham immigration lawyers can help.
You will be eligible for a visa refund if your application was made from outside the UK and you withdrew your application before it was processed.
However, applications made from inside the UK cannot be refunded, even if the application is withdrawn before it has been processed.
You will need to apply for one of the Tier 1 Visas if you wish to start a business in the UK.
There are currently three Tier 1 Visas:
- Innovator Visa. This visa replaced the Entrepreneur Visa in April of 2019. You must have your business idea approved by an accredited body and have at least £50,000 of funds to invest in your business
- Start-up Visa. This visa replaced the old Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. It is designed for entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in the UK for the first time
- Investor Visa. You must have at least £2,000,000 to invest in the UK
If you wish to enter into the UK as a worker, you will need to apply for one of the Tier 2 visas or a Tier 5 Visa.
Tier 2 Visas are for skilled permanent workers, whereas Tier 5 Visas are for temporary workers.
Some of the requirements for Tier 2 and Tier 5 Visas are:
- A job offer from a UK employer
- A certificate of sponsorship assigned by your sponsoring employer
- Enough money to support yourself when you arrive in the UK
You will be able to work in the UK under a Tier 4 Student Visa, but there are certain restrictions on the type of employment you can undertake.
You will be able to work in most jobs depending on the level of your course and what kind of sponsor you have.
However, you won’t be able to work in certain jobs including as a sports coach or professional sportsperson.
For more information about employment as a foreign student in the UK, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.