UK visa types and information

A visa in the UK is an authorizing document, which gives the citizens from all around the world the right to enter, temporarily stay, or even live forever within the country’s territory. UK Visas are available under many diverse categories. In this article, we will present a general overview of different types of UK visas, and what you need to know when applying for it.

Who needs a visa in the UK?
Citizens from Switzerland, the European Economic Area, and the commonwealth countries don’t need to have a visa to enter the country. But nationals who are not from these countries do need a visa.

How to apply for a visa?
The application process varies with the type of visa you are seeking. This is especially so if the visa you are applying for belongs to a point-based system category. Though the requirements in each category are the same, their evaluation processes are the one that differs.

When should you apply for a visa?
The most appropriate time to apply for a visa in the UK is three months before the date of your intended visit. The reason being, processing a visa may take up to three weeks, so it’s better that you apply in advance, to allow enough time for it to be processed.

Documents required
Again, the documents required varies with the type of visa being applied for and also the applicant’s nationality

Types of visas in the UK
Bearing in mind that there are several reasons why people want to travel to the UK, the government organized a system where a visitor is given a visa that’s based on the purpose of the visit. The visas include the following;

  • Work visas
  • Study visas
  • Business visas
  • Visitor visas
  • Family visas
  • Transit visas
  • Settlement visas

Work and business visas

This is a visa for people who wish to work and live in the country, either for shorter or even longer periods

  1. Foreigners that are highly qualified;
    1. Tier 1 visa ( for the exceptionally talented individuals
  2. Skilled workers offering their skills in the area of shortage
    1. Tier 2 visa, which is a general visa
    1. Tier 2 visa (intra-company transfer)
    1. Tier 2 visa (sports individuals)
    1. Tier 2 visa (minister of religion)
  3. Youth mobility and also temporary foreign workers
    1. Tier 5 visa (temporary worker)
    1. Tier 5 visa (Youth mobility scheme)
  4. Other;
    1. Turkish worker visa
    1. Exempt vignette visa
    1. Croatian National Registration Certificate
    1. Household Domestic works

For the business visas, they include the following;

  • Tier 1 investor visa
  • Tier 1 entrepreneur visa
  • Tier 1 visa for graduate entrepreneurs
  • Turkish businessperson visa

Student visas

International student looking to study in the UK applies for this particular visa.

  • Tier 4 student visa (child)
  • Tier 4 student visa (general)
  • Short term study visa

Tourist and visiting visas

As you know, the UK is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and also for short and long term visits. The visitor visa is issued for tourism visits, short stays, and other similar purposes. The tourism visa mostly lasts for not more than six months. Also, with this visa, individuals are prohibited from getting a job in the UK.

  • Marriage visitor visa
  • Short-term study visa
  • UK visitor visa
  • Permitted paid engagement visa
  • Parent of a tier 4 student visa (child)

Family visas

As the name suggests, it is issued to family members living in the UK. Also, this visa is for those with family members working and living in the UK, and are looking to join them for a period of more than six months, as their dependents. These people can include spouses, fiancé, partner, proposed civil partner, parents, children, or any other family member

  • UK child visa
  • UK parent visa
  • UK spouse visa

Transit visa

The Transit Visa is for non-EEA foreigners using the UK as a transit country to their destination. The visa offers an opportunity for the holder to apply for a long-term transit visa if he/she can prove that he/she needs to regularly travel through the country to their destination, and is not intending to stay in the country for long or permanently.    
Direct Airside Transit Visa – this one is for those looking to change flights without leaving the airport in the UK.
Visitors in Transit Visa – this one is for foreigners who are planning to leave the airport, through the land using another means of travel. The visa is valid for 4 days.

Refugee visa

This visa is for those people looking to enter the UK, and are held at the border given they had to leave their country as their life was in danger. The application for the refugee visa is done in the UK. This visa is temporary, and the holder uses it until he is not endangered anymore.

UK residence permits
Indefinite leave to remain – also known as a Settlement Permit, it is for those living in the country on a temporary basis but now want to remain in the country permanently. The visa also applies to those who have been living outside the UK and are looking to return to the UK and had lost their passport.

EEA resident permits

  • EEA residence card
  • UK registration certificate-EEA
  • Permanent residence card-EEA
  • EEA family permit (derivative right of residence)
  • EEA family permit (Surinder Singh)
  • EEA family permit (retained right of residence)

​Other resident permits

  • Returning resident visa
  • Residence permit for common
  • Settlement visa
  • Commonwealth residence permit

Immigration Consulting Pro is a London-based law firm. We provide professional legal advisory services on all UK immigration related matters including visas, work permits, citizenship, family reunification, deportation, among others. 

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