Tue | May 30, 2017

Would I get a visa to visit my girlfriend?

Published:Tuesday | March 3, 2015 | 3:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

My girlfriend is in the United Kingdom for an extended period of time. However, she is not a British citizen or a permanent resident in the United Kingdom. Will I be able to obtain a visa to visit her?

I am hoping that you will be able to advise me.

P.G.

Dear P.G.,

Persons will be able to apply for a general visitors' visa if they would like to visit friends or family members who are not permanent residents in the United Kingdom.

The applicant will need to apply for a visa at least three months prior to his or her planned date of travel to the United Kingdom and the applicant should expect to get a decision on his or her visa application within three weeks of the date of application. However, the processing time for such a visa may vary from country to country depending on where the applicant is applying from.

If the applicant is successful he or she will be able to stay in the United Kingdom for up to six months with a general visitor visa. A person may also be able to apply for a long-term visit visa if he or she can prove that such a visa is needed to make repeat visits over a longer period. A person can stay for a maximum of six months on each visit and on such a visa which can last for one, two, five or 10 years.

You should be aware that it will cost £83 to apply and long-term visit visa fees are as follows: One year - £300; two years - £300; five years - £544; and 10 years - £737. It should be noted that if the person applying is successful, he or she will be able to go there and study for up to 30 days, as long as it's not the main reason for his or her visit.

However, the applicant will not be allowed to take paid or unpaid work. Also, he or she will not be able to live over there for long periods of time through frequent visits. In addition, he or she will not be able to marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership. The applicant will not be able to get private medical treatment and or get access to public funds.

A person may be eligible to apply for a general visitor visa if he or she is 18 or over; travelling to the United Kingdom for leisure, that is, not work or study. He or she should be able to support them him or her self for the duration of his or her trip. It should be noted that he or she should not be in transit to another country, except for Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands and be able to pay for his or her return or onward journey.

In the case where the applicant is applying for a long-term visitor visa, it must also be proven that he or she has a frequent and ongoing need to go to the United Kingdom and that the reason for the need to go to the United Kingdom is unlikely to change significantly while the visa is valid. In addition, it must be shown that the applicant plans to leave the United Kingdom at the end of each visit. It should be noted that such a visa may be revoked and a long-term ban on visiting imposed if a person's travel history shows he or she repeatedly living in the United Kingdom for extended periods.

When a person makes an application he or she will need to provide a current passport or other valid travel identification and one passport-sized colour photograph and have a leaf in the passport that is blank on both sides for the visa if successful.

Evidence will also need to be provided that he or she is able to support him or her self during the trip. This can be evidenced by bank statements or pay slips for the last 6 months. The applicant will also need to provide details of where he or she intends to stay and his or her travel plans. The British authorities recommend that the applicant should not pay for accommodation or travel until he or she is successful with the application and obtains the visa.

A person will also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh. Please be aware that an applicant may need to provide additional documents depending on his or her circumstances.

If a person is applying for a long-term visit visa then he or she must also provide evidence to show that he or she can support themselves financially for the duration of the visa. A person may be granted a visa for a shorter period than requested if this information is not provided. The applicant will not get a refund of the application fee if he or she is granted a shorter visa or if the application is refused.

When making this application from outside of the United Kingdom, the person must apply online for a general visitor visa and he or she will need to have his or her fingerprints and photograph, known as 'biometric information', taken at a visa application centre as part of the application. Just for completeness, if the application is made within the United Kingdom, then the applicant in effect will be seeking an extension.

Email John Bassie at lawbassie@yahoo.com