Fri | Feb 15, 2019

Immigration Corner | Should I apply for a Standard Visitor visa

Published:Tuesday | April 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Passport

Dear Mr Bassie:

I was told that the General Visitor visa has been replaced. I would like to visit the United Kingdom for a vacation. What visa should I apply for?

I would be grateful for any assistance.

- C.J.

Dear C.J.:

The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the General Visitor visa. Persons can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if they want to visit the United Kingdom for leisure, for example, on holiday; or to see family and friends; for business or to take part in sports or creative events; for another reason, for example, to receive private medical treatment.

The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the General Visitor visa and Family Visitor visa; Child Visitor visa; Business Visitor visa (including visas for academics, doctors and dentists); Sports Visitor visa; Entertainer Visitor visa; Prospective Entrepreneur visa; Private Medical Treatment Visitor visa; Approved Destination Status (ADS) visa.

Persons can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if they would like to visit the United Kingdom for business-related activities, for example, they are going to the United Kingdom for a conference, meeting or training; they want to take part in a specific sports-related event; they are an artist, entertainer, or musician and going there to perform; they are academics and are doing research or accompanying students on a study-abroad programme; they are a doctor or dentist and are going to the United Kingdom to take a clinical attachment or observer post; they want to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination; they want to get funding to start, take over, join or run a business in the United Kingdom. Persons should check the Visitor Rules online to find the full list of business-related activities that they can do with a Standard Visitor visa.

 

Visa rules

 

With respect to what persons can and cannot do, they are able to take part in any of the business-related activities mentioned in the Visitor Rules; study for up to 30 days as long as it is not the main reason for the visit; take part in an exchange programme or educational visit if they are under 18 years of age; convert their civil partnership into a marriage; pass through the United Kingdom in transit, on their way to another country.

However, persons cannot do paid or unpaid work; live in the United Kingdom for long periods of time through frequent visits; get public funds; marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership. It is advisable that persons read the guidance online for more information about what they can and cannot do with a Standard Visitor visa.

The earliest that persons can apply is three months before travelling, and they should expect to get a decision on their visa within three weeks. Persons can also check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in the country from where they are applying.

If successful, persons can usually stay in the United Kingdom for up to six months. Persons might be able to stay for longer if they are going to the United Kingdom for private medical treatment for up to 11 months and the fee for this is £179; they are an academic on sabbatical and going to the United Kingdom for research - the applicant, their spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months and the fee for this is £179.

 

Biometric residence

 

If persons are staying in the United Kingdom as an academic or to receive private medical treatment for longer than six months, they must apply for a biometric residence permit. Persons might be able to get a visit visa for up to 30 days if they are a visitor under the ADS Agreement.

If persons need to visit the United Kingdom regularly over a longer period, they can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa that lasts two, five, or 10 years. In such cases, persons can stay for a maximum of six months on each visit. Please note that if persons are under 18 years of age when applying, the long-term Standard Visitor visa will only be valid for up to six months after they turn 18 years of age.

It should be noted that regarding fees, a Standard Visitor visa costs £89, and the fee for a long-term Standard Visitor visa will depend on its length of time: two years - £337; five years - £612; 10 years - £767.

Persons should check if they need this visa if they are from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Their application will not be accepted and they will not get a refund if they have the right of abode in the United Kingdom, for example, they are a British citizen. In such cases, persons will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement instead.

I hope this helps.

John S. Bassie

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:lawbassie@yahoo.com