Wed | Jul 27, 2016

What are general visitor requirements for the UK?

Published:Tuesday | January 15, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

There seems to have been some changes to the rules and regulations concerning visitors to the United Kingdom. Can you advise what a general visitor to the United Kingdom would need to consider when applying to go to visit?

Any assistance would help as I plan to visit around July of 2013.


Dear P.D.,

This is indeed a timely question. Usually, the 'general visitor' category is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. To go to the United Kingdom as a general visitor, a person must be able to show that he or she is 18 years or older. That person must also show that he or she intends to visit the United Kingdom for no more than six months, or 12 months if accompanying an academic visitor, and that it is the intention to leave the United Kingdom at the end of the visit.

The applicant should also have enough money to support and accommodate him or herself without working or help from public funds, or show that he or she and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends.

In addition, the person should be able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey, and he or she should not be in transit to a country outside the 'Common Travel Area', that is, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.

The applicant must also be able to show that, during the visit, he or she does not intend to take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, and this also includes the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public; or carry out the activities of a business visitor, a sports visitor or an entertainer visitor.

He or she must also not embark upon a course of study and/or marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or receive private medical treatment.

support documents

The person applying for a visitor's visa to the United Kingdom should understand that certain information and/or documents will be needed to support the application to go to the United Kingdom as a general visitor. The person should provide as much documents with his or her visa application as possible. It is important that the applicant provides as many relevant documents as he or she can to show that he or she qualifies for entry to the United Kingdom. If the applicant's case is not proven, then the authorities may refuse the application.

It is for the applicant to decide which documents will best support the application. The British authorities recommend that the applicant provide documents that contain information about the applicant; his or her finances and employment; accommodation and travel details; and information about his/her visit to the United Kingdom.

I hope that this helps.

Yours truly,

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: