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Immigration Corner | Eligibility for obtaining a Standard Visitors visa

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2019 | 12:12 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

What is the eligibility criteria to obtain a Standard Visitor visa to the United Kingdom?

I look forward to your response.


Dear JL,

To be eligible to obtain Standard Visitor visa persons must always show that they will leave the United Kingdom at the end of the visit and that they are able to support themselves and any dependents for the duration of the trip. They should also be able to pay for their return or onward journey and any other costs relating to the visit. If intended, they should show proof of any business or other activities that they would like to do over there, as allowed by the Visitor Rules.

Persons applying for a long-term Standard Visitor visa must prove that they will only ever need to go to the United Kingdom to visit, for example to go on holiday, see family or attend a meeting and plan to leave there at the end of each visit. Those persons may be given a visa for a shorter period than requested if they do not do this and they will not get a refund of the application fee if they get a shorter visa or if the application is refused. Also, the visa may be cancelled and they may get a long-term ban on visiting if their travel history shows that they are repeatedly living in the United Kingdom for extended periods.

Applying as an academic

A person who is applying as an academic can stay in the United Kingdom for 12 months. He/she must prove that they are highly qualified within their field of expertise, on sabbatical leave from their home institution. He/she must also show that that the visit is to either take part in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart; carry out his/her own research; and/or take part in someone else’s research, teaching or clinical practice - as long as this does not involve filling a permanent teaching post.

Applying to visit for private medical treatment

If applying to visit for private medical treatment, he/she must prove that they have a medical condition that needs private consultation or treatment in the United Kingdom and have made or paid for arrangements for consultations or treatment.

Those persons must have enough money to pay for their treatment, support themselves without using public funds and pay for their return or onward journey. They must also show that they will leave the United Kingdom once the treatment is completed, or when the visa expires. In addition, they must show that they are not a danger to public health if they are suffering from an infectious disease.

Applying as an organ donor

A person can only visit the United Kingdom to donate organs to a family member who they are genetically related to, for example, a sibling or parent or someone they have a close personal relationship with such as their spouse or friend. In addition, it must be proven that the person who is the recipient of an organ is legally allowed to be in the United Kingdom.

Documents that must be provided

When applying, persons will need to provide a current passport or other valid travel identification. They will need a blank page in their passport for the visa and the passport should be valid for all of the stay in the United Kingdom. If necessary, they will need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh. Persons will be told how to provide their documents when applying.

Persons should read the document 'full list of supporting documents' online that can be provided. Persons might need to provide additional documents if they are visiting the UK for private medical treatment or to apply as an organ donor.

Further documentation will be needed if applying as an academic on sabbatical who would like to stay for 12 months; or as a prospective entrepreneur. More documentation will be needed if a person plans to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) or if he/she is in transit to a country outside the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Other information needed to be provided

Persons will need to provide the dates they are planning to travel to the United Kingdom; details of where they will be staying during the visit; how much they think the trip will cost. They will also need to provide their current home address and how long they have lived there; their parents’ names and dates of birth; and how much they earn per annum.

Those persons might also need to provide details of their travel history for the past 10 years, as shown in their passport; their employer’s address and telephone number and if applicable, their partner’s name, date of birth, and passport number.

They will need to show the name and address of anyone paying for their trip; the name, address and passport number of any family members that are in the UK; and details of any criminal, civil or immigration offences they have committed.

All the best.

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: