If you aren’t British, or a citizen of an EU Country, and you would like to visit, work in, or settle in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a UK Visa or entry clearance. We’ve written this short guide explaining what a Visa is, and what applying for one entails.
What is a Visa?
A Visa is what’s known as an endorsement. Basically it entitles you to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of a time in a country. Each country has their own rules and Visa types, and getting a Visa is dependent on many different things. For instance, if you would like to work in a foreign country, you’ll need a work Visa or permit. A tourist Visa is usually easier to apply for, but has time and activity restrictions.
Types of UK Visas
In the UK, there are several different types of Visas that you can apply for:
- Tourist Visa – the most common form of Visa, which allows you to stay for 6 months but doesn’t allow you to work or take payment for work.
- Family Visa – for visitors whose spouse, partner, close family member, or parent is already a UK citizen.
- Tier 1 Highly Skilled Visa – for highly skilled workers looking to enter the UK and work for a UK company.
- Tier 2 Medium Skilled Visa – for medium skilled workers, and requires an offer of employment from a UK company.
- Student Visa – a 6 month initial visa that allows you to apply to UK universities. Once accepted, you can apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa.
- Tier 5 Temporary Worker Visa – for those looking to immigrate to the UK for temporary work opportunities.
- Entrepreneur Visa – for those looking to invest in UK companies and eventually acquire settlement.
Settlement (also called ILR or Indefinite Leave to Remain) can be granted to foreign citizens after they have spent a specified period in the UK and qualify for settlement under UK immigration law. Your right to apply for Settlement/ILR will depend on the Visa you have been given and also on whether you:
- are working in the UK.
- have partners and family members in the UK.
- are seeking asylum in the UK.
- have invested a certain amount of money in the UK.
- have lived in the UK for a requisite period of time.
If you are fleeing a country, or being forced to return to a country where you may be persecuted, you can apply for asylum in the UK. This is different from applying for a Visa, and can grant you the right to settle and remain in the UK indefinitely. If you’re applying for asylum, give us a call on 0203 002 4898 for legal help.
Applying for a UK Visa
Applications for work, family, and student Visas can be complicated and you may need to seek legal advice along the way. You can use the Gov.uk website to start off your application, but if you have a question or problem relating to a UK visa application, you can contact us whenever you need to for legal support over the phone. We Talk Law is the only phone-based helpline in the UK that advises on all aspects of UK Immigration Law.
Contact our legal advice helpline on 0203 002 4898 and one of of our practising lawyers can give you unlimited legal advice for just £68. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.