A UK visa is the authorizing document that gives worldwide citizens the right to enter, stay temporarily, or live forever in the territory of the UK. A visa is usually either a stamp you receive in your passport or a document given by a UK consulate or embassy in your country of residence.
If you are issued a visa, it means that you are eligible to enter the UK and that you meet the requirements of the particular visa that you have been given. There are different reasons why people want to apply for a UK visa, such as:
To work and to do business
For short stays and tourism
To join family members who are already in the UK
To transit through the UK to another country
To live permanently
As a refugee or as someone who needs humanitarian protection
As a stateless person
As someone who needs permission to stay
Who Needs a UK Visa?
Citizens of the European Economic Area, Switzerland, and Commonwealth countries are not required to apply for a UK visa prior to entering the UK. For a complete list of countries whose citizens need a visa for the UK visit this page.
How to Apply for a UK Visa?
The UK visa application process depends a lot on the type of visa that you are applying for. Especially if your type of visa belongs to one of the Points-Based System categories. Though most of the requirements are the same for each category, the way they are evaluated in the system differs. There are also additional requirements that vary from one to another category.
When Should I Apply for a UK Visa?
The earliest you can apply for a UK visa is three months before the date of your intended trip here. Yet, keep in mind that the processing of your visa application may take up to three weeks. Apply in advance, so you can give enough time to the consulate for the processing of your visa.
What are the Required Documents for UK Visa?
There are some standard UK visa requirements to apply for that every applicant must fulfill. These requirements vary on the visa type and the nationality of the applicant.
What is the Points-Based System (PBS)?
The Point-Based System (PBS) of the United Kingdom Visa is the means of regulating immigration to the United Kingdom from outside the country, as a replacement for the old system one which was much more complex and hard to be covered.
The PBS system evaluates visa candidates based on the points they can gather by meeting visa requirements. Each visa requirement has its points, and there is an appointed number of points the candidate should gather in order to receive the visa.
UK Visa Types
There are different reasons why people want to apply for a UK visa. That is why the United Kingdom has an organized visa system based on the purpose of visitors under multiple visa types.
Here are the UK visa types:
Work and Business Visas
Besides its strict rules, not allowing to get a job many of the visas holders, the UK also offers Working Visas, especially for high-end professionals from other countries who wish to work and live in the UK for shorter or longer periods.
Categories of work and business visas
Highly qualified foreigners:
Global Talent Visa
Skilled foreign workers with a job offer in a shortage area
Tier 2 (General) Visa
Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Visa
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) Visa
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) Visa
Youth mobility and temporary foreign workers
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Visa
Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Visa
Croatian National Registration Certificate
Domestic Workers in a Private Household Visa
Exempt Vignette Visa
Turkish Worker Visa
The UK Business Visa types are the following:
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa
Tier 1 Investor Visa
Turkish Businessperson Visa
These types of visas are issued to international students who want to study in the UK.
Categories of student visas
Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
Tier 4 (General) Student Visa
Short-Term Study Visa
Tourist and Visiting visas
The UK is a very popular tourism destination, for shorter or even longer periods of visits. The UK Visitor Visas are issued for short stays, tourism visits, and similar purposes. UK authorities rarely do issue a tourism visa for a longer period than six months. Foreign nationals are prohibited from getting a job inside the UK with this type of visa, just as with many other types.
Short business trips are handled kind of the same way.
Categories tourist and visiting visas
Marriage Visitor Visa
Parent of Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
Permitted Paid Engagement Visa
Short-term Study Visa
UK Visitor Visa
Visa for a Chinese Tour Group
The UK Family Visa is issued to visit family members in the UK. This Visa type is for people who have family members working and living in the UK and want to join them for more than six months, as their dependents. The dependents can be husband or wife (spouse), partner, fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, children, parents, or other family members.
Categories of family visas
UK Spouse visa
UK Parent visa
UK Child visa
The UK Transit Visa is for foreigners who are not from the EEA (EU countries, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) or Switzerland and are using the UK as a transit country to pass from another country to their destination. This visa offers the opportunity to apply for a long-term transit visa if the applicant has enough evidence that he needs to travel regularly through the UK to arrive at his destination, but has no intention to stay or live there permanently. Such long-term transit visas can be given from 1 to 10 years long.
Categories of transit visas
Direct Airside Transit Visa (DATV) – for those who have to change flights in the UK without leaving the airport
Visitor in Transit Visa – for foreigners who have to leave the airport and take another means of travel, of making a part of their traveling through the land. This visa can be valid for up to 4 days.
A temporary Refugee Visa is for people who are about to enter the UK and are at the borders because had to leave their country as their life was seriously threatened. The application for this visa is made from within the UK.
The visa is temporary until the visa holder is not endangered anymore and can return back to their country. Visa for Stateless Persons is for foreigners living in the UK and are not nationals in any other country in the world. This visa is given for 2 to 6 years with a possibility of extension.
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