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UK Visit Visa Types - UK Tourist Visa, Family Visitor Visa

UK Visit Visa Types 


On the 24th of April 2015, the UK Government decided to simplify and remove a number of visit visa categories. It was important that changes were made, to reflect the ever-changing environment. The introduction of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules HC395 was an important change. 

The sub-categories of visit visa intention remained the same, however, the changes were to reflect the new approach made by the UK Home Office. We hope you will find this page useful and as always, you can read more about how ICS Legal can help

UK Tourist Visitor Visa
Those wishing to visit the UK without having any family or friends connections in the UK are permitted to apply as a tourist. With a UK Tourist Visa, you would be able to travel to the UK for leisure, and sightseeing to name the reasons for the travel. The UK is extremely diverse in its landscape and people and has a wealth of culture, history and scenic beauty that can be discovered and explored. 

You must be able to show clearly your intention, that you have the financial means, and adequate accommodation available when you enter the UK and that you have clear intentions to depart from the UK. The visa issued is valid for up to 6 months, and depending on your immigration history, you can apply for a longer-term visit visa. 

Family Visitor Visa
Individuals can travel to the UK for the specific purpose of visiting friends and family who live in the UK. UK family members can sponsor the Applicant by providing an invitation letter to confirm the relationship, the purpose of the visit, and also the support they will be providing in terms of financial assistance and/or accommodation.

Applicants in this category must prove to the UK Immigration Authorities that they can financially maintain and accommodate themselves in the UK with or without assistance from a family member(s) living in the UK but without resources to public funding or employment.

As a family visitor, you must only visit the UK for a maximum of six (6) months, demonstrate that they will be able to financially support themselves (if necessary with the support of friends and family) and meet the cost of their onward journey. They must not take up any paid or unpaid employment in the UK.

Child Visitor Visa
Children under the age of 18 years can travel to the UK to visit friends and family who live in the UK. Your child can either travel on their own or in the company of a designated guardian. Applicants in this category must prove to the UK Immigration Authorities that suitable arrangements have been made for their reception and care whilst in the UK and that they have a parent or guardian in their home country who is otherwise responsible for their care.

To qualify under the Standard Visitor Visa, for child visitor purposes there are basic requirements that must be met. Child Visitor visa applicants may only visit the UK for a maximum of six (6) months and must be aged under 18 years. Applicants will be required to show that they will be accommodated and able to financially support themselves (with the support of friends and family) during their stay in the UK and meet the cost of their onward journey. They must also not take up any paid or unpaid employment in the UK.

Child Visitor visa holders travelling in the company of a responsible adult will be required to provide details of the individual at the time of lodging their application. If granted, their details will be endorsed on the child's visa. Child Visitor visa holders found to be travelling without that responsible adult may have their visa cancelled.

Medical Visitor Visa
The United Kingdom has some of the highest quality health care in the world. UK Hospitals, Doctors and Medical research facilities have a global reputation for quality and state-of-the-art technology. 

The UK Government is aware that the medical provisions in the UK may be more advanced or suitable for individuals from other countries. Therefore provisions are made for people to travel to the UK for the sole purpose of receiving medical treatment and care. 

To qualify for a Standard Visitor visa for private medical treatment, Applicants must satisfy the general requirements for the Standard Visit Visa criteria and in addition, show that their proposed treatment is for a set period of time. They must also provide evidence of their medical condition requiring treatment, the estimated costs of the treatment and that they can meet those costs.

Sports Visitor Visa
The Sports Visitors Visas purpose is geared towards sportspeople, support staff and officials who want to come to the UK to participate in a sporting event, competition or related activity. Sportspeople, support staff or officials who do not meet the sports visitor visa requirements or who may be considered employed (paid or unpaid) for their visit may be eligible for a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa or Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa.

Sporting activities include:

  • Participating in a charity, exhibition or competitive sports event, tournament or series of events.

  • Joining an amateur sports team.

  • Making a personal or promotional appearance.

  • Negotiating a contract or sponsorship deal.

  • Participating in a trial or short period of training, either as part of a team or as an individual.

Sportspeople, their officials and support staff coming to the UK as a visitor cannot be paid or sell goods or services to members of the public. They must intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months and show that they have enough money for their stay in the UK and their return or onward journey. Visitor visa applicants may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.

This visitor visa entitles the holder to participate in the sporting event, competition or related event in the UK. A Sports visitor visa is usually granted for a maximum of 6 months and holders are expected to leave the UK at the end of their permission to stay. A visitor visa does not entitle the holder to work, conduct business or study in the UK. This means a sports visitor to the UK cannot receive payment for their appearance in the UK or sell goods, such as merchandise, to the public.

Entertainer Visitor Visa
Applicants can now use this new category of visa to undertake specific paid work without having to be sponsored for up to 1 month if they satisfy the visa requirements. This visa is often used by entertainers, assessors, lecturers, performers, media personnel, the fashion industry and other similar personnel who wish to take part in certain major arts festivals, music competitions, charity events or other events in the UK.

To qualify for an Entertainer Visitor visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • be at least 18 years of age.
  • intend to visit the UK for less than one (1) month.
  • have the intention to leave the UK at the end of their visit.
  • have enough money to support and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds.
  • can meet the cost of the return or onward journey.

This visa entitles holders to come to the UK for less than one (1) month to participate in the events according to the permitted activities.

Visit: Approved Destination Status (ADS)
This visa option is not open to all nationals. The ADS agreement is an agreement between the UK and China allowing Chinese nationals to enter the UK with an approved tour group & are allowed to be in the UK for a maximum period of 30 days. 

There are certain requirements that need to be met, and the tour operator must be licensed. The minimum group is 5 people and you must remain with the group for the entire trip. This may also include re-entering the UK depending on how the trip has been organised by your tour operator. 

Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE)
The intention of this category as a visitor is to allow a visitor to undertake paid engagements and is only granted for 1 month. This route does not allow a visitor to make repeat PPE engagements, rather this option is to give a person the flexibility to travel in and out of the UK. 

Short-Term Study 
This route had changes being implemented and only allows someone to study for a period of 30 days in the UK, however, this cannot be their main intention of applying under this route. Any bona fide institution in the UK, that is not a state-funded school or academy, can offer recreational courses, for example, horse riding or dancing course. Courses that lead to formal qualifications are not normally considered recreational.

Non-recreational short courses, including English language courses or study that is part of a course of study overseas, are only allowed in line with the Immigration Rules as a visitor. 

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