Categories
Immigration UK

UK Tourist Visa: How To Apply

Do you want to go on vacation or holiday in the UK? Or do you simply want to visit some of the most impressive sites in the historic country? If so, what you need is a UK tourist visa. You can find out all the information on how to apply in this post.

What Is the UK Tourist Visa?

The UK Tourist Visa, also known as the standard visitor visa, lets you enter the UK for tourism purposes. With this visa, you can stay in the country for up to six months, and it’s a relatively flexible visa.

The maximum duration of a tourist visa is six months, but your visa can be valid for less. The UK Home Office makes the ultimate decision on the duration when issuing the visa.

Although it’s called the UK Tourist Visa, you can do more than tourism with the visa. You can visit family members, attend a business activity, or get medical treatment. However, you need a definite reason for applying – which in this case should be for tourism.

You may not need to apply for a UK Tourist Visa if you’re a citizen of some visa-free countries. Therefore, before you begin your application, you should check if you need a visa on the UK Home Office website.

Obtaining a UK Tourist Visa is not very difficult, so long as you have a valid reason to enter the country and the funds to sponsor your stay. However, the visa does require many supporting documents.

UK Tourist Visa Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a UK Tourist Visa, you must have a valid reason to enter the country. Also, you must be able to support yourself – and whoever’s coming with you – throughout your stay.

The tourist visa is a short-term visa, so you won’t have access to public funds and cannot work in any paid or unpaid position. For this reason, the financial requirement is essential.

You can present a third party willing to sponsor you if you don’t have the funds. Your tourism trip may be sponsored by your company, an organization, family, a friend, or someone else.

Furthermore, you must convince the embassy that you’ll leave the UK after your visa expires. You mustn’t intend to live in the UK long term, as the short-term visa doesn’t allow it.

You still need to meet these eligibility requirements if you’re from a country that doesn’t require a visa to travel to the UK. While you can travel to the UK, you’ll need a pass at the border to enter the country.

The officers at the UK Border Control will ask you questions about your intentions to enter the UK. If it’s for tourism, you must show that you have the funds to support your stay before they clear you to enter the country.

Documents You’ll Need To Apply

Here are the documents you’ll need to apply for a UK Tourist Visa:

  • A valid international passport or other travel documents. Your passport must have a blank page and be valid for at least three months from the date you should leave the UK.
  • Completed visa application form. You’ll need to complete the visa application form on the UK Home Office website and print the confirmation page.
  • Two passport photographs. The passport photographs must be in-line with the UK visa requirements, colored, and no more than six months old.
  • Proof of funds. This is the most important document, as explained before. You can present your bank statements or payslips for the past six months. If someone or an organization is sponsoring you, you must present a signed written note from them.
  • Details about your intended activity. Since you’re coming to the UK for tourism, you must have specific places you wish to visit and also where to reside during your stay. You must provide a detailed itinerary of your activities throughout your stay.
  • Proof of payment of fees. The UK Tourist Visa attracts a processing fee. You must pay this fee and present your receipt as proof.
  • Previous travel history. Your previous travels can heavily influence your visa application. The embassy may deny you the visa if you have a bad record – breaking immigration laws, for example – in the UK or any other country. On the other hand, having a clean travel history boosts your chances.
  • Proof that you’ll return to your home country. You must show ties to your home country to convince the embassy officials that you won’t try to remain in the UK when your visa expires. You can do this by showing family or work ties and properties you own.
  • Biometric data (fingerprint and passport). You’ll receive a temporary biometric residence permit when you get your visa. As a result, you must submit your biometric data during the application process.
  • Criminal records. You can present a court or police statement to prove that you have no pending criminal cases in your home country.

The above list is extensive but not comprehensive. During any visa application, there’s always the possibility of the embassy requesting extra documents. It ultimately depends on your circumstance.

UK Tourist Visa Application Fees

Compared to many other UK visas, the tourist visa is relatively affordable. The visa costs £100. Nevertheless, the funds you must have to be eligible are far higher.

The UK Home Office doesn’t give a specific amount. It depends on what you plan to do in the country. However, the amount is speculated to be up to £122 per day.

That means if you’re going to stay in the UK for up to a month, you need to have up to £3,660. Staying for a full six months will demand up to £21,000.

For these reasons, most tourists don’t stay too long in the UK on a tourist visa. Usually, they spend two to three weeks at most before leaving the country. Two to three weeks is enough for anyone to tour the UK.

Furthermore, there are extra fees to pay if you wish to speed up your visa processing. The priority processing service costs £500, while the super priority service costs £800.

How To Apply

You can start your UK Tourist Visa application three months before the date you intend to travel. If you’re traveling with people (dependents), they must also apply separately. You can only apply on behalf of dependents who cannot apply by themselves.

Ensure you have all the necessary documents read before you start your application. It’ll ensure the embassy doesn’t delay your application. Missing any important document could delay your application for weeks.

You should get a verdict on your UK Tourist Visa application three weeks after submitting all the required documents. However, sometimes it could take up to six weeks.

You can get a faster verdict on your application using the priority service or super priority service. With the priority service, you get a verdict within five working days. On the other hand, you can get a verdict the next day with the super priority service.

The UK Tourist Visa demands that you attend an interview. Therefore, you must schedule an appointment when done with the online application.

After scheduling the appointment, print the confirmation and take it to the interview. You must also take along original copies of your documents.

The embassy officer will ask you why you deserve the visa at the interview. It’s crucial to provide honest answers that correspond with the documents you present.

Ultimately, the UK Home Office will send you an email on the verdict of your application. If successful, you can begin preparations to travel to the UK. If unsuccessful, you may be able to appeal the decision.

Duration of the UK Tourist Visa

The UK Tourist Visa, as a short-stay visa, cannot stay valid for more than six months. How long you can stay in the UK depends on the itinerary you present during the application.

The UK Home Office can approve your visa for a month, two, three, four, or five months. However, as mentioned before, the longer you’re to stay, the higher the funds you must have.

UK Tourist Visa Extension

The UK Home Office allows standard visitor visa holders to apply for an extension in special circumstances. However, you cannot extend a tourist visa as there’s no need to.

Already, it’s unlikely for your tour to last for six months, which is the maximum the visa can last. Hence, you’ll likely leave the UK before then, which makes the visa extension irrelevant.

Standard visitor visa holders that can extend their visa application include only scholars and patients receiving treatment.

If you’re in the position to extend your visa, note that you must pay the processing fee and provide supporting documents. It’ll take around eight weeks to get a verdict, but you can apply and pay for expedited processing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about the UK Tourist Visa:

Is It Easy To Get a Tourist Visa for the UK?

The UK Tourist Visa isn’t as rigorous to get as many other visas, but it’s not easy. Indeed, you’ll find it facile if you exceedingly meet the funds’ requirement. However, you must demonstrate that you will return to your home country.

The UK Immigration deals with many cases of visa beneficiaries that try to evade the law and remain in the UK after their visa expires. It’s one of the reasons why the country has strict immigration laws.

Nevertheless, suppose you have the funds needed and can demonstrate strong ties that demand you return to your home country. In that case, you can easily get a UK Tourist Visa.

Is a Tourist Visa and a Visitor Visa the Same in the UK?

It’s incorrect to say the tourist visa is the same as the visitor visa. Instead, the tourist visa is one of the UK visitor visas – it falls under the Standard Visitor Visa category.

In addition to the tourist visa, other visas under the Standard Visitor Visa include study visas, medical treatment visas, and business visas. They are all short-term visas and, like the tourist visa, do not last for more than six months at a time.

Therefore, if you want to apply for the UK Tourist Visa, you’ll first begin your application as a Standard Visitor. Then, during the course of your application, you can select your reason for applying – which should be tourism.

Is There an Interview for a UK Tourist Visa?

When it comes to UK visa applications, nothing is set in stone. You may or may not have to attend an interview. It will depend on your country, what you plan to do in the UK and the embassy’s ultimate decision.

However, you must book an appointment at the end of your online application, even if you don’t need an interview. The appointment is necessary for you to submit your supporting documents and biometrics.

You’ll know if you need an interview from the email you receive after successfully completing the online application.

Why Would a Tourist Visa Be Denied?

A common reason why the embassy would deny you a tourist visa is if you don’t have the funds to sponsor your stay. As mentioned several times, sufficient funds are the most crucial requirement.

Other reasons could be that you presented misleading information during the online application or if you have a pending criminal case in your home country.

Can I Sponsor Someone for a Tourist Visa?

Yes, someone else can sponsor your visit to the UK as a tourist. In fact, it happens all the time.

Bottom Line

Touring the UK is fun and exciting. If you have that on your bucket list, simply follow the instructions in this post to apply for the tourist visa and begin your journey.

Categories
Immigration UK

UK Business Visitor Visa: Everything You Should Know

If you want to visit the UK for a temporary business activity, you could apply for a UK business visitor visa. It’s a short-term visa and relatively not difficult to get, but you must be sure that your business activity is eligible.

The UK business visitor visa has its dos and don’ts. You can find everything you need to know about the visa in this WorldTravelPride post.

What Is a UK Business Visitor Visa?

The UK business visitor visa comes under the standard visitor visas. The visa permits you to stay in the UK for up to six months for business activities such as attending meetings & interviews, signing contracts, performing inspections, and many others.

It’s a temporary visa, so you must leave the UK when it expires, although you could extend your stay in exceptional circumstances. To qualify for the UK business visitor visa, you must meet its specific requirements and also the general standard visitor visa requirements.

Notably, the UK business visitor visa doesn’t allow you to work. In other words, you can’t engage in paid or unpaid employment during your short stay. If you want to work, you have to apply for a work visa.

You can only apply for the UK business visitor visa outside the country. If you’re already in the country, there’s no need to apply.

The UK standard visa accommodates travelers that are under 18. However, getting a business visitor visa is almost impossible if you’re under 18, as you won’t meet any of the requirements.

People under 18 cannot form legal business entities, so they usually have no business with signing a contract, attending business meetings, etc. If you’re not up to 18, you can apply for a study or academic visitor if you’re eligible.

Long Term UK Business Visitor Visa

The regular UK business visitor visa is a short-term visa that lets you stay in the UK for no more than six months. However, it’s possible to obtain a long-term business visitor visa.

The long-term business visitor visa is also limited to six-month per stay. However, the difference is that you can visit the UK regularly without applying for a new visa each time.

For example, a long-term UK business visitor visa can last for two, five, or ten years. During these years, you can travel to the UK for business activity and stay for no more than six months.

After six months, you must leave the country. Then, you can travel to the UK again for another business activity with the same visa. There’s no limit to how often you can enter and re-enter the UK on a long-term business visitor visa.

However, the UK Home Office can cancel your long-term visa anytime if you abuse the privilege. Note that they keep track of your travel history. As a result, you should only travel to the UK and stay for up to six months if business allows it.

Furthermore, since it’s a long-term visa, the eligibility requirements are relatively more demanding than the short-term visa.

Business Visitor Visa UK Eligibility

To be eligible for a UK business visitor visa, you must be coming to the country for one of the following reasons:

  • Sign or negotiate business deals and contracts.
  • Attend promotional trade fairs, granted that you won’t sell any product.
  • Attend business conferences, meetings, interviews, and seminars.
  • Attend a work-related training which isn’t available in your home country.
  • Visit a site for inspection.
  • Facilitate the delivery of services and goods offered by a UK company to your company in a foreign country.
  • Teach in a training or seminar in the UK brand of a foreign company you work for.
  • Give short talks – one-offs or multiple. They must be at a noncommercial or nonprofit event, and you must not be paid.
  • Repair, install, service, or dismantle a computer hardware, software, or other equipment. Your company must have a contract with a UK company.

The above are the basic eligibility requirements. However, depending on your position in the business, you have to perform some extra activities while in the UK.

For example, you can come to the UK to witness a court case as a lawyer or contribute to research as a scientist. The UK Home Office designates extra activities for about nineteen different job positions.

Required Documents For UK Business Visitor Visa Application

The required documents for the UK business visitor visa you must submit depend on your business activity. A general document you must submit is your international passport or another travel document.

The passport or document must be valid throughout your intended stay and have a blank page where the embassy will stamp your visa if the application is successful.

Furthermore, you need to provide an itinerary document for your business activity. It should include the date you plan to enter the UK, where you’ll stay in the country, your address in your home country, and the cost of your trip.

You must prove that you will return to your home country when your visa expires. For that, you must show proof of ties with your home country, including your parents’ details, annual income, details of how long you’ve resided in the country, and others.

You also need to show proof that you have no ongoing criminal, civil, or immigration cases.

The UK Home Office may ask for additional documents, including your employer’s details, details of your other family members & partner, and details of your travel history.

UK Business Visitor Visa Application Fee

How much you pay for your UK business visitor visa application depends on how long the visa will stay valid.

A short-term business visitor visa that lasts for six months costs £100. However, a long-term business visitor visa that stays valid for two years costs £376.

Furthermore, a long-term business visitor visa that lasts for five years costs £670, while a business visitor visa that lasts for ten years costs £837.

The visa processing fee is non-refundable and mandatory. The UK Home Office won’t process your visa if you don’t pay the fee.

You will need to pay extra processing fees if you want the Home Office to process your visa faster. The priority service costs £500, while the super priority service costs £800. Like the standard processing fee, both are non-refundable.

Business Visitor Visa UK Application Process

You can apply for a UK business visitor visa at least three months before the date you intend to enter the country. The latest you can apply is 48 hours before the date.

The application procedure is similar, even if you’re applying for a short-term or long-term business visitor visa. Notably, the visa mandates an appointment, so you’ll have to visit the embassy for an interview.

It’ll take around eight weeks to get a verdict if you apply via the standard service. The days start counting after you submit all your supporting documents and biometric information.

However, you can get a verdict by the end of the next day after your appointment at the embassy if you pay for super priority service. The service costs 800.

If your application is successful, the embassy will stamp the visa in your passport, and you’ll receive a biometric residence permit. It may take up to ten working days from the day of approval to get the permit.

Sometimes, your visa may take longer to process. This is common if you need to attend an interview or some of your supporting documents need verification. It can also occur due to other personal circumstances.

Note that you can apply for a long-term business visitor visa and get a short-term one instead. The UK Home Office makes the ultimate decision.

UK Business Visitor Visa Duration

A standard UK business visitor visa is valid for no more than six months. The UK Home Office will decide how long your visa will last. It could be two, three, or four months, for example, but not more than six months.

If you have any business activity requiring you to be in the UK for more than six months consecutively, you must apply for a different visa type.

As mentioned before, you can apply for a long-term UK business visitor visa that will last for two, five, or ten years. However, the duration limit every time you enter the UK is still six months.

Having a two-year UK business visitor visa doesn’t mean you can enter the UK and stay for two years. You can only stay for six months at a time, and then you must leave the country.

In fact, if you finish the business activity you came for before six months, you must leave the country. Completing the six months while conducting no business activity is considered an abuse of your visa.

It could lead to the UK Home Office canceling your visa and denying you all privileges of entering the country to conduct business.

UK Business Visitor Visa Extension

You can only extend your UK business visitor visa if it isn’t valid for up to six months. Six months is the maximum, so if your visa is eligible for one, two, three, four, or five months, you can apply to extend it to six months.

Getting an extension is relatively easy, so long as you have a valid reason to remain in the UK. However, this is more common with other standard visitor visas. Still, the business visitor visa is different as it’s rare for one business activity to linger for up to six months.

Nevertheless, if you must extend your stay, you have to pay the £1000 processing fee, irrespective of how long you’re extending for. You must apply before your current visa expires; like the initial visa, it could take weeks to get a verdict.

The good news is you can stay in the UK during the processing stage if your current visa expires, so long as you applied before it expired.

To get a faster verdict – especially if your current visa is almost expiring – you can pay an extra £1000 for super priority service. The application further demands that you submit your biometric information.

Dependents of Business Visitor Visa Holders

The UK Home Office allows standard visitor visa beneficiaries to bring dependents. Your dependents can apply- and travel with you, or they can apply and come later, so long as you still have reason to be in the UK.

However, since the business visitor visa is relatively short term – no more than six months at a time – it’s ideal that your dependents apply and travel with you.

The main requirement for bringing dependents is to prove your relationship and have enough funds to support their stay. You must prove that you have the funds to pay for their ticket – to and fro – accommodation and other expenses in the UK.

How Much Money Is Needed for a UK Business Visitor Visa?

Primarily, you must have the funds to pay the processing fee and purchase flight tickets. How much you’ll need overall to support your stay will depend on what business you’re conducting in the UK.

For example, if you’re coming to the UK to sign a contract, you may not stay in the country for up to a week. On the other hand, if you’re traveling for training, you may stay for a month or two, which will require more supporting funds.

How much you need will increase if you’re traveling with dependents. Therefore, ultimately, the amount will depend on your circumstance. The UK Home Office will let you know the amount during your application.

Bottom line

The UK business visitor visa lets you travel to the UK for a specific business activity. Obtaining this visa isn’t difficult so long as you have a valid reason to apply.

It’s a short-term visa and doesn’t lead to long-term residence in the UK in any way.

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Immigration UK

UK Post Study Work Visa: Fast Route To Get Job For Students

The UK study visa is a temporary visa, so you’re expected to leave the country when it expires. However, you can remain in the UK for a few years before leaving and explore your chances of getting a job. For that, you have to apply for a UK Post Study Work Visa – officially known as the Graduate Visa.

Read on to find out more about the visa, including the eligibility requirements, how to apply, processing fees, and many others.

What Is The UK Post Study Work Visa?

The UK post study work visa is known officially as the Graduate visa. It permits you to stay in the UK for two to three years after completing your studies in the country.

In other words, you must have been on a UK study visa before applying for a graduate visa. Ordinarily, you would leave the country after completing your studies.

You can apply for a post study work visa if you still have something to handle in the UK after your studies. You can also apply if you have employment prospects, and afterward, you can switch to a work visa.

Like the study visa, the UK post study work visa is temporary, and the duration doesn’t count as residency. You can stay in the UK for at least two years – the duration is longer for higher courses.

Your graduate visa starts counting from the first day you get approval. When it expires – typically, after two years – you cannot apply for an extension. Therefore, depending on your prospects, you either leave the UK or switch to a different visa.

If you were on a study visa with your dependent family members, they can also apply and stay with you throughout the duration of the post study work visa.

Eligibility Requirements For The Post Study Work Visa

The primary requirement of being eligible for the UK post study work visa is that you studied in the UK. Your current visa must be a Student Visa.

The secondary requirements include the university or college you attended, the course you studied, and the course duration – how long you studied.

For the university or college requirement, your university or college must be licensed by the UK government and have a track record of compliance. You can check if your university or college meets this requirement on the UK Home Office website.

For the course requirement, you are eligible for the UK Graduate visa if your course was for a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate, or Ph.D. degree. Other suitable programs are those with jobs regulated by UK law or a UK public authority.

For the duration requirement, you are eligible for the UK post study work visa if you have studied in the UK for up to 12 months or if your course lasts for more than 12 months.

On the other hand, if your course is less than 12 months, you must have fully completed the course to apply.

The final requirement is that you must be in the UK. You cannot apply for a UK graduate visa outside the country. Therefore, if you’ve already left the UK after you completed your course, you’re not eligible.

Required Documents For The UK Post Study Work Visa

You’ll need to present some documents while submitting your post study work visa application. However, the documents are not much since you’re already in the UK – meaning you’re already on a visa.

Check them out below:

  • Your valid international passport. This serves to confirm your identity and nationality.
  • Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number. This number refers to your admission, which you usually provide while applying for a Student Visa. It’s important for the Graduate Visa also to confirm you have been studying in the UK.
  • Your biometric residence permit. This also proves that you are on a UK Student Visa and have legal permission to reside and study in the UK.

Your dependents also need to present documents to prove your relationship. If you studied in the UK on scholarship, you’d need to get an approval letter from the scholarship provider to prove that they were responsible for your finances during your study.

The UK Home Office may also request some additional documents depending on your circumstances. You should only start your online application after you have all these required documents. 

UK Post Study Work Visa Fee

To apply for a UK post study work visa, you must pay a processing fee and the healthcare surcharge – you must have already been paying the healthcare surcharge while on your Student Visa.

The processing fee is £715. The healthcare surcharge remains the same as the Student Visa, which is £624 per year.

Therefore, if your post study work visa is valid for two years, you’ll pay £1,248 ultimately. If it’s valid for three years, you’ll pay £1,872.

However, remember that the graduate visa is issued to enable you to explore your chances of working in the UK. If you eventually get the job, paying the healthcare surcharge won’t be much more challenging.

Notably, if you get a job in the public healthcare sector, you won’t have to pay the surcharge. If you’ve paid already, you could apply and get a refund.

The dependents applying with you must also pay the £715 application processing fee and the subsequent surcharge. 

UK Post UK Post Study Work Visa Application

You can apply for the UK Post Study Work Visa online via the UK Home Office website. You’ll need to create an account or log into a previous one.

Ideally, you log into the previous account you used while applying for your Student Visa. It makes the process a lot more straightforward.

The UK Home Office can easily verify your CAS and Student status since everything will already be in the account. Nevertheless, if you’ve forgotten or lost access to the account, you can create a new one.

During your application, you must provide your biometric residence permit or your international passport showing your visa.

You can either scan them using the app or submit your biometrics at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.

There’s no definite follow-up procedure after your application. You must wait for instructions from the UK Home Office. Nevertheless, you may be asked to attend an interview, which may prolong the visa application.

You shouldn’t wait until your student visa expires before applying for a post study work visa. You can apply immediately after your school notifies the UK Home Office that you’ve done with your course.

Sometimes, your graduation and certificate awarding ceremony may take place long after you complete your course.

You’ll get a verdict on your graduate visa application in about eight weeks. You won’t have to leave the UK if your student visa expires within this period.

In fact, you’re not supposed to leave the UK and Ireland while the Home Office processes your post study work visa. If you do, your application becomes void.

The Home Office will send you an email of the verdict on your application by email. 

Post Study Work Visa Duration & Extension

With a post study work visa, you can stay in the UK for a maximum of two years. However, you can stay for a maximum of three years if your student visa is for a Ph.D. or any other doctoral qualification.

If the UK Home Office approves your application, your time starts counting the day you get the confirmation email. Note that it won’t include the time you spent in the UK while waiting for a decision on the visa.

You cannot extend a post study work visa when it expires. If you succeed in getting a job, you can switch to a suitable work visa. On the other hand, if you don’t succeed, you’ll have to leave the UK.

You should apply for your graduate visa before your student visa expires. You will still have to follow the immigration rules of your student visa while you wait for a decision on your graduate visa.

While you wait, you can work, but the jobs and hours you can do are limited. Once your graduate visa is approved, you can work most jobs and switch between them.

Dependents Of Post Study Work Visa Beneficiaries

Your family members in the UK as dependents under your student visa can also stay in the UK under your post study work visa.

Notably, you can’t bring in a beneficiary from outside the UK – only those in the UK with you can apply.

Ideally, they should apply on the same day as yours. That way, their visa will start and expire on the same day as yours, making it easy to move together afterward.

However, you’ll need to show proof – especially for a spouse – that you’re still together in a relationship.

Usually, your dependent children are supposed to be unmarried and under 18. However, if your child is over 18 at the time of the application, you may need to supply some extra proof.

Notably, they must not be married or into a civil partnership. If the child is in school, they’ll have to present a letter from their college or university.

Furthermore, you have to prove that you have been responsible for your dependent’s finances – since they’re not permitted to work. You can present credit card bills or bank statements.

Note that if you give birth to any child during your stay in the UK on a student visa, you still need to apply for a dependent visa on their behalf. The child doesn’t automatically become a British citizen.

What To Do If Your Post Study Work Visa Application Is Denied

No visa application is 100% guaranteed to be successful. As a result, there’s a chance for your UK graduate visa to be denied. Here are some common reasons why the UK Home Office would refuse your visa application:

  • You have left the UK. Remember that you must be in the UK to apply for the post study work visa. If you leave the UK at any point before your visa is approved, it’s automatically void.
  • Unable to prove your identity and immigration status. Your post study work visa is 100% dependent on your student visa. Your application will be refused if you cannot prove that you’ve been in the UK on a student visa.
  • Insufficient supporting documents. As mentioned earlier, the UK Home Office may demand additional documents besides those mentioned on the document list. Failure to provide these other supporting documents means your application will be denied.

The UK Home Office may also refuse your application for other reasons, but these are the common reasons. You’ll find the reason for the refusal in the refusal email.

If your visa is turned down, you may be able to ask for a review of the decision. Your refusal letter will tell you when to send your request for an administrative review, although it’s usually 14 days.

If the review is successful, the Home Office will change its mind. However, if it’s not and the decision remains, you’ll have to leave the UK.

Bottom Line

The UK post study work visa is an ideal route to secure a job in the UK. If you leave the UK after your studies, getting a work visa from outside could be challenging.

However, it’s a lot easier from inside the country. You can stay in the UK for up to two years, which is relatively enough time to secure a job.

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Immigration UK

UK Student Visa: How To Apply, Fee, Duration

The UK student visa is one of the most sought-after UK visas. You need this visa to attend a university in the UK, to take a further or higher education course.

Millions of people apply for the UK student visa per year, which means the quota is always filled up. With such high competition, the least you can do not to dwindle your chances is to ensure you file your application correctly.

In this World Travel Pride post, you’ll find all the details you need to know about the UK student visa so that you can file a complete application. It also covers what you should do when you arrive in the UK and during your stay.

Read on to find out more.

What Is The UK Student Visa?

The UK student visa permits foreigners to enter and study at a university in the UK. It was formerly known as the Tier 4 student visa, but now it’s simply the Student Visa.

The UK student visa has many weighty requirements, which you’ll find out later. You can apply from outside or inside the UK. For the latter, you’ll be switching your status, so it’s relatively more straightforward.

While studying in the UK, you can work as a student union sabbatical officer. You can also work in other occupations, but it depends on the course of study and when you want to work.

However, you cannot be self-employed, access public funds, or study in a maintained school. The UK Home Office Visas and Immigration department will clearly specify what you can and cannot do on your student visa.

When your visa expires, you may be able to extend your stay if you’re not done with your studies. Alternatively, you may switch to a different visa type, like the Graduate Visa.

UK Student Visa Eligibility

The UK student visa has four main eligibility requirements.

First, you must have been offered unconditional admission by a licensed educational institution in the United Kingdom. When you get an admission offer, you’ll receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number, which is compulsory for your application. Your course can be a degree or above degree level.

Secondly, you must have enough money to support your stay in the UK to be eligible. In other words, you must have enough funds to cover your tuition fees, accommodation, and day-to-day expenses. The amount will depend on the circumstances of your application.

Thirdly, you must demonstrate that you can speak, read, write, and understand English. You automatically meet this eligibility requirement if you’re from a native-English-speaking country or any specifically exempt country.

Fourth, you must be up to 18 years to apply for a UK student visa. If you’re 16 or 17 years, you may still be eligible to apply if you provide written and signed consent from your parents.

Details On The Finance Requirement

You must be able to support yourself financially while taking the course and living in the UK. Your financial needs will vary depending on your situation and the type of admission you seek. 

You require enough cash to cover your tuition for one academic year, which equals about nine months in the UK. You’ll find the required payment amount on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). 

The amount of money you’ll require also depends on where you’ll attend school. You’ll need one of the following: 

  • £1,334 monthly for a maximum of nine months if your school is in London.
  • £1,023 monthly for a maximum of nine months if your school is outside London.

Note that London refers to the 32 boroughs of London and the City of London. You must pay boarding costs if you are boarding at an independent residential school. Again, Your CAS will contain how much you must pay. 

These required funds must be in your possession for at least 28 days in a row. The 28th day needs to be 31 days or less after the day your visa application is submitted.

However, not everyone needs to prove financial eligibility. You don’t have to if you’re on a scholarship. For that, you must present documentation from your loan or sponsorship company proving that you have financial sponsorship or a student loan.

Furthermore, you don’t have to show that you have this money for your visa application if you have been in the UK for at least a year on a valid visa.

UK Student Visa Required Documents

You must submit documents proving you meet the student visa eligibility requirements and can travel to the UK. However, the documents you’ll have to provide will vary depending on your circumstances.

Nevertheless, here’s a list of potential documents you’ll submit:

  • A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number to prove your admission.
  • An international passport or any other valid travel document.
  • Documents that prove you have enough funds to sponsor your education in the UK. You can present bank statements and account reports.
  • Your Secure English Language Test (SELT) result to prove you meet the English language requirement.
  • Doctors report, including a tuberculosis test result, to prove you’re in good health to enter the UK.
  • An ATAS certificate of your course of study requires it.
  • Written consent from your parents or legal guardian if you’re under 18 years. The letter should highlight your visa application, your living and care arrangements in the UK, and your travel to the UK.
  • Your birth certificate or any other document that shows your parents’ name if you’re under 18 years.

The above list isn’t exhaustive. The UK Home Office may still request other documents that apply to your circumstances.

UK Student Visa Fee

Like every other UK visa, applying for a student visa attracts application fees. As mentioned earlier, you can apply for the visa outside or inside the UK.

If you’re applying from outside the UK, the processing fee is £363. If you’re applying from inside the UK, the fee is £490. Applying from inside is more expensive because you’re not just applying but switching visa status.

The student visa allows dependents, and anyone that comes along with you must also pay the £363 visa fee.

Aside from the processing fee, you’ll also pay a health surcharge. The health surcharge is a compulsory fee, and the amount depends on the duration of your student visa.

The annual cost for adults is £624, while that for children is £470. If your visa is valid for five years, you will have to pay £3,120, or £624 per year. 

The UK immigration service will contact you via email after you submit your online application for payment of the health surcharge. 

The health surcharge is due within seven days if you’re outside the UK and ten days if you’re inside the country. If you don’t, your application might be thrown out.

UK Student Visa Application Process

The UK student visa application is online, and you can apply as soon as all your documents are complete. You’ll have to prove your identity during your application, which requires that you submit your biometrics.

If you’re applying from outside the UK, you must apply no more than six months before the start of your studies. You’ll get a verdict on your student visa application within three weeks. 

If you’re applying from inside the UK, you must apply no more than three months before the start of your studies. You’ll get a verdict within eight weeks. Importantly, your studies must start within 28 days before your current visa expires. 

If your application is successful, you can proceed to submit your biometrics. Afterward, you’ll get a biometric residence permit upon admission into the UK.

You can travel to the UK a week before your course starts if your course lasts for a maximum of six months. If your course lasts more than six months, you can travel to the UK a month earlier.

However, ensure you check your visa start date and don’t travel to the UK before it.

UK Student Visa Duration

The UK student visa has no fixed duration. How long you can stay depends on the time of your course. As a result, the UK Home Office will decide the duration upon awarding you the visa.

Nevertheless, most degrees take a maximum of five years. Hence, if you’re going to the UK to study a course at a university, your visa will typically be valid for five years at maximum.

On the other hand, if your course is below degree level, it usually won’t last for more than two years. Hence, your visa will typically be valid for two years at maximum.

The good news is, irrespective of your course level, you can extend your UK student visa if it expires and you still need to be in the country.

UK Student Visa Extension Of Stay

You can extend your visa if you want to continue studying in the UK. For example, your first visa may be for a degree course; afterward, you want to continue with a master’s degree.

You can also apply if you want to continue with a degree course – a second degree, for example – but it must be related to your first course.

As usual, you need to have been offered admission to get a UK student visa extension. However, you don’t have to prove you have the funds a second time.

You can apply for a UK student visa extension at most three months before your new course begins. Notably, the course must start within 28 days before your initial visa expires.

Hence, you can apply for a visa extension even when your initial visa has a long time before it expires. If you apply late and the initial visa expires before you get a verdict on the extension, you can still remain in the UK.

To extend your visa, you must pay a £490 processing fee. You’ll also pay the healthcare surcharge and resubmit your biometrics.

Like the initial visa, the UK student visa extension takes around eight weeks to process. The UK Home Office will issue you a new biometric residence permit if you get the extension.

The duration of your extension will depend on your course. Just like the initial visa, the UK Home Office will decide.

Ultimately, you have to leave the UK when you can no longer extend your visa unless you switch to a different visa – switching to a work visa if you get a job offer, for example.

Unfortunately, the UK student visa doesn’t count towards residency. No matter how long you stay on a student visa, you can’t apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain.

What You Can Do When Your Stay Expires

As part of the rebranding, a new pathway to permanent residency in the UK was established for bachelor’s or master’s students. 

This immigration permit, often referred to as the Graduate Visa, grants foreign nationals the right to work, look for work, and reside in the United Kingdom for up to two years after graduation. With the Graduate Visa, Ph.D. students can stay in the UK for up to three years. 

Beginning in the summer of 2021, all former international students will be eligible to apply for this immigration scheme. 

Bottom Line

You need a UK Student visa to study in the UK, especially as an undergraduate or postgraduate. The key requirement to getting the visa is finance. If you have the funds, you should have no problem getting an admission offer, which plays a critical role in the UK Home Office’s verdict.

Categories
Immigration UK

UK Spouse Visa

If your partner or spouse is in the United Kingdom, you can join them by applying for a UK spouse visa. The spouse visa is one of the many UK family visas issued to allow families to live together.

However, to apply for a spouse visa, you and your spouse in the UK must meet specific requirements. Fortunately, the spouse visa is a less complicated UK family visa.

If you follow the process accordingly and provide all evidence and documentation, you can easily get your visa. In this WorldTravelPride post, you’ll find all you need to know about the UK spouse visa.

What Is the UK Spouse Visa?

The spouse visa falls under the category of UK family visas. It allows beneficiaries to come to the UK and live with their spouses for more than six months. Hence, you should only apply for this visa if you plan to stay in the UK for a long time. If you’re staying for less than six months, you should apply for a standard visitor visa instead.

A spouse visa is more or less a dependent visa. In other words, your visa will be highly influenced by your spouse’s visa type or status in the UK. It’s possible to apply for settlement via a spouse visa. It counts as the duration of stay, which is necessary to apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain. Ultimately, you can apply for British citizenship.

The UK spouse visa is relatively expensive. You’ll learn more about the application fee and financial requirements later.

Notably, you can apply for a spouse visa if you’re already on a different visa in the UK. You can switch your visa anytime if you meet the requirements, so long as your previous visa is valid.

UK Spouse Visa Eligibility

To apply for a UK spouse visa, you must have a partner in the UK who is a British or Irish citizen or has permanent residence status. You are also eligible if your partner is an EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein citizen living in the UK before January 2021.

You and your spouse must be legally married, in a marriage recognizable by the UK government. If you’re not yet married, you must have been living together and in a relationship (dating) for at least two years before you apply.

You’re also eligible if you’re not married but plan to marry within six months of arriving in the UK. Furthermore, you can only apply if you’re not in any other marriage or civil relationship. In other words, you must prove that every previous relationship has ended.

There are other eligibility criteria if your marriage has kids and other dependents. Aside from your relationship with your spouse, you also need to pass the knowledge of the English language test and have enough funds to sponsor your stay – unless your spouse declares to support your visit.

To clarify, you are not eligible for a UK spouse visa if your spouse in the UK is on a work, student, or other temporary stay visa. They must have permanent residence status, either with indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

UK Spouse Visa Requirements

When applying for a UK spouse visa, here are the required information and documents you must provide:

  • Your full names and date of birth. You can submit your birth certificate.
  • A valid international passport or any other valid travel document you possess.
  • Your partner’s full name, date of birth, and nationality.
  • A copy of your partner’s passport or further proof of British citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Evidence that you and your spouse are legally married. You can present your marriage certificate.
  • Proof of funds to support your stay. You can present your bank statement or that of your spouse if they’re sponsoring your stay.
  • Proof of termination of previous marriages and civil relationships, if anything. You can present a divorce certificate if you’ve been in an earlier marriage.
  • Proof that you have no criminal or court convictions. You can present a police statement.
  • Proof that you’re in good health to enter and live in the UK. You can present a doctor’s report.
  • Proof that you meet the English language requirement. You can present your result from a recognized English language test like IELTS.
  • Details about your children, if any.
  • Details about other countries you’ve lived in besides the UK and your home country.

Note that the above list of required information and documents isn’t exhaustive. The UK immigration may still request additional information depending on your circumstance.

Your documents must be in English. You must include a certified English translation if it’s in any other language.

UK Spouse Visa Application Process

You apply for a UK spouse visa once you have all the required documents and evidence. The application is one, and as mentioned earlier, you can apply whether you’re in or outside the UK.

The visa requires that you submit your biometrics, so in the first stages of application, you’ll get a prompt to select a country where you’ll provide your biometrics. Choosing the right location is essential because it could be difficult to change it later.

The application involves six steps. First, you must complete and submit the online application form, including uploading your supporting documents and evidence. Second, you pay the visa fee – the UK exempts some countries from paying this fee, so please check to confirm.

Third, you pay the health surcharge; fourth, you submit your biometrics, including your fingerprints and passport.

Fifth, you take and submit your tuberculosis test result – you’ll only do this if you reside in a country under the UK list. Sixth, and finally, you physically provide all your supporting documents and passport.

If your application is successful, you’ll get the visa stamp on your passport, and you can proceed to travel to the UK.

For the online application, you’ll only need to provide an email address and password. Afterward, you can access the application form.

Spouse Visa Processing Time

A UK spouse visa takes around 24 weeks to process if you’re applying from outside the country. That’s almost six months of waiting. On the other hand, if you apply within the UK – switching from one visa to another – it takes just around eight weeks.

However, there’s a way to get a faster verdict. You can apply for super-priority service and get a verdict by the end of the next day. If you apply on the weekend, you can get a verdict within two working days.

Your application may take longer to process if there are problems with your documentation or your circumstance is complex.

For example, it’ll take longer if the visa embassy asks you to come for an interview. Also, it’ll take longer if you don’t meet the knowledge of English requirement or the minimum income requirement.

Other circumstances are if you have a criminal or other conviction. Ordinarily, the embassy will void your application, but in some situations, they may decide to review the circumstance before making a decision.

UK Spouse Visa Fee

As mentioned before, the UK spouse visa application is relatively expensive. The visa fee differs for adults and children.

As an adult over 18 years, you’ll pay £1,560 if you’re staying for two years and six months; £1,872 if you’re staying for two years and nine months; £3,120 if you’re staying for five years.

For children under 18 years, the fee is £1,175 if they’re staying for two years and six months; £1,410 if they’re staying for two years and nine months; £2,350 if they’re staying for five years.

As mentioned before, you can pay £800 for super-priority service and get a faster verdict. Other fees you must pay include the health surcharge fees.

Adults will pay £624 per year while children will pay £470. To illustrate, if your visa duration is five years, you’ll pay £624 each year, which means £3,120 in total. After you submit your online application, the UK immigration will send you an email requesting that you pay the health surcharge.

You must pay the health surcharge within seven days if you’re outside the UK and within ten days if you’re in the UK. Otherwise, your application may become invalid.

UK Spouse Visa Duration

The UK spouse visa lasts for two years and nine months. When it expires, you can apply for an extension, which you should get easily.

After the end of the second extension, you will have stayed in the UK for five years and eight months, which means you can apply for settlement. The UK Home Office requires at least five years on a spouse visa to apply for settlement.

Settlement in the UK, also known as indefinite leave to remain or permanent residency, grants you permission to live in the UK forever. You can work, study, and travel as you want.

Hence, getting a spouse visa could begin your journey towards becoming a British permanent resident. There’s a high possibility that you won’t need to leave the UK for life from the first day you enter the country on a spouse visa – unless you want to.

UK Spouse Visa Extension

You can apply for a spouse visa extension if you’re still together with your spouse at the end of the initial two years and nine months period.

You can apply at any time before your current visa expires, but it’s ideal to apply within a month of it expiring. This is because the new visa will only add 28 days of your current visa to your new duration.

For example, if you have 100 days remaining on your current visa and you get an extension, only 28 days will be added to the new extension visa.

You’ll have lost 72 days of stay in the UK, which can be critical when applying for settlement. Recall that you need at least five years to qualify for settlement so everyday counts.

Spouse Visa Dependents

Your dependents – children or other qualifying relatives – can join you and your spouse in the UK. For children, they must be under 21 years.

The cost for dependent visa application is £1,538 and £1,048 for each person if you’re applying from outside and inside the UK, respectively. It’s the same as the standard spouse visa cost.

Dependents’ visa takes about the same time as applying for the standard spouse visa. The duration is also the same, and dependents can apply for extension too.

Your dependents can work and study in the UK as they get a biometric residence permit. However, they cannot access benefits or public funds – just like you – but they can apply for settlement after five years.

Is the Spouse Visa the same as the Fiancé Visa?

Many people get this wrong, so it’s important to clarify. The UK spouse visa is different from the fiancé visa. 

The spouse visa is for a couple that is already married or in a civil partnership. In other words, they’ve gone past the “fiancé” stage, and they have the proof and documentation to back this up.

On the other hand, a fiancé visa is for a couple that is not yet married, but plans to marry. You can apply for a fiancé visa if you plan to marry someone in the UK. The visa mandates that you marry or enter a civil partnership within six months of arriving in the UK.

The UK spouse visa and fiancé visa are similar but different. You can read more about the fiancé visa here.

Bottom Line

The UK spouse visa is the best way to join your spouse in the UK and stay in the country for a long time – more than two years at least. You can apply if your spouse is a UK citizen or permanent resident.

Categories
Immigration UK

UK Fiancé Visa: Everything You Need To Know

Is your fiancé or fiancée in the UK? Do you plan to get married to them, and do you plan to live with them in the UK? If your answer to these questions is yes, you should aim for a UK fiancé visa.

It’s much easier to apply for a spouse visa because you can easily present your marriage certificate as proof. As a fiancé, you’ll have to prove your relationship in many other ways.

Read on to find out all you need to know about the UK fiancé visa.

About The UK Fiancé Visa

The UK fiancé visa is a type of family visa that allows you to join your fiancé or fiancée in the UK. Your fiancé or fiancée in the UK must be a permanent resident (with indefinite leave to remain status) or a British citizen.

The UK Visas and Immigration grants the visa on the basis that you’re coming to the UK to marry or enter into a civil partnership with your partner. 

As a result, the visa lasts for six months, within which you’re expected to get married or enter a civil partnership.

When your visa expires, you can then apply for a spouse visa to continue your stay in the country. You may have to leave the country if you’re yet to get married or enter a civil partnership when the visa expires.

As a temporary visa, the six months you spend won’t count as residency if you apply for permanent residency. However, the spouse visa, which you can quickly get after the fiancé visa, counts as residency.

Therefore, obtaining a UK fiancé visa can lead to permanent residency and, ultimately, British citizenship.

UK Fiancé Visa Eligibility

The primary eligibility requirement is that your fiancé or fiancée in the UK must be a British citizen or permanent resident.

However, there are other eligibility requirements as listed below:

  • You and your fiancé must be up to 18 years old.
  • You must have plans to marry or enter a civil partnership within six months of admission into the UK.
  • You must not have any previous marriage or civil partnership that is still valid.
  • You must have the funds to support your stay in the UK.
  • You must have suitable accommodation to live in, in the UK with your fiancé.
  • You must demonstrate English proficiency if you’re not from a non-native English country or any exempt country.

The above are the basic requirements of the UK Visas and Immigration to qualify for a fiancé visa. The department may request additional requirements depending on your circumstance.

UK Fiancé Visa Income Requirement

Before you can join your fiancé in the UK, you must meet a relatively strict income requirement. It’s part of proving that you have sufficient funds to support your stay in the country.

As a couple, the UK Visas and Immigration demands that you and your fiancé must make a minimum income of £18,600 per year. If you have children joining you as dependents, the minimum income increases.

Your income must include an extra £3,800 for your first child and £2,400 each for your other children.

The income requirement is essential because you won’t have access to public funds during your six-month stay. You can prove you have the funds and make the required income via different means. 

Your income could come from your employed salary, self-employed business, or savings. It can also come from stocks & shares, property financial gains, statutory sick pay, maternity, paternity, or adoption pay.

UK Fiancé Visa Required Documents

You’ll need to provide supporting documents to prove you meet the eligibility requirements. Usually, you’ll scan and upload these documents as part of your online application. Then, you also carry them along the embassy invites you for an interview.

Here are some of the documents you need to provide:

  • Proof of your name and date of birth. You can provide your birth certificate or affidavit of birth.
  • Proof that you’re not in any previous marriage or civil partnership. You can present a divorce certificate if you’ve been married before.
  • Proof that you’re in a relationship with your fiancé in the UK.
  • Proof that you plan to marry or enter into a civil partnership with your partner in the UK.
  • Proof that you have no pending criminal or court convictions. You can present a police or court report.
  • Documents showing your parents’ names and nationalities. You only need to provide this if you’re applying outside the UK.
  • Details of other countries you’ve lived in or visited, aside from the UK and your home country.
  • Proof that you have sufficient funds to support your stay. Bank and account statements should be enough.
  • A valid international passport or other travel documents.
  • Passport photographs.

The UK Visas and Immigration may request some additional documents during your application. Therefore, it’s important to note that the list above isn’t all-inclusive.

UK Fiancé English Language Requirement

The United Kingdom is a native English-speaking country. Hence you must have basic English knowledge to survive in the country.

If you’re from another native English-speaking country, like the US or Australia, you should already have basic English knowledge. As a result, you don’t have to prove your proficiency.

On the other hand, you must prove proficiency if you’re from a non-native English-speaking country. You must demonstrate basic English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

To do this, you must take and pass an approved English language test.

Your pass certificate will need to be included in your portfolio of evidence to submit to the Home Office. The recommends four secure English language tests (SELT):

  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd if you’re outside the UK or Trinity College London if you’re in the UK.
  • IELTS SELT Consortium.
  • LanguageCert.
  • Pearson.

You may get a waiver for the English language requirement even if you’re from a non-native English-speaking country. 

It’s possible if you hold a degree or higher qualification taught in English at a NARIC-recognised educational institution or you are over 65, or you have a physical condition that prevents you from taking the exam.

UK Fiancé Relationship Requirement

To qualify for the UK fiancé visa, you must prove that your relationship with your spouse is genuine. It’s important because many people arrange fake marriages to become permanent residents in the UK.

Nevertheless, you can prove that your relationship with your fiancé is genuine by providing a few details. These include:

  • Documents that show you have been living together.
  • Bank statements if you have joint accounts.
  • Confirmation from family members and friends that you’ve been in a relationship.
  • Texts, emails, etc., to show how long you’ve been in the relationship.

Note that you don’t have to provide all of this. You only need to provide some, depending on which the embassy requests.

UK Fiancé Visa Cost

The fiancé visa UK cost is the same as the UK spouse visa. You’ll pay £1,538 if you’re applying from outside the UK and £1,048 if you’re applying from within the UK.

It’ll take the UK Visas and Immigration up to 24 weeks to process your fiancé visa if you’re outside the UK. If you’re in the UK, it’ll take up to 8 weeks. In some cases, it might take longer.

However, the UK Visas and Immigration can process your visa faster at extra charges.

If you pay an extra £800, they’ll finish processing your visa at the end of the next working day. If you applied during the weekend, you’ll get a verdict after two working days.

However, to get a verdict that fast, you must have submitted your biometric information.

Your visa processing will only take longer than necessary if you don’t meet specific requirements, like the income and English language requirement, or if you have a pending court or criminal case.

UK Fiancé Visa Application

Once you have all the necessary paperwork and supporting evidence, you can begin your UK fiancé visa application. You must apply online whether you’re inside or outside of the UK.

You must submit your biometrics to obtain the visa, so at the start of the application process, you will be given the option to choose where you will do so. Since it might be challenging to change later, picking the ideal location is crucial. 

There are six steps in the application. You must complete and submit the online application form, supporting files, and proof. You must also pay the visa fee; note that the UK exempts some nations from this requirement.

The health surcharge is paid in the third step, and your biometrics—including your passport and fingerprints—are submitted in the fourth. 

Fifth, if you live in one of the nations on the UK list, you must take and submit your tuberculosis test results. The last step is to present your passport and all supporting documents physically. 

If your application is approved, the visa will be stamped in your passport, allowing you to travel to the UK.

After Your Application

You can stay in the UK for up to six months if your fiancé visa application is successful. Endeavor to follow the requirements placed on your immigration permission and be married or enter a civil partnership within the six-month time frame of your fiance visa.

You must report to border control when you arrive if you are coming from outside the UK. When traveling to the UK, it’s crucial to have copies of critical papers and application information. These will be needed to gain entry as your visa alone doesn’t give you the right to enter the UK.

If you are granted a fiancé visa, you will be expected to move to the UK and establish yourself there. This necessitates that when your visa expires, you change to a different kind of long-term visa – the spouse visa.

You won’t typically be able to apply for a fiance visa extension. However, the UK Visas and Immigration may decide to give you an extension if extraordinary circumstances prevent you from being married within the first 6-month window. 

You must still meet the same conditions to qualify for the extension, and your circumstances cannot have materially changed.

Switching To Spouse Visa

There is a clear path from the fiancé visa to the much-desired Spouse Visa, which is one of the visa’s key draws. Although the usual Spouse Visa application process must be followed, you need not leave the UK so long as you apply before your fiancé visa expires.

A spouse visa will allow you to remain in the UK for 30 months, and you can request an additional extension of your stay after that if your circumstances have not altered. You can stay in the UK for another 30 months if your application for an extension is successful.

You can work and go to school in the UK if you have a spouse visa, and every day you spend in the country counts toward the residency requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship. 

As a result, you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency after five years of residency in the UK on a spouse visa.

Bottom Line

The UK Fiance Visa is the route to relocate to the UK to join a fiancé or fiancée. Primarily, they must be citizens of or have settled status in the United Kingdom. 

Fiance visas are valid for six months and are issued on the assumption that the couple will get married in that time.

Categories
Immigration UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain In The UK: Everything You Should Know

Have you lived long enough in the UK and believe you deserve to be a permanent resident? If so, you need to obtain Indefinite Leave To Remain Status. 

The UK is one of the best European countries, so it’s not surprising that you would want to live permanently in the country. 

In this post, you’ll find all the information you need to know about applying for and obtaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

What Is Indefinite Leave To Remain Status?

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Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) means settlement in the UK. When you obtain indefinite leave to remain status, you become a permanent resident in the country. You can live, work, and study in the UK for as long as you want.

It’s important to note that indefinite leave to remain doesn’t make you a British citizen. You are only a permanent resident. You can’t participate in exclusive activities like voting in general elections. However, having indefinite leave to remain status makes applying for and becoming a British citizen easy.

There are different ways to apply for indefinite leave to remain, as you’ll find out later. How you apply will depend on your circumstance in the UK. If you work in the UK, for example, how you apply for ILR will be different from that of someone staying with a family member in the UK.

Ultimately, the process is strict and involves many documentation procedures. All of these are to ensure there’s no immigration fraud. If you are a legal resident in the UK, you can seek the help of qualified immigration lawyers to evaluate your chances of applying for indefinite leave to remain.

Who Can Apply For Indefinite Leave To Remain

The following are the categories of UK residents that qualify to apply for indefinite leave to remain status:

  • People who work in the UK.

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You can apply for ILR if you work in the UK and have worked for at least five years. However, if your work visa is a tier 1 visa, you only need to have worked for two or three years. For Global Talent and Innovator visas, the requirement is just three years. Furthermore, your visa type hugely influences how you apply.

  • People who have family in the UK.

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Your family could be your parent, unmarried partner, spouse, child, or other qualifying relatives. Importantly, they must have settled status. Your application procedure depends on how they obtained their settlement status and your visa type.

  • People who have lived in the UK for a long time.

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If you’ve lived in the UK for ten years or more, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. It doesn’t matter whether you are working or studying. You can apply if you prove that you’ve been a legal resident of the country for at least ten years.

  • People who are Commonwealth citizens.

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The Commonwealth realm is a group of countries that recognize the Queen of the UK as their head of state. Canada, Jamaica, and New Zealand are some examples. If you’re a citizen of any country in the Commonwealth realm – not the Commonwealth of Nations – you may have the “right of abode” in the UK.

Right of Abode permits you to live and work in the UK without worrying about visa and other immigration requirements. If you have this “right of abode,” you are automatically a UK permanent resident.

Time In The UK Requirement For Work Visa Holders

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Residing in the UK for a particular period is one of the critical requirements of getting ILR to remain status if you’re on a work visa. For most visa types, you must spend at least five years in the UK before applying. However, not all UK visas count as residency. The primary visas that matter include:

  • All Tier 1 visas, except the graduate entrepreneur visa.
  • Skilled worker visas.
  • Minister of Religion visas.
  • International Sportsperson visas.
  • Innovator visas 
  • Global Talent visas.
  • Representative of an Overseas Business.

Different rules apply if you travelled outside the UK during the period or were on more than one visa. Generally, you must not have spent more than 180 days outside the country in any 12 months. Otherwise, it won’t count. 

On the other hand, if you were on multiple visas, you can combine the period of your stay in the UK.

Financial Requirement For Work Visa Holders

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If you’re a work visa holder, you must also meet specific financial requirements. These financial requirements mainly involve your salary, which depends on your visa type.

If you have a skilled worker visa, your salary must meet the minimum £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour threshold. However, the minimum may be higher if your job has a higher going rate.

For example, your salary may be up to £25,600, but your job’s going rate is up to £28,000. In such a situation, you do not meet the financial requirement and can’t apply for indefinite leave to remain.

To be safe, check the UK GOV website for the various going rates for jobs under the skilled worker visa.

If you have an international sportsperson visa, your salary must be at least £35,800. Note that this minimum only includes what you earn from your main job and not more than 48 hours a week. Any money you make outside these doesn’t count as part of your salary.

Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK Requirement

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If you’re between 18 to 64 years, you must take and pass the knowledge of language and life in the UK test before getting ILR status. The test proves that you lived in the UK for the five-year minimum period and that you’re accustomed to the country’s way of life.

The knowledge of language and life in the UK test is also necessary when applying for British citizenship. However, people who passed the test while applying for permanent residence don’t need to retake it when applying for citizenship.

You can apply for the test online via the official website. You only need an email address, acceptable ID, and a debit or credit card to pay the application fee. Acceptable IDs include an international passport, residence permit, residence card, and a valid travel document. You can present any of them, not all.

The knowledge of language and life in the UK test costs just £50. You have thirty test centres in different parts of the UK to choose from. Ideally, you should select a centre closer to you.

You must study the Life in the UK test handbook to pass the test. The book isn’t expensive and costs just £12.99. Alternatively, you can go for the practice questions and answer book. It costs £7.99.

The knowledge of language and life in the UK test comprises twenty-four questions about British customs and traditions. You have forty-five minutes to answer all questions and must score at least 75% to pass.

If you fail the test, you can reapply and retake the test after seven days. You’ll have to pay a fresh fee for any new application, and you can apply as many times as you need until you pass.

How To Apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain

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Like every other UK visa application, the application for indefinite leave to remain is online. You must apply at least twenty-eight days after you meet all the requirements. As you apply, you can save your progress and resume any time.

The documents you submit during your application will depend on your visa type. You’ll get a comprehensive list on the application website. However, documents to prove that you met the salary requirement and passed the Life in the UK Test are compulsory. You also need to pay the indefinite leave to remain fee.

Among the application forms, you’ll need to apply for a biometric immigration document and biometric residence permit (BRP). In other words, you may need to submit your biometrics afterward.

You just book an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centre to submit your biometrics. You could submit your supporting documents at the UKVCAS centre if you did not upload them during your online application.

It takes about six months to get a verdict on your indefinite leave to remain application. However, in urgent situations, you can pay for super priority service and get a verdict within five days. You can also pay for super-priority service and get a verdict within two days.

Indefinite Leave To Remain Application Fee

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The indefinite leave to remain fee is relatively expensive, which isn’t surprising considering the weight of the outcome. It costs £2,404 per applicant. If, for example, you’re applying with your family members, each person must pay the £2,404 fee.

As mentioned before, it takes around six months to get a verdict, but you can pay extra to speed up the process. Priority service, which provides a verdict in 5 working days, costs £500. On the other hand, the super-priority service, which provides a verdict in 2 working days, costs £800.

Frequently Asked Questions About Indefinite Leave To Remain UK

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How Long Does Indefinite Leave To Remain Last?

The word “indefinite” means lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time. So, if you have an indefinite leave to remain, it means you can stay in the UK for as long as you want. The status doesn’t expire.

Indefinite Leave To Remain makes you a permanent resident in the UK. You can travel in and out of the country as often as you want, and you won’t need a visa to enter every time.

However, while indefinite leave to remain doesn’t expire, it can become invalid. Your indefinite leave to remain status will become invalid if you continuously stay outside the UK for up to 2 years.

Nevertheless, even then, you can still get into the UK by applying for a Returning Resident visa. If your visa is approved, you’ll get your indefinite leave to remain status back.

What Benefits Can I Get With Indefinite Leave To Remain?

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The number one benefit of Indefinite Leave to Remain status is that you can make the UK your home. You can live, work, and study for as long as you want. In addition, you can travel in and out of the country at any time.

However, there are other exciting benefits as well.

With Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can vote in some UK elections. The possibilities are slim, but they exist. Furthermore, you get access to free healthcare once you’re settled in the UK. You may also qualify for certain NHS entitlements.

Since you can live in the UK for as long as you want, you can start a family – if you haven’t already – and your children will automatically become British citizens.

What Are the Conditions of Indefinite Leave To Remain?

Generally, you only need to abide by UK laws. Don’t break the law, and you won’t have any problems. If you commit any serious crime, the government can strip you of your ILR status and deport you to your home country.

Bottom Line

Obtaining indefinite leave to remain status is the only way to reside permanently in the UK. The process can be complex due to the much documentation, but with the information in this post, you should find it easier. Ultimately, you can seek assistance from experienced immigration lawyers.