How to apply for a Standard Visitor visa?

If you want to visit the UK for a period of fewer than 6 months for tourism, leisure or a short business trip you must apply under the Standard Visitor visa category. The Standard Visitor visa has replaced the former individual visitor categories such as the Family Visitor visa, General Visitor visa, Child Visitor visa, and Business Visitor visa; including visas for academics, doctors and dentists. Over the course of the last 12 months, there has been an 8% increase in the number of Standard Visitor visas granted to non-EEA nationals. However, this does not change the fact that the Standard Visitor visa is one of the most difficult visas to obtain.  

What is a Standard Visitor visa?

A Standard Visitor visa allows non-EEA nationals to visit the UK for leisure, tourism and business or to receive private medical treatment. You must inform the Home Office you reason for visiting with the correct evidence. The Home Office guidance stipulates that Applicants must provide sufficient evidence regarding the “intention to return” requirement (see below).

What are the latest statistics for Standard Visitor visas?

In the year ending September 2019, there was an overall increase of 8% in the number of Standard Visitor visa applications submitted to the Home Office. In total, the Home Office received 2.7 million applications and 2.4 million visas were granted. There was a significant increase in the number of applications submitted by nationals of Nigeria (up by 24%), China (up by 13%) and India (up by 9%). However, Chinese and Indian nationals together accounted for just under half (48%) of all Standard Visitor visas granted.

Whilst the statistics suggest that the vast majority of Applicants who applied for these visas were granted entry clearance the figures do not account for how many Applicants had to go through a strenuous appeal process. There is no statutory right of appeal for visitor visa applications, therefore a negative decision can only be challenged by way of Judicial Review which is both costly and time-consuming.

What are the requirements for Standard Visitor visas?

The Home Office is notorious for refusing Standard Visitor visa applications where there is insufficient evidence relating to the reason(s) for visiting and the intention to return home after the visit. What makes the application difficult is that the Home Office Visit-guidance states the only mandatory document required for the application is a valid passport. However, in practice, it is almost certain that the submission of a passport alone will result in an automatic refusal. There is some reference in the guidance to other supporting documents but there is no specific list, which often leaves visitors confused. Our Immigration Team has a proven method of submitting successful Standard Visitor visa applications and can provide a bespoke documents list to assist you with the preparation and submission of an application. The main requirements for a Standard Visitor visa are that:

  • Visitors must provide detailed information about their intention to visit;
  • Visitors must provide detailed information about their ties and connections to their home country and UK
  • Visitors must provide evidence that they will leave the UK at the end of their visit;
  • Visitors must show that there is sufficient funds available for a return journey and any other costs relating to your visit; and
  • Visitors must have proof of any business or other activities you want to do in the UK as allowed by the Immigration Rules.

All of the above points must be supported with the correct documentary evidence. A written declaration alone will be insufficient. A caseworker will assess a visitor’s credibility and intention to visit by looking at the supporting documents submitted. Therefore, it is important that a well-prepared application bundle with the correct supporting documents is submitted with the application.

Applying for a Standard Visitor visa for a short business trip

There was an increase in the number of applications for short business trips in 2019. In particular an increase in applications from China and India. Business visitors should be mindful of the permitted activities, as the Home Office takes a strict approach when assessing the genuineness of an application established on the intention to visit. Please see below a list of permitted activities for business visitors:

  • Attending meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;
  • Negotiate and sign deals and contracts;
  • Carry out non-paid promotional work which is not selling goods;
  • Carry out site visits and inspections;
  • Gather information for their employment overseas; and
  • Employees of overseas entities can come to the UK to advise, consult and provide training in the UK.

These are some of the permitted activities allowed on the Standard Visitor visa and for a full list please contact our Immigration Team for more information.

Are non-visa nationals required to apply for a Standard Visitor visa before travelling to the UK? 

Nationals of certain countries who do not appear on the list of visa nationals found in Appendix 2 of Appendix V of the Immigration Rules are not normally required to apply for a visa for visits under 6 months. However, where visitors have repeatedly encountered issues with the UK Border Agency on arrival can apply for Standard Visitor visas to avoid facing issues on arrival; especially for frequent visitors. Visitors can choose to apply for multiple entry visitor visas for 2, 5 or 10 years.

See below examples of non-visa nationals:

  • United States of America;
  • Israel;
  • Canada;
  • Australia; and
  • Hong Kong (with Hong Kong passport).

How our immigration solicitors can help with a Standard Visitor visa application?

Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in Standard Visitor visa applications and prepare applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful visa applications for a range of visitors. The key to submitting successful Standard Visitor visa applications is being alert of the relevant Immigration Rules and the necessary documents to demonstrate a genuine intention to visit. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the Standard Visitor visa application. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provide substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.

Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to submit a successful Standard Visitor visa application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a Standard Visitor visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Standard Visitor visa applications with our Immigration Solicitors in London

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a Standard Visitor visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of an application and ensure that you get all the necessary points under the Immigration Rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a Standard Visitor visa application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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