Visa Application for Chinese Tour Groups Visiting the UK

In recent years, there has been a growing interest for Chinese nationals to travel to foreign countries as tourists and Chinese tourists have been contributing to the United Kingdom tourism industry significantly. In 2005, the UK signed the Approved Destination Status (ADS) agreement with China Licensed Chinese tour operator may organise tour groups and apply for an ADS group visa to visit the UK through the Approved Destination Status (ADS) agreement. The ADS agreement is a bilateral agreement between the UK and China allowing Chinese nationals to enter the UK, as a tourist group, with an approved tour operator. 

Visit the UK under the ADS agreement.

Approved Destination Status (ADS) Tour Operators

ADS tour operators are a limited number of companies that are approved and accredited by the Chinese and British government to organise tour groups that take Chinese nationals to international destinations. The aims and objectives for implementing an ADS scheme are to reduce and monitor illegal immigration activities via tourism channels.

Eligibility for Tourist Visa under the ADS Scheme for Chinese Tour Groups

An ADS group visa can be issued to tourist groups organised by a Chinese travel agency. If your group satisfies the following criteria, you may be able to apply for an ADS visa:

  1. Your tourist group consists of at least 5 members;
  2. You have clearly identified a tour leader;
  3. You are a national of the People’s Republic of China;
  4. You are an ADS licensed tour operator;
  5. Your group is genuinely seeking Entry Clearance as a visitor;
  6. You do not intend to stay in the UK for more than 30 days and you intend to leave the UK after the visit;
  7. Your group has sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs for the travel; and
  8. Your group have a detailed itinerary for your travels.

All tourists or visitors must comply with Immigration Rules. Visitors must not engage in prohibited activities, for instance, to work, study or getting married.

Documents Required and Visa Application Procedure

You will be required to provide a range of documentation to show that the tour group is genuinely visiting the UK for tourism purposes, these may be in forms of detailed itinerary, hotel and travel bookings. The tour group may apply either for a single entry or dual entry visa, this is to accommodate possibilities for onward European travels and opens up options in the travel planning. All tour members will also be required to provide their passports and ID documents. Furthermore, the group must be able to show that they have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs for their travels, you may be required to produce bank statements to show your financial situations.

The process normally begins with an online application. Following that, the tour guide or agency or leader of the group will normally be responsible for arranging an appointment for the entire group to attend interviews at the visa application centre. There are also options to apply through a priority service which provides a quicker decision within 3-5 days and another service that allow applicants to retain their passports whilst the application is being processed.

Legal Advice from UK Immigration Solicitors on Visa Applications under the ADS Scheme

The evidence required to support a ADS tour group application is bespoke to each case and you may wish to take legal advice when making your application.

Our expert team of lawyers have extensive knowledge of making applications for ADS tour groups visa or visitor visas. We can assist your travel agency with the preparation of your visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules. We will ensure that all key points are substantiated with documentary evidence thereby leading to a successful application and avoiding the unnecessary expense of re-submitting your application to the Home Office.

If you wish to consider your options, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.

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.

If you need professional legal advice about applying for a Tourist or Visitor Visas please contact us for a case assessment on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form

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