Introduction to UK Visas

It is widely known that the UK laws of immigration are quite complex, archaic, and detailed. Yet, many people still commit the mistake of proceeding through the process without any legal assistance. While it isn’t necessarily required, navigating the complicated immigration rules of the UK is a path you won’t want to go alone, especially since a single mistake can lead to further delays or rejection. 

That said, it’s best to hire UK immigration lawyers Edinburgh if you’re planning to enter the UK. Your immigration attorney will assist you with your paperwork and will also serve as your legal representative in court, ensuring that you get the best interests out of your case. Furthermore, they can also provide you with essential advice about your application and inform you about the different types of UK visas you may need to apply for. 

If you’re new to the immigration process and are still uncertain about what to do along the way, here’s a brief introduction to UK visas and some essential things you need to know about them. 

What is a UK Visa?

The term ‘visa’ usually gets interchanged with other terms that describe a wide variety of other immigration concepts such as leave to remain, permission to remain, permission to enter, or entry clearance, among many others. This usually results in confusion about what makes up a visa and when you may typically require one. 

In simple words, a visa refers to a physical document that contains immigration permission. More specifically, a UK visa grants holders the right to enter the country, either for temporary visits or permanent residence. Once you’re issued a visa, you are given the right to enter the country provided that you successfully met the requirements of the visa you applied for. 

The UK Visa Policy 

Overseas nationals are required to apply for a UK visa if they plan on staying in the country for over 90 days. EEA nationals are allowed to enter the country within the same period without a visa. Still, those who are non-nationals need to apply for a visitor visa if their stay is less than the given time. 

There is a wide range of UK visas you can apply for, including both long-term and short-term visas. The right visa for you depends on why you plan to enter the country and how long you intend to stay in it.

These visa types include transit visas, work visas, business visas, family visas, study visas, or tourist visas. Many of these visas can also be utilized as an entryway for an Indefinite Leave to Remain – an essential part of your journey toward attaining British citizenship. 

You can conveniently apply for a visa by accomplishing the necessary application form online and submitting the required documents. These documents typically contain proof that you meet the qualifications for the visa you’re applying for. 

Different Types of UK Visas 

As mentioned above, UK visas come in various types, each of which serves different purposes and rights depending on your length of stay or plans to enter the country. The available visas can be mainly separated into Business visas or Personal visas. 

Personal visas are for individuals or visitors who intend to come to the UK to join their spouses, children, or other family members. On the other hand, business visas are designed for skilled foreign workers, innovators, or UK expansion workers. 

Visas aren’t only exclusive to traveling – they can also serve as your permission to stay in the UK for the long term.

Some holders of UK visas are allowed to apply to extend their permission to remain inside the country. This is particularly applicable for business visas. Other UK visas, especially the different types of visitor visas, tend to have an express requirement that the visa holder will eventually leave the country. Thus, with minimal exceptions, a visa applicant won’t be able to apply to extend their visitor visa nor switch their current visa category to another within the UK while holding leave as a temporary visitor. Doing so will only contradict the effectual agreement that is made with the Home Office.

When do you need a UK visa?

For the most part, you probably need a UK visa to enter the country unless you have settled status and are a citizen of the country. Otherwise, you need to have a specific visa that is attached to your main reason for entering the UK.

One exception to this general rule is that citizens of certain countries such as Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, or the United States are allowed to come to the UK without a visa and may be permitted to stay as a visitor for six months. Even so, these travelers still need to meet the Standard Visitor qualifications from them to do so.

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