UK Visas and Immigration are an agency branch of the Home Office department responsible for the UK visa system. It was established in 2021 from the Northern Ireland department of the UK Border Agency which previously had administered the British immigration system. It is the immigration advice services for citizens of member states of the UK and also of other Commonwealth Countries. There are three types of UK visa guidance available, namely the UK visa application, the UK visa approval and the UK visa sponsorship. The third option is applicable for skilled workers.
UK visa guidance is divided into two sections, the first being family visas. Family immigration covers the spouse and children of a UK citizen or of a UK Dependent Person, namely a partner, parent, grandparent or child, who is a UK citizen or a national of the UK and has an indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The UK visa authorities permit spouses and children of such persons who have been lawfully settled in the UK, subject to the condition that the UK immigration status of the spouse or child is not forfeited due to the failure to return to the UK following the end of the period of indefinite leave. This provision of UK visa guidance is applicable for children of UK citizenship or permanent residents and their dependents. A UK visa can be granted to the spouse and children of a UK citizen or a national of the UK who has been lawfully settled in the UK and who has been eligible under the UK family immigration rules and who has not become a resident of the UK within the six months immediately before the application.
An alternate way of acquiring a UK visa is the UK study visa. A study visa is normally required by those students coming to the UK for study purposes who do not qualify for the family visa. In order to acquire a study visa, one needs to apply for a UK visa via the British High Commission in the country of study. This is usually done by submitting an application to the high commission.
There are different types of UK visa category. The six-month renewable residence visa category is for tourists or for workers who are not permitted to remain in the UK after the completion of their initial six months of stay. The spouse and children of a British citizen who is the beneficiary of a leave to enter the UK or the dependent of a British citizen who is the member of the family permitted to remain in the UK are entitled to this type of visa.
The six-year renewable leave to remain in the UK after the completion of their initial six months of stay, otherwise known as the spouse and children of UK citizenship or permanent resident status category are eligible for this type of visa. The third group of UK visa categories are called the entrepreneur visa. This type of visa is granted to entrepreneurs who are planning to start a business in the UK. Entrepreneur visa is normally granted to foreign entrepreneurs with an investment of not less than 25 million pounds. The entrepreneur visa can be extended if the entrepreneur can satisfy the immigration authorities that he or she will be able to establish a business in the UK and continue to meet all of its criteria. The business must, however, operate only for one year at the end of which the status will be cancelled.
The student visa and the work visa are the last two UK visa categories. Student visa is intended for students wishing to continue their studies in the UK. The work visa is granted for workers who intend to engage in employment in the UK. A typical UK visa will allow the worker to work in the UK for a specific period not exceeding three months.
UK visa cannot be extensions or exceptions. Each applicant must first apply for a UK family visa or the UK spouse visa. The UK spouse’s visa is the most common visa in the UK and there are various types of UK spouse visa available. Examples are the partner visa, family member visa and Skilled Worker visa.
The family visa and the tourist visa are the easiest to get as they are the only two tier visas in the UK. The UK family visa takes much longer time to be granted than the tourist visa. When the UK tourist visa has been approved, the UK spouse visa and the Skilled Worker visa will be considered for approval. However, if the UK family visa has already been approved, the Skilled Worker visa is considered for application.